I don't remember when was the last time since the release of '13 B' did I really enjoy watching a horror/supernatural film from start to finish. Scared I was in quite a few outings but a being glued to my seat for most part of the film's duration was something that was missing in quite a few films in the interim. 'Rokkk', 'Shaapit', 'Click', 'Phoonk 2' are some of the films that come to mind which belonged to similar genre. However, 'A Flat' is the most superior to all.
One can sense tension building up right at the beginning of the film when Jimmy Sheirgill wakes up from a nightmare. In love with his office colleague (Kaveri Jha) and now going through some rough times, he rushes back from US to India to make up with her. However, to his horror he finds his girlfriend missing from home while his dad (Sachin Khedekar) too is killed in his flat. As he tries to unravel the mystery, he himself gets trapped in his flat and ends up unveiling quite a few truths which have references to his best friend (Sanjay Suri) and his wife (Hazel Croney).
It won't be wrong to say that 'A Flat' is totally different from what one typically sees in a regular horror/supernatural drama. There are no extended shots of a man moving from one point of the house to another, no staircase rendezvous, no spirits that crawl on the roof, no scary voices that merely fill in the narrative without much value add and most importantly, no 'shor sharaaba' which is considered to be the hallmark of quintessential horror drama.
In fact it won't be wrong to say that the first half pretty mush passes by in a jiffy. Sachin Khedekar's murder, Jimmy getting trapped in his flat, his experience with the supernatural and then a fantastic interval point, all of this pretty much manages to engage the audience.
However, as soon as the second half of the film begins, the mystery element is more or less unveiled there and then. As the story moves to Manali with Hazel's character being introduced, the film deviates a little. Now while this is a requirement of the story, for the audience it is a distraction of sorts since the tension that was created with Jimmy being trapped in the flat gets diluted. Nevertheless, once Sanjay Suri brings Hazel to the flat, the film turns engaging all over again. To add to that, after the film gets back to the present times with Jimmy back on scene, there is no looking back as 'A Flat' leads to an unconventional, but truly justifable ending.
Jimmy Sheirgill has camera focused on him in practically every scene in the first half and also the latter portions of the second half. He does a good job and looks totally convincing. Sanjay Suri too is controlled and comes up with a balanced performance. Kaveri Jha in a short role is quite natural and looks good as well. However Hazel, who has a far more pivotal role to play in the film, does seem to be struggling a little, especially in the 'gaon ki gori' part while her 'babuji' act of a Himachali girl looks primitive enough to have been left behind in 'Bol Radha Bol' days.
Not just is 'A Flat' a polished product, it also has a setting that is original (though the storyline has some predictable elements to it) and a climax which is truly imaginative. Truly, this debutant outing of director Hemant Madhukar has to be acknowledged for the way it starts, sees an impressive middle portion and ends on a striking note. Give it a dekko if in mood of seeing something new.