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Pindam Movie Review - Lacks new ideas

December 15, 2023
Kalaahi Media
Sriram, Kushee Ravi, Easwari Rao, Avasarala Srinivas, Ravi Varma
Aarohi Daida
Saikiran Daida , Kavi Siddartha
Saikiran Daida
Satish Manohar
Padma Priya Penmatcha
Vishnu Nair
Shirish Prasad
Jashva
Suresh Varma V
Srinivas Penmatcha
Prabhu Raja

Krishna Saurabh Surampalli
Yeshwanth Daggumati
Saikiran Daida

'Pindam', produced by Yeshwanth Daggumati, was released in theatres on December 15. In this section, we are going to review the period horror thriller.

Plot:

In a fictional town named Suklapet in the early 1990s, a Christian family from a humble economic background finds itself living in a newly-bought haunted house. Anthony (Srikanth Sriram) and his pregnant wife Mary (Kushee Ravi) are in for a shock when their kids Tara and Sophie tell them they have been observing spooky happenings at night. A demonologist named Annamma (Eswari Rao) and her team of fellow connoisseurs are destined to shoo away the ghost. Or, so they think.

Post-Mortem:

Photos falling off on their own from walls, terrified children left to fend for themselves at night (their parents can comfort them by having them over in their room, right?), midnight screams, eerie blabbering in the dead of the night, a ghost that subjects its victims to confusion and trauma in installments... 'Pidam' is a pile of these and more cliches.

The pacing issues are adamant. Even 5-10 minutes into the second half, ideas we have seen in the first half continue to harangue us. Eerie sounds, a child suddenly breaking into maniacal laughs, hallucinations... Except that a new character is witness to all this. If there are five different characters, the idea is to subject each of them to the same scares, one character at a time. That's the tragedy of horror flicks. The bigger tragedy is that your audiences won't change. They are the same for the full run time of 156 minutes.

Annamma is introduced as India's top-tier Demonologist who is a sui generis genius when it comes to taking on rare ghosts. Most of the time, all that she is seen doing is mouthing platitudes about death, life, energy being unbreakable and all as if she has walked out of an Isha Foundation course. She does all this with a researcher (Avasarala Srinivas) who asks her Kindergarten-level questions as if he just walked out of a pub after smoking weed.

The conversations between the different characters are time and again interrupted by some or the other sudden occurence in the vicinity. The disturbance is caused by the unseen spirit, obviously and predictably. Yet, multiple characters keep explaining away everything as "brama" (meaning, hallucination)!

The resolution is typical. In Nayanthara's 'Connect' (2022), an elaborate Christian ritual was relied upon. The director of 'Pindam' is more studious. He knows something about every religion, both Indic and Abrahamic. As a result, Annamma heads an Amar-Akbar-Anthony team.

Srikanth Sriram's character is on the verge of going penniless following a job loss. His pregnant wife, played by Kushee Ravi, has been given the goal of giving birth to a male child by her mother-in-law. It is the early 1990s when socialism has made uninterrupted access to electricity a luxury even for the middle-class. This excellent set-up should have made the audience sympathize with Anthony and family every ten minutes. Instead, when Anthony accidentally bumps into the expert Annamma, the audience are like: 'How lucky is he!'.

Sathish Manoharan's cinematography and Krishna Saurabh Surampalli's music, besides the excellent colour grading, make 'Pindam' pleasant to watch even though there are no innovative jump scares.

Closing Remarks:

'Pindam' lacks fresh ideas. It is a bundle of horror movie cliches. However, like 'Masooda', it is strong on the technical front even though there is an acute lack of inventive jump scares.

Critic's Rating

2/5