“1920 London”, is the third film from Vikram Bhatt’s stable of the 1920 horror franchise which began in 2008. And with every edition in the series, the film seems to be slipping on the scare quotient.
With a complex and convoluted plot, it is a romance-revenge story, treated in the horror format.
The narration set in 1920, shuttles between London and Sikar in Rajasthan. It is the story of Princess Shivangi (Meera Chopra), who is happily married and settled in London with her husband Veer Singh (Vishal Karwal).
She receives an intricately designed necklace as gift, purported from their in-laws and soon all hell breaks loose. She finds strange things happening in her house and her husband’s body getting mangled as well.
Not understanding what to do in an alien country and on advice of her hand-maiden Kesar-ma (Sushmita Mukherjee), the Princess comes to her parents’ home in Rajasthan. Here she is advised that the only way her husband can be saved is, by black magic. After a ritual by her family priest fails, she is guided to “Mewad-wale Baba” aka Jai (Sharman Joshi), who assures her that he would do his best and that he would have to travel along with her to London.
In London, while investigating Veer’s case, Jai prods Shivangi to recall how it all started and she tells him about the gift from her in-laws. Jai then tells her that her husband is possessed by a spirit, which was lodged in the locket.
How Princess Shivangi and Jai extricate the spirit, forms the crux of the tale.
While the actors are committed, they play their parts in a very mechanical manner. Sharman Joshi as Jai is the best of the lot. He is aptly supported by Meera Chopra as Princess Shivangi and Vishal Karwal as Veer Singh. Sushmita Mukherjee as Kesar-ma is equally effective.
Unfortunately, for the actors, it is the script which is their Waterloo. Written by Vikram Bhatt, the plot and the characters are a quick-fix. What’s more, the dialogues too seem regressive and obsolete in nature today, making the entire narration seem like an unintentional comedy.
The action sequences are well-choreographed, but they are not exciting enough to give a teeth clenching edge-of-the seat experience. For, the horror tropes engaged are generic and not at all spooky. Nor are there any jump-scares.
The graphics and computer-generated images are intricately conceived and they seamlessly mesh with Cinematographer Prakash Kutty’s frames, which are moody and atmospheric. His interior, as well as exterior shots are well-captured, but they are not consistent with regard to their tones.
The songs break the seriousness of the narrative and they do not help in the story progression either.
Overall, don’t bother travelling back in time and give “1920 London” a skip.
By Troy Ribeiro