One can possibly count the number of decent thrillers made in the Hindi Film Industry on the fingers of one hand. This is one genre that has remained underexplored by Bollywood. Thus, it is always exciting to see a suspense drama or thriller arriving in theatres, or in this case streaming on a digital platform. ‘Barot House’, the new film that has just arrived on Zee5, is touted to be a thrilling drama about the events unfolding in the Barot family and how those events end up breaking the family apart.
Amit (Amit Sadh) and Bhavna (Manjari Fadnnis) are parents to two little girls Shreya (Kierra Soni) and Shruti (Kishaa Arora) and a boy named Malhar (Aaryan Menghji). Amit, worked hard relentlessly for several years as a taxi driver, made a little fortune and was able to give his family a decent lifestyle. The film opens with a Diwali party where we see the family enjoying the festivities with the bunch of guests that have gathered at their residence. Shreya is looking for a friend to play with and urges Ajay (Paranjay Jaiswal), Amit’s younger brother to play hide-and-seek with her. Ajay, who is not really in a mood to play with her, asks her to hide and assures her that he will come looking for her. Shreya believes him and looks for different places to hide in. While looking for the right place, she wanders into a small crematorium near the house. There, somebody comes in front of her and hits her with a piece of stone.
A good thriller manages to keep the audience hooked by throwing surprises at them at regular intervals and delivering the kind of twists and turns that will keep them on the edge of their seats. The trick lies in being a step ahead of the audience’s imagination. On that account, ‘Barot House’ succeeds to a large extent. During its runtime of approximately 90 minutes, it serves up several shocking incidents and implores you to put together a puzzle to figure out the identity and the motive of the culprit. And, when you think you have figured out the culprit, it throws up another shocker which puts all your notions to test. The suspense is solid and the emotions are depicted very well on the screen. The pain felt by the family is palpable and the horror arising as a result of the events unfolding on the screen sends a shiver down your spine.
On the flipside, the narrative becomes a little slow at times, more so towards the middle portions of the film. A few of the people who are designed to look like suspects do not come across as menacing enough and one cannot help but wish they were etched out better. There are times when you feel when unnecessary and familiar tropes are introduced in the narrative to make the audience feel more suspicious about certain characters. But, these are just about a few aberrations in a film that would be remembered as one of the better thrillers to be made in the recent times.
Amit Sadh plays a very complex character with remarkable ease. This is one of the best roles handed out to him as an actor and he does complete justice to it. Manjari Fadnnis proves, yet again, that here is an actress who needs to be taken more seriously and deserves to do more such roles which challenge her as a performer. She brings out the vulnerability of a grieving mother effectively to the fore. Aaryan Vinod Menghji is a talent to watch out for. The young boy gets a very difficult role to play which he pulls off amazingly well. Paranjay Jaiswal gets a few scenes to shine as a performer. Atharv Bhavin Desai leaves a mark as Roshan D’Souza.
Adman Bugs Bhargava Krishna makes a confident debut as a feature filmmaker. He maintains a strong grip on the narrative and seldom lets the film deviate from its core plot. He is wonderfully aided by a taut screenplay written by Sanjeev K Jha. The two songs (Ronit Chatterji) in the film are just about okay. The background score (Ronit Chatterji and Rohit Kulkarni) is better. The editing (Akshara Prabhakar and Abhishek Gupta) is sharp. The milieu plays an important part in the film and has been captured well by cinematographer Deep Metkar.
‘Barot House’ is a highly engaging and powerful thriller. As stated earlier, this is one of the best films to have been made in this genre in the recent times. A nail-biting thriller like this deserves a big screen viewing but since it has not released in theatres, watching it on a smaller screen would not be a bad idea either.