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Dobaaraa review: Entertaining, enjoyable alternate reality tale that hooks you in


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Sonal Pandya

An official remake of the Spanish movie Mirage (2018), the Anurag Kashyap film starring Taapsee Pannu is a tense, alluring puzzle that absorbs you in its thrilling story.  

Anurag Kashyap’s latest film Dobaaraa (2022) has two meanings built into its title. The first refers to a repeated action or state, and the second to a specific time 2:12 am, that has special significance in the film. Dobaaraa, headlined by Taapsee Pannu, is a tense, thrilling remake of the Spanish film Mirage (2018) that pulls you in once it gets going.

Pannu plays Antara, a nurse who moves into a new home with her husband Vikas Awasthi (Rahul Bhat) and daughter Avanti. Their neighbouring home is abandoned, having been shrouded in scandal after a murder in 1996.

On their first night at the home, in the midst of a severe electric storm, Antara discovers a hidden portal in the past that links her to a young boy Anay, who lived in the same place 25 years ago, and ends up changing both their fates.

The framework for the story is set up by Mirage's Oriol Paulo, but the remake doesn't waver thanks to the tight screenplay by Nihit Bhave. Now set in Hinjewadi, Pune, in Maharashtra, the story moves at a brisk but comfortable pace, never letting up as Antara finds herself in an alternate universe, where she manages to avert the death of Anay, but can’t recognize her new reality.

As she tries to piece together the puzzle of the past and how changing it has affected her future, she finds few allies. One of them is DCP Anand (Pavail Gulati) who is investigating Antara’s new circumstances, alongside her. Antara has to learn to trust her instincts and she tries to bring justice to all involved.

Kashyap has a good handle on the material and it doesn’t drag out the suspense much. The murder in the past and its ramifications in the present have been treated in an intriguing manner. The mood and look of the two ‘timelines’, warm in the past, and cold in the future, reminds us, like Antara, of what is at stake.

The sound and production design neatly weaves in the film’s science-fiction elements, and there are clever callbacks to the Hollywood films The Terminator (1984) and Back To The Future (1985), depicted in the clothes young Anay wears. There are also several mirror shots in which we glimpse the character trying to assess themselves and the situation in which they find themselves.

Pannu leads the film with an earnest performance as Antara as she scrambles to fix her life, now unrecognizable in its state. While Gulati’s character keeps his cards close to the chest, the actor makes an emotional impact in the second half.

The rest of the cast with artistes Bhat, Himanshi Choudhry as Sheela Aunty, Saswata Chatterjee as Raja Ghosh, Sukant Goel as Abhishek play key parts in the larger picture. Child artiste Arrian Sawant is also notable as Anay, whose involvement triggers a link from 1996 to 2021.

The latter half of Dobaaraa somehow also reminded me of another Hollywood film Sliding Doors (1998) which followed a woman’s fate, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, in two simultaneous but alternate realities. For those who enjoy a good puzzle, Dobaaraa is an entertaining tale with a rewarding end.

 

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