In the “Gaslight” movie, Sara Ali Khan plays Meesha, a young woman who returns to a Rajasthan haveli after a long gap where she spent her childhood. However, upon her return, she is beset by dark dreams, and her father is nowhere to be found. Ghostly figures flit behind curtains, a gaslight lantern left winking on the floor the only evidence that someone was there. Things go bump in the night, but every time Meesha tries to bring these fearful occurrences up with the sultry siren (Chitrangada Singh) firmly ensconced in the mansion, she’s told she’s imagining things.
A Slushy Thriller That Fails to Dial up the Dread
The setup is ripe for a slushy thriller, and the actors are an interesting mix, but the film never really takes off. The unease that starts enveloping the older Meesha, now in a wheelchair after an accident, is predictable, and the mystery tropes the film reaches out for – unexplained noises, a black-robed soothsayer going into a trance, the family dog barking at suspicious movements– fail to dial up the dread. The whole thing becomes a drone much too soon.
The Actors Leave Little Impact
The only actor who rises somewhat above his lines is Akshay Oberoi, playing an entitled prince and Meesha’s distant cousin, with a degree of flash. The rest, including Sara Ali Khan, who really needs a role with substance, and Vikrant Massey, who can usually be relied upon to get us to look, leave little impact.
Stand-out Moments and Final Verdict
There’s one standout sequence in which a character is murdered most stylishly against the sand dunes. The stark shadows cast by the victim and the killer in the dead of night take the film straight into noir territory. It makes you sit up and take notice. “Gaslight” could have done with more of those moments.
Overall, “Gaslight” fails to live up to its potential as a thriller, and its talented actors are wasted in their roles. The film fails to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, and its mystery tropes fail to make an impact.
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