The movie derives its title from the year it’s set in, when huge mansions (in present-day Yorkshire) stood tall on the suburbs of Mumbai and horse-drawn carriages plied on dusty grounds carrying dandy men in suits and women in Victorian gowns and hats. Sadly, there aren’t any buxom ladies in tight corsets here. Rajneesh Duggal plays Arjun, an architect, and Adah Sharma plays his catholic wife, Lisa.
The couple, wedded despite parental disapproval, arrives at a haveli that the suave architect plans to convert into a hotel as his big project. The only trouble is – the haveli is haunted by a spirit that eventually possesses Lisa.
Even as the girl transforms from a beautiful bride to a withered zombie that talks in multiple voices and levitates in bed, the guy doesn’t run away but stands beside her, his love unshaken, until he finds a way to exorcise her of the demonic spirit.
Plotwise, ‘1920’ doesn’t offer anything remarkably novel or nightmarish. It abounds with clichés that collage any typical horror film – a large, empty and dimly-lit mansion with huge portraits staring down ominously at its audience. Or its rich architecture that glistens through the shifting shadows. Or a lantern-carrying housekeeper with mysterious facial expressions. Despite this, the film works to an extent because Vikram Bhatt holds it tight until the very climax.
The director lays the ground in the first half and shoots up the scare-quotient in the second half considerably enough for you to feel a full bladder mid-way through your carbonated drink. The film also works because its actors, Rajneesh Duggal and Adah Sharma, deliver credible performances in aptly-suited roles. Adah’s blanched complexion particularly makes her well-suited to play a possessed girl. Raj Zutsi as the scowling priest is too stilted.
The music is quite evocative except the Rakhi Sawant number which stands out like a sore thumb in this sufficiently spooky tale.