Producer: Boney Kapoor
Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Starring: Om Puri, Revathi, Rohini Hattangadi, Akash Khurana
Music: Mani Sharma (Background Score)

Genre: Horror Suspense Thriller
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Released in: 1993
Reviewed by: Akshay Shah
Reviewer's Rating: 9 out of 10

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Chances are you haven’t heard of Raat or seen it in your video stores. Whatever the case may be, this indianized version of “The Exorcist” is a slick, well-acted horror flick, a genre you don´t get to see very much in India.

It revolves around a new family consisting of Revathi, Rohini, and Akash and a little kid whom moves into a new house. But something is wrong with the house. At first things that happens are small things like funny noises, doors closing by themselves and dead cats coming back to life-but then Revathi gets possessed by a ghost which even leads it to kill. It is revealed that a ghost of a lady who was murdered there by her boyfriend still lives there under the house. Almost eight families have lived in the house over the last seven years and have left due to poor incidents. Now the same ghost has entered into Revathi and has began to kill. While her dad (Akash Khurana) calls a psychiatrist, her mother (Rohini Hattangadi) goes to a “Tantrik” (Witch Doctor) (Portrayed by Om Puri). How the ghost is gotten rid of is what forms the climax.

The film is reminiscent of many films like Kaun, Aks and even English films like Stir of Echoes and The Sixth Sense. However, Raat was made long before any of these films hit the marquee.

Performance wise everyone in the cast play his or her role well. Revathi proves she is a first class actress every time I see a movie of hers. Rohini Hattangadi and Akash Khurana give realistic performances as Revathi´s parents minus all the over-melodrama. Kushant as Revathi´s boyfriend and Om Puri as the “Tantrik” also do pretty well. Om Puri´s role is pretty cool and his entry is interesting. Even though he had a role of only 20 minutes he leaves an impact.

Technically the flick is also well made. The film is slicker and better made than Ram Gopal Varma´s Shiva, and is on par with Kaun and Satya. The camerawork in the film is some of the best I have seen and all the shots of Revathi when she is possessed are commendable. Like Kaun, most of the scares in Raat are owed to the warped camera angles and creepy background music by Mani Sharma.

Direction wise kudos must go to Ram Gopal Varma for having the guts to attempt something different but not entirely original. As a director he succeeds fully but as a writer he slumps a little. The story is paced out well but there are many loopholes in the script. For one the fact that "possession of the devil" has changed into "possession of a ghost" loses a bit of the impact. Also the sequence where we find out the reason behind the ghost is a bit weak and loses impact. He also takes a risk by not having any songs in the movie or unwanted comedy sequences hence the flick retains its impact.

Raat may not be flawless but has enough style, performance power and tight directed sequences for one not to forget. The deadly camerawork and background music make it a must own for fans of the genre and those that have followed up on Ram Gopal Varma’s works.