The first half is an interesting package of some average performances, too much music, good suspense, good horror sequences, a good concept well introduced, some honest college life, ragging [and a certain student who speaks up against it, of course, he is our lead actor! Some things never change in Bollywood], and a build-up worth the Nikhat Kazmi’s **** rating.
It only ever gets better after the intermission. The second half is packed with more suspense, thrill, horror that the first, and it’s not a typical Bollywood horror movie, it’s a welcome break, one that I wish lasts, from the Bhatt-style horror of a haunted house with an restless spirit wanting revenge for some damn thing. This is pure, ingenious mind play… because we are always wondering, is this real, do spirits exist, or is it just in the mind?
404 explores my favourite theme: the mind. Having watched Christopher Nolan’s movies, thrillers with the power to question the limits of the mind have always impressed me, becausethey keep me wondering. That is exactly what 404 does. Thankfully, the concept is now taking shape in a mature way in Bollywood.
Abhimanyu, played by Rajvvir Arora (I think?), is a normal student wanting to be a great doctor, hoping to fulfill his aspirations in DIMC College. However, due to certain circumstances [revolving around ragging], he has to find a new room, and he chooses room number 404: a room believed to be haunted, for a student had earlier committed suicide there. Seniors rag him further on, trying to fuel fear into him, and they succeed in a way, for Abhimanyu starts hallucinating. But here’s the question: is he hallucinating, or is it real?
We don’t know. That’s the best part. Because the hallucinations don’t stop with the ragging. They go on. An idea injected into the mind can never be removed from there… so the idea that there is a certain spirit lingering in 404 stays in Abhi’s mind… and haunts him. But Abhi soon becomes friends with the spirit. In the midst of all this… is the brilliant psychological Professor Anirudh.
To get a glimpse of some real college life [and a much less severe reflection of school life today, as it made me remember my days at school], to get some good horror jumps that our industry is seriously failing to give us today in those stereotype horrors, to boggle your mind a bit, and to be shocked and surprised… go watch 404.
And be ready for the surprisingly shocking twist at the end. It’s everything. I wrote in an earlier article of mine that the ending can sometimes decide the fate of the film.
404’s already so good. The ending is all that makes it truly mind blowing.
The only complaint: performances. But that’s ok, considering that most are debutants. They are not bad… but perfected, they could have made this film a milestone.
I give it a well deserved 8.5 out of 10.
Oh, and did I mention that the bare 10 people in the hall applauded at the end? Ah well. Doesn’t happen everytime. As I remember… there was no applause in even 3 Idiots! Ha!