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DARNA ZAROORI HAI

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What works best for 'Darna Zaroori Hai' just like it did for predecessor 'Darna Mana Hai' is its absolute refusal to take it self seriously. It's self-referential, self-deprecatory, whacky and has a sense of humor that allows the audience to laugh at the movie if not along with it.

Sajid Khan's brilliant segment which kick starts the movie sets the tone for all that is to follow. Manoj 'Bhatia Ji' Pahwa hams it up in delightfully as the gluttonous cinephile who somehow cannot keep himself from watching 'Darna Mana Hai' first day-last show inspite of it being a Friday the 13th Amavas ki raat and the fact that he has to take a short cut through a creepy cemetry.

The segment culminates in a grimly funny ending and then into the title track with Nisha Kothari gyrating tastelessly to a typically jarring RGV factory theme song. Time enough to head out, pick up some popcorn and then settle right back in time for the wrap-around story to commence.

Unlike 'Mana Hai', 'Zaroori Hai' has a bunch of kids instead of homornally and cranially challenged teenagers and the ploy works. With kids there is more of a sense of vulnerability which ups the tension. The kids end up in a creepy manor in the company of the Himalaya grandmother for a psychotic and macabre version of 'Dada-Dadi Ki Kahani'.

Her first story involves a paranoid proffesor (Amitabh. Displaying more emotions than he did through the whole of 'Sarkar') and his jittery student (Riteish Deshmukh. Suitably low-key). Directed by Ram Gopal Verma himself, the segment scores in building up mood and tension until it dissipates inconsequentially at the ending.

The second story involves a stranger (Arjun Rampal. Strictly plywood)as he inadvertantly ventures into the home of a twisted couple(Bipasha Basu giving her best performance ever and a gleefully over-the-top Makrand Deshpande) who seem to be hell-bent on scaring the living daylights out of him. Directed by Prawal Raman who directed the original 'DMH', it's a decent enough effort but smacks too much of a certain segment in 'DMH'.

The third story, directed by Vivek Shah, has a Maharashtrian middle-class couple (a wondefully restrained Sunil Shetty and Sonali Kulkarni) as they deal with a insurance agent (Rajpal Yadav in typically hyper mode) who seems over-zealous to the point of dementia. Even with all the madness that ensues director Shah manages to pin down a sense of brooding and an after-taste of melancholy which comes as somewhat of a surprise.

Story four directed by Jiji Philip has Anil Kapoor (Pitch-perfect. Yet again) playing a director (Karan Chopra!) who specializes in 'romantic' movies who decides to dabble in the horror genre but for some reason cannot manage to sketch a climax for his opus. En route to his reclusive guest house, he offers a lift to a stranded woman, Mallika Sherawat (Assets in and acting out) who seems to be more ominous than what meets the eye. The segment plays a tad gimmicky but is, nevertheless, enjoyable.

The final segmment, directed by Chekravarthy, is the strongest of all. Starring Randeep Hooda (sensational), the best thing to roll out of the RGV company last year and Factory regulars Zakir Hussain and Rasika Joshi (apt), it is a twisted and absurd tale of possession and vengeance.

'Darna Zaroori Hai' is far from a 'great' or even 'perfect' movie. It's heavily flawed, too gimicky, stumbles frequently but what makes it refreshing, even endearing is its sense of whimsy and irrevernce. And as compared to 'DMH', 'DZH' is a far more satisfying movie probably on account of the far superior wrap-around story directed by Manish Arora.

All in all, it is an enjoyable whacky time at the movies. Fultoo timepass, as they say.

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