That hyper real or supernatural spook can be greatly enhanced by a hand-held digital camera is part of pop culture history. First, Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989), without the crutch of ghosts, and more recently, Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity (2007), are just two examples. Dibakar Banerjee used it for similar visual effect, but for an entirely different purpose, in 2010, in Love, Sex aur Dhokha.
In Ragini MMS, produced by Ekta Kapoor, director Pawan Kripalani uses the technology effectively for the first 45 minutes.
Different strokes: Kainaz Motivala in Ragini MMS.
Ajay, an aspiring film artiste, and his girlfriend Ragini are on a weekend getaway. They reach an abandoned mansion, a few hours away by car from Mumbai. For Ragini, it is a set-up for a sex tape that Ajay has been asked to make to curry favour with a film producer. Once they reach, they realize the house is haunted.
The first half is crisply edited and the home video footage on screen adds to the immediacy. The second half is akin to films by the Ramsay Brothers. The gags are silly and relentless. The ghost in question, the age-old chudail, speaks in Marathi and drags Ragini around.
Ragini MMS is a mish-mash of old and new styles of supernatural thrillers. For horror junkies, the first half will be a roller-coaster ride.
Stanley ka Dabba and Ragini MMS released in theatres on Friday.