darna mana hai

supernatural/thriller/ toungue-in-cheek horror

Starring Nana Patekar, Vivek Oberoi, Sanjay Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty, Saifali Khan, Antara Mali, Aftab Shivdasani,Sohail Khan, Isha Kopikkar, Sameera Reddy, Raghuvir Yadav, Bomani Irani, Revathy, Rajpal Yadav, Gaurav Kapoor, and Sushant Singh.

Banner: Kay Sera Sera Entertainment and Varma Corp

Producer: Ram Gopal Varma    Director: Prawaal Raman

Story/Screenplay: Atul Sabharwal, Rajnish Thakur and Abbas Tyrewala

Editing: Amit Parmar, Nipun Gupta Background Music: Salim Sulaiman

Cinematography: Vishal Sinha

Released: 25th July 2003

Visit the Official Website 

ReViewed by  Akshay Shah


RGV is back! After the super success of his spine tingling horror BHOOT he once again returns with a film that will inflict fear upon the viewer...but unlike BHOOT, DARNA MANAA HAI manages to ensure its fair share of laughs and doesn't take itself too seriously at all!  The film will only appeal to a select audience who will appreciate Varmas creative edge and understand the true beauty of the movie, although he is letdown by a flat and disapointing climax he yet again gives the industry something creative, innovative and NEVER SEEN BEFORE!

 The film revolves around a group of friends on their way back home from Goa. In the middle of the night their car breaks down midway in the jungle somewhere and the friends are left with no choice but to wait till the morning.

Shruti(Sameera Reddy) spots a lantern light in the jungle somewhere and the group decide to follow it. They end up in a secluded ruin where they light a bonfire. To kill time they decide to  tell each other horrific, grisly and weird tales that they have heard from others.....little do they realise that there is a far more horrific story happening around them!

 The basic premise of the film is brilliant. Writers Atul Sabharwal, Rajnish Thakuar and Abbas Tyrewala must be given full credit for coming up with a genuinely orignal and whacky premise although it does have its fair share of throwbacks to THE TWLIGHT ZONE, X FILES and TALES FROM THE CRYPT.  The highlight of the movie is the 6 weird and whacky tales that each of the characters tell. While some truly scare the viewers, others may amuse and thrill the viewer raising the occasional smile as well.

The first story is about a newly wed couple(Sohail Khan and Antara Mali). Sohail is fascinated with the idea of scaring his wife...although she never seems to fall for any of his tricks. Their car happens to breakdown suddenly in the forest. Sohail goes to fix the car....and much to Antaras distress he never returns!?!..Is this another one of Sohail's prank? Or has something truly terrifying happened?!  The story here is short and simple lasting a duration of 15 minutes. The performances from Sohail Khan and Antara Mali and sharp and the conclusion amuses the viewer.


The second story is about a photographer(Saifali Khan) who stays the night over at a inn on his way to Mumbai. The hotel is owned, cleaned and run by an eccentric man who hates smoking completely. He takes Saifs packet of cigarettes away from him...and slowly Saif realises that this man will go to ANY lengths to make sure Saif doesn't smoke. Although the idea is far fetched, this is one of the more comical film in the movie. The story has a touch of Quentin Tarantino and makes one smile and be amused at the same time. The ending will not gel with most viewers. I personally thought that it had a nice ironic touch to it.

 The third story is about a strict school teacher (Raguvir Yadav), he has always punished this one girl in school for not doing her homework...but one strange day she does her homework! Raghuvir is baffled and scared at the same time. The question baffles him IS THIS GIRL REALLY DOING THE HOMEWORK HERSELF? and he goes to any lengths to find out! Slowly it is learnt that Raghuvir has a much darker secret which is eating him up. Probably one of the more darker and grimmer stories in the movie. The acting here is superb and the direction is taunt and haunting.


The fourth story is of a middleclass housewife (Shilpa Shetty) and her husband(Sanjay Kapoor). One day when she is shopping she decides to purchase some apples from a "weird" vendor(Rajpal Yadav)...who seems to be selling the apples cheaper and cheaper as he goes around the market. Shilpa gets paranoid of the apples and even chucks them out when she gets home..only to find that they return back to her fridge mysteriously!  To add to her horror she finds that her husband has eaten one of the apples...What is so deadly about these apples?

This is the worst story of the movie. The premise is interesting, but there is nothing thrilling, amusing or entertaining here. The direction and performances are pretty flat also.

 The fifth story is about a young man(Vivek Oberoi) who happens to drive past a graveyard on route to his destination. He encounters a hitchhiker(Nana Patekar) who claims that he is a ghost! Vivek finds it all a joke at first...only to be later angered by him to the point where he decides to kick him out of his car...until something freaky happens?!

This is one of the best stories in the movie. It relies purely on the talents of Nana Patekar and Vivek Oberoi who are EXCELLENT to say the least in their short roles. They enact their roles with utmost conviction and the dialogue "baazi" between them makes for great viewing.


The sixth and best story in the movie is about a depressed college loser(Aftab Shivdasani). He feels neglected by those around him including his family  and the girl he loves(Isha Kopikkar). This all changes one day when he is blessed with superhuman powers and is given the ability to STOP anyone whenever he wants..until something STOPS him!? This is far the best story. The film is not scary at all, yet it makes for some amusing viewing. Written with some brilliant creative flair and executed in style and topped off by Aftab in fine form.


Lastly we have the story which involves the group of friends themselves. Slowly and suddenly something frightening is happening around them.....and sadly it is this story that is the weakest link of the movie. At the end of the movie one feels ripped off a little and unsatisfied with the final outcome, like something is uncomplete. One only wishes that the writers had come up with something much more gripping and intelligent.

The screenplay of the movie is fantastic. The film movies at a breakneck pace throughout and the movie is scattered with plenty of light moments, alongwith amusement, thrills and scares all in good doses. The absence of songs in the movie works to the films advantage much like in BHOOT.

As a director Prawaal Raman is definetly one of the most imaginative directors to emerge in Bollywood. He mamages to direct each of the six stories with flair and style giving each story its own special feel. The setting, atmosphere and even look of each story is brilliantly executed and well thought out. Sadly enough, what starts off with a bang end with nothing. He fails to execute the 6 stories into ONE ENDING which the slogan of the movie reads. The viewer fails to digest the climax of the movie. One also wishes that instead of the apple story he had comeup with something much more interesting since he isn't able to pull of the concept of APPLE EATING PEOPLE well enough and the outcome is lame. Despite these flaws Raman is a welcome addition to RGV's list of proteges and is definetly very promising. His command over technical aspects such as the camerawork and sound effects are stunning and applaudworthy.

 In terms of performances all cast members perform their roles well. Those who appear in the stories are given a maximum footgae of 20 minutes and they perform their roles brilliantly keeping their characters in mind.

 The show stealers are Nana Patekar and Vivek Oberoi who have blistering chemistry and engage the viewer with their sheer screen presence. Saifali Khan and Bomani Irani also make a interesing duo to watch  and Irani clearly steals the show with his whacky and wonderful character.Sanjay Kapoor and Sohail Khan fail to leave much of a mark and one feels their talents were wasted. Ditto for Antara Mali and Isha Kopikkar..both of them look stunning but dont have much in terms of roles. On the other hand Raghuvir Yadav comes up with a stunning account of himself. He holds his entire episode together just with the power of his performance. Indeed one of the best actors we have around. Rajpal Yadav is average.


Aftab Shivdasani comes up with arguably the films best performances. He posesses the right amount of manic energy needed for his character he gives a spirited and natural account of hiself. His facial expressions are SPOT ON throughout and his character will be loved by the audiences.

 Shilpa Shetty is disappointing in her role.

From the cast members who don't appear in the is Sameera Reddy, Gaurav Kapoor and Sushant Singh who steal the show. Sameera looks absolutely delicious and shows that she has talent! Definetly a face to wsatch for. Gaurav Kapoor has the right amount if zestiness required for his character and Sushant Singh is spot on in a cameo role.

 Technically the film is BRILLIANT to say the least..and that is what is expected from a RGV  production. Editing by Amit Parmar and Nipun Gupta is slick and commendable. Not once does the viewer get bored. Vishal Sinhas cinematigraphy is one of the best the viewer has witnessed in recent times. Sinha manages to create the perfect atmosphere for each story giving the story its own unique touch and feel. The handheld camera sequences are shot well.

Ditto for the Salim Sulaiman who work wonders again after BHOOT!!!!!! Their background score acts like a character of its own and is a MAJOR USP in the movie.

All up DARNA MANAA HAI is not everyones cup of tea! Those expecting a straight out HORROR film like BHOOT will be highly disapointed. The film works like a tongue-in-cheek horror movie which has its moments of horror and humour all interspersed into one with a creative edge. Sadly the film is let down by a mundane climax which disappoints the viewer till no end.

To top it off..DARNA MANAA HAI is one of those movies that you will either come out of the cinema heavily please and carry a HUGE smile on yourself with glee:)...or curse RGV and his team for wasting 2 hours of your time! I fall into the earlier category!


7.5 outta 10

read Jox's review for DARNA MANA HAI


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