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Review: 'Raaz 3's' touch of black magic lies in Bipasha Basu

In 'Raaz 3,' star Bipasha Basu bewitches as an actress who tries to use black magic to drive her younger rival (Esha Gupta) insane.

September 09, 2012|By Robert Abele
  • Bipasha Basu in a scene from "Raaz 3."
Bipasha Basu in a scene from "Raaz 3." (Handout )

If your taste for cheesy movie horror has been ill-fed by the current vogue for moody found-footage pieces, the 3-D Bollywood entry"Raaz 3" -- forged from equal parts"All About Eve," Orpheus and the blood-sex oeuvre of Hammer and Brian De Palma -- could pick up the slack.

Felicitously erotic Bipasha Basu brings some old-school witchy vengeance to the part of Shanaya, a fading leading lady so unnerved by the rising prominence of a sweetly sexy newcomer (Esha Gupta) that she calls on black magic spirits -- and the help of her director boyfriend (Emraan Hashmi) -- to drive her rival insane.

Under Vikram Bhatt's no-frills direction, the inevitable uh-oh love story between accomplice and victim feels perfunctory -- and Gupta and Hashmi are earnest yet dull. But when their romance exponentially ratchets up Basu's desire to punish in the second half, it does lead to some agreeably high-strung set pieces, like an imagined swarm of insects emerging from bathroom drainpipes, and a frenzied climax that cross-cuts between a morgue and the spirit world.

But it's Basu who nails the gothic flash of it all, hardly needing the patina of 3-D to conjure a slinky throwback to fiendishly carnal temptresses of movies past. Whether meeting a malevolent spirit wearing expensive sunglasses, seductively controlling her prey, or bringing her scheme to an operatically violent close, she gives"Raaz 3" its defiantly retro flamboyance.

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'Raaz 3'

MPAA rating: R for some violent content; in Hindi with English subtitles

Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Playing: At selected theaters

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