Film: 'Shishira'; Director: Manju Swaraj; Cast: Yashas, Meghana, Prema and Santhosh Kumar; Music: Ajneesh Lokanath; Rating: ***1/2.
'Shishira' is an absorbing thriller that takes viewers to a journey filled with anxiety, curiosity and horror along with a fair share of intellectual discourse.
The film has some exceptional technical work in camera, special effects and music. Many interesting moments in the film are narrated with a classical touch.
Debutant director Manju Swaraj handles a complex subject brilliantly. The film is a revelation from the start to the end.
Manju has worked in only a few films as an associate to veteran Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar before becoming director with 'Shishira'. But he clearly shows that he has his own individual stamp of creativity.
The beauty of the film is that you cannot slot it in any particular genre, and yet it provides you with some thrilling moments. But on the flip side, the bookish language used in some parts and the placement of a few songs could have been paid a little more attention to.
Many shots are also often repeated and the climax sequence could have been a little neater.
'Shishira' is about Suraj and his group of friends who start off a debate on the existence of god and ghosts. Suraj is an atheist and says it's futile to think about gods and ghosts in modern times. His argument is that only hard work and creative thinking matters in the new world.
But his friend challenges him to stay one night in a haunted, dilapidated old bungalow. Suraj accepts the challenge and stays in the locked house...without even his mobile phone. And then the story starts.
During his 'alone time' in the bungalow, Suraj traces a diary that tells the tragic tale of the house's earlier inmates who have been killed by a crook known to the family.
Suraj faces some anxious moments when he feels that all the dead characters are actually inside the house. Haunted by a sense of fear, he is slowly crippled by terrifying anxiety and the fear of death. However, he does come out of the house exactly after 12 hours.
Watch the climax to learn the secret.
Yashas has delivered a brilliant performance in his second film. Such roles are really a big challenge to any actor, but the youngster has carried it off quite well. Meghana has a small role, but fits in perfectly.
Prema makes a comeback to the industry after three years and is really impressive as far as performance goes. But it is towering Santhosh who frightens viewers as the villain.
Music director Ajneesh Lokanath shows his talent through his background score, which is aptly scary. The song 'Vidyeya Kalithu Vignaani Aagu' is well picturised and has good lyrics too.
Suresh Kumar's camera work is the film's highlight. 'Shishira' is a brilliantly made film that you just can't miss.