“Durgamati The Myth” on Amazon Prime Video bases itself on age-old formula of jump scares and an eerie background score, that just doesn’t deliver on screen.
The story unveils with the theft of several Hindu deities in different temples. When Minister Ishwar Prasad steps up to question the government, CBI is roped in to counter question his motives.
For this, former IAS Officer Chanchal Chauhan who is on remand for murder, is held hostage by the CBI. The chosen location is Rani Mahal which is said to be a haunted house.
When Chanchal is moved into this sinister looking place, she starts to get attacked by ‘Durgamati’s spirit’ which leads her to be declared schizophrenic.
Thus begins a series of age-old jump scares, unimpactful supernatural sequences and the spirit of Rani Durgamati wreaking havoc.
Bhumi Pednekar definitely deserves better than this poorly made shot to shot copy of “Bhaagamathie”. She surely had big shoes to fill given how devotedly Anushka Shetty performed in the original.
Unfortunately, Pednekar seems caught up in a strange land whenever she comes on screen. She is fondly remembered for her perky, girl next door roles. Durgamati was a bad choice for displaying versatility.
Arshad Warsi and Jisshu Sengupta are probably the only two who bring in some engagement and conviction as they portray their roles.
As Ishwar Prasad, Warsi is a good choice. His character has many layers as the film proceeds and all of them are properly represented.
To put it truthfully, one can have a hard time finding the bright side to Durgamati. Fortunately, the climax does come to the rescue.
Many loose ends keep hanging all throughout the film and the ending appropriately wraps them all up. For people who have not watched the original, Durgamati can be a fresh watch.
G. Ashok who has directed the film, also helmed the original and that does bring in some authenticity to the story. Excluding some extra long shots, the camera work is impressive too.
Durgamati is a shot to shot copy of Bhaagmathie. Even the dialogues resemble each other. But even in this absolute imitation, the film doesn’t deliver anywhere close to the original.
The plot promotes superstitions and quite evidently tries to take a political dig without proper research and representation. To put it simply, the film initiates as being liberal, switches to being conservative and ultimately tries to restore the balance by contradicting its own narratives.
It also uses many regional stereotypes. A Bengali CBI Officer has to prove at all times that she is Bengali. Same goes with a turban wearing Punjabi.
One might ponder why is Durgamati a film made in 2020, that is way ahead of giant haunted palaces and mythological demons in the name of horror.
Shortly before the release, the title was changed from Durgavati to Durgamati, but the makers obviously forgot to make this change in their previously shot sequences.
Durgamati is surely not a marvel in horror cinema. Filled with plot holes and insignificant turn of events, it is also not a marvel in effective screenplay. But if one has not watched the original, there is a slight chance they might like this version.