1920 poster


wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)

quick review:

It horrifies for sure. Both by its thrills and its insensitive take on religion. Decent special effects cannot help forgive extreme irresponsibility in this age of communal riots.

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Director: Vikram Bhatt
Running time: 160 minutes
More Movie Info

I've grown up fighting my fears by reciting the Hanuman Chalisa. Over time I grew into a person who believes that God doesn't need my praise to take care of me. I believe He exists and that's all I need to know. Yet I respect all who find peace of mind from performing rituals. BUT, when followers of one religion try to even imply that their religion is superior to another, I lose all respect for them. And that's what happened with 1920. I couldn't believe it when one religion succeeds at doing something that the other couldn't!

So much so that I feel like taking points away from all the repulsive yet thrill-inducing quivers it successfully got out of me on the way to the climax. The finale though, just completely ruined whatever it was building up towards, by being both lame and offensive. Sure, the movie can be taken as a man's journey of losing and regaining his faith. But at the cost of demeaning someone else's belief - unacceptable!

There isn't any special craft involved in the writing of the two distinct stories that make this movie either. Unrequited love and undying love brings havoc and redeems soul respectively. There are a few creative lines strewn around but nothing remarkable about the effort as a whole.

Just when the deadpan expressions of both the lead actors, Rajneesh Duggal and Adah Sharma, and the haggard pace were beginning to bring a yawn, the story began inching forward. And I was in complete awe of the many ways in which Adah's body managed to contort, turn, wiggle, and squirm. Her facial muscle movements, make-up, and the special effects all contributed to both the disgust I felt towards the ghost possessing her and how sorry I felt for her character. Rajneesh's face and eyes on the other hand remained blank. Points for consistency?

The only things I knew about the movie beforehand were that it's set almost a century ago, and that it belongs to the horror genre. Horror translates to shrill background music and weird camera work, so I was all prepared for that. But, I was pleasantly surprised. In fact the opening sequence had very little music for accompaniment. An eerie ambience was created, alright.

Yet, it didn't escape the standard questions one would have of ever-predictable Hindi horror movies. How come a person who turns out to be dissatisfied enough after death invariably resides in a mansion? What stops this ghost from getting out of the mansion? In this particular case it wasn't as if this ghost was attached to the mansion? I guess, a haunted mansion makes more movie-worthy material than a haunted shanty.

But, the main glaring, making me fume question remains - How? How can one make such an insensitive movie about religion when it's being used to commit so many atrocities to serve God-alone-knows-what agenda? Freedom of expression, huh? Irresponsible usage - I say...

- meeta, a part of the audience

19 reviewers(?) - 3 yays 8 so-so 8 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Aditya Mehta, Buzz18 : ...It traces back to how the ghost came about, and makes the plot thicker and more believable.... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ... It may not be the most eerie experience, but it has its share of terrifying moments... full review

Thumbs up, by Goher Iqbal Punn, Radio Sargam : ...The screenplay by Vikram Bhatt and Dhiraj Ratan deserves distinction marks.... full review

So-So, by Nikhil Kumar, Apun Ka Choice : ...Despite this, the film works to an extent because Vikram Bhatt holds it tight until the very climax... full review

So-So, by J K Yaduvanshi, Deccan Herald : ...sometimes script seems to have been manipulated for the special effects that come at the cost of the story to give the audience a moment’s hair-raising experience.... full review

So-So, by Martin D'souza, Glamsham.com : ...He shoots in London and tells you that that piece of irresistible architectural beauty, the castle he is shooting in, is somewhere in India. Very, very annoying.... full review

So-So, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...In fact, the climax is one of the best executed attempts in special effects in recent times.... full review

So-So, by Renuka Vyavahare, indiatimes : ... the film may be Bhatt’s most brilliant film till date in terms of its cinematography but lacks originality in terms of direction and story telling.... full review

So-So, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...Cinematography (Pravin Bhatt) is quick to change from painting the frame with picturesque beauty to bringing out the horror through lighting and angles... full review

So-So, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...Watch the film for the chilling second half and for its aesthetics.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Bhasin, Bolly Spice : ...The setting, albeit a little cheesy (a huge castle in the middle of nowhere!), works well with the tone of the film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Yasser Usmaan, DearCinema : ...Rajnish Duggal has fixed expressions throughout the film. Raj Zutshi hams as usual... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...It's the endless back-story and the film's lethargic pace that do the most damage... full review

Thumbs down, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...The backstory about why this haveli is inhabited by the ghost who stalks is laugh-out loud funny - unintentionally of course.... full review

Thumbs down, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ...So panoramic and National Geographic is the view that we often want the lead pair ... to just move out of camera range... full review

Thumbs down, by Ashok Nayak, Now Running.com : ... The post-interval portions suffer due to its slow pace and bad direction.... full review

Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...Unlike Ram Gopal Varma, his film relies on footsteps in silence, not sound-design boos.... full review

Thumbs down, Upper Stall : ...Technically too the film is woeful.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

2 readers - 2 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Namramuni : Namramuni is transforming himself from not just a Jain monk but a real admirer of people by his qual

Yay! Thumbs Up, by TimELiebe : Period Horror of young couple in haunted house - surprisingly effective Indian Horror film.

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

An architect, Arjun Singh Rathod (Rajneesh Duggal), is called upon to renovate a mansion into a hotel. He takes his wife, Lisa (Adah Sharma), along. This is all set in 1920. Turns out the mansion is haunted...

What Worked

  • Arjun's character defined while he's chanting the Hanuman Chalisa. How he lovingly feeds the women in the house, but his expression hardens when looking at the men. A little artificial but its clear that he doesn't get along with the men.
  • Was the tram running infront of VT station superimposed digitally? If yes, it was done fairly well.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • The special effects used to imply that there's a soul hovering around.
  • Why is Lisa waiting for him in bridal attire?!
  • The songs! Awful music, intolerable singing!!
  • The entire woman brining a lunch box for her husband at his workplace. Maybe it used to happen/actually happens, but the way it was picturized, its just too...sugary sweet...to digest.
  • Why does Balwant not tell Lisa about the priest's visit?
  • Why would a soldier who's trying to hide show himself when a messenger from an outsider is at the door?


This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • Was men wearing one earring in fashion in early 1900s. Men used to wear and still do wear both earrings in the interiors of Rajasthan, but just one?

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads of people being thrown around and one very gory scene.
  • Sexual content: Nothing too obvious, but seduction and sexual activity is implied.
  • Concept: Faith, religion, ghosts possessing people - I wouldn't want my child to see any of this.
  • General Look and Feel: General eerie feel throughout the movie.

1920 - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Supporting Cast:
Background Score:
Action Choreography:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
160 minutes

Comments (6)

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I had subscribed, but how come Iam not receiving any updates :(

!!! Spoilers in this comment !!!

Hey Mayur, why does it fail? That too despite God bleeding for its child? Despite all the efforts taken by a staunch believer. And the other religion just needs a 5 minute chant by a person who has lost faith midway.

I wasn't even talking of the symbols, etc. Exorcism failing - full stop - would have been a very interesting take on religion especially considering science had already failed. But, they went ahead and made another religion succeed at something the first couldn't do. That according to me is unacceptable. Even if it is done a hundred times by other movies.

"Its like creating issue(where religions are involved) out of a non-issue."

Yikes!! That is something I would hate to do and is not my intention at all. These reviews are my thoughts written down as I walk out of the theater. So, you can count it as another reaction to the movie.

Did you like the movie, then?

Agree with Mayur and disagree with Meetu.
Seriously Meetu, where did you find the religious discrimination part? As Mayur put it, I see it simply as an act where the hero triumphs(again, he has to, he is the hero).

Spoiler Alert
The excorcism was never completed, coz the possessed body ran away
The Hanuman Chalisa chants, on the other hand get completed. The body tries to run away, but the hero doesn't lets it.
I didnt see "anywhere" the concept of one religion succeeding where other failed.

Spoiler Ends

I suggest you watch the movie again.
No, seriously

Otherwise, decent review.

Thanks, Ankit! Oh well, we disagree on this one, then...

Hmmm...Jazz, wasn't it the writer's decision to make the priest fail? Not to think about such things is according to me irresponsible. Anyway, chilling is the only thing I can do, right? Other than fuming on this site :)

No thanks, amit, i'm happy accepting that you didn't have the problems that i had with the movie. Don't need to see the movie again :)

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