By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)
Sara Ali Khan portrays a paraplegic princess who returns to her palace to meet her estranged father in the 2023 Bollywood thriller “Gaslight”. Instead of an emotional re-union with the king, Meesha (Sara) is greeted by her cold stepmother and a costumed entourage of housing staff. Despite the display of wealth, Meesha struggles in a manual wheelchair, which seems unlikely for a royal who could afford an electronic one. It costs less than the latest iPhone.
Directed by Pavan Kirpalani, who co-wrote the story with Neha Sharma, the film follows Meesha’s efforts to trace her missing father amidst strange occurrences in the palace, which lead her to believe he might be dead. Chitrangda Singh plays Meesha’s stepmother, one of her primary suspects, while Vikrant Massey plays the estate manager who helps the princess investigate the palace grounds. There’s little point in writing about the performances of the actors, because they are all failed by a weak script.
Kirpalani’s previous directorial venture was the incredibly forgettable horror movie “Bhoot Police” and it’s hard to decide if “Gaslight” does any better. It’s probably unfair to compare the two genres, but “Gaslight” does look more like a horror film than a thriller, with many dark shots, night scenes, jump scares, and a vast palace property filled with vintage items serving as the primary setting. However, the film’s pace is tedious and rarely picks up, with only one twist in the last twenty minutes, while most of the other surprises are predictable.
The story would have made more sense if the creators had pushed the timeline of the tale back to the 1980s or 1990s. The dialogues are either overly dramatic or dull, as my mother, who watched the movie with me, kept yawning throughout the runtime. It’s a miracle she didn’t simply fall asleep. In-fact, just like “Bhoot Police”, Gaslight’s climax was interesting, but all the events leading to the end are too disappointing.
It’s a 4 on 10 from me. The movie is available on Disney Hotstar.
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