Shaitaan Movie Review: Dive into a World of Darkness


A solid supernatural suspense tale typically relies on elements of fright and tension to engage the viewer. Even if it avoids sudden frights but offers an eerie encounter, it’s a success. In that vein, director Vikas Bahl has hit the mark with Shaitaan.

The film presents us with Kabir’s (Ajay Devgn) content family, consisting of his wife Jyoti (Jyotika), teenage daughter Jahnavi (Janki Bodiwala), and bookish son Dhruv (Anngad Raaj). The plot swiftly weaves a web of unease when a stranger, Vanraj Kashyap (R Madhavan), enters their lives. He mysteriously gains total control over Jahnavi, to the extent that she follows his every command. Unease soon morphs into dread as Vanraj’s directives grow increasingly dreadful and perilous for Jahnavi and her kin. The remainder of the tale untangles the enigma surrounding Vanraj’s source of power, his intentions, and whether the family can break free from his torment.

Shaitaan’s allure resides in the ambiance it crafts, particularly without leaning on CGI. It heavily relies on the malevolent intentions and schemes of the antagonist, leaving you with a disquieting sensation. Penned by Aamir Keeyan Khan and Krishnadev Yagnik, the film skirts the usual horror clichés. Yet, it does delve into the timeless clash between the supernatural and science, and the human cruelty that reduces humanity to something as primal as evil forces.

The storyline maintains a steady tempo, keeping the film gripping for the most part, though it does become somewhat repetitive in the latter half. Though not overly suspenseful, the buildup is unsettling. There are some less-than-convincing aspects to the story, and one scene prematurely reveals a crucial plot twist, leading to a predictable climax. Cinematographer Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti excels in evoking an atmosphere of dread and obscurity, further heightened by Amit Trivedi’s musical score.

Madhavan shines as the malevolent presence, executing every sinister act flawlessly. Ajay Devgn delivers a commanding performance as a helpless yet resolute father. Jyotika holds her own as well. Janki Bodiwala deserves accolades for her flawless portrayal of the young girl ensnared in a wicked spell. She laughs, weeps, dances, and strikes on cue in swift succession flawlessly. Anngad Raaj as the son also delivers a solid performance.

Despite occasional stumbling in its narrative, Shaitaan’s adept use of atmosphere and stellar performances elevate it into a disquieting experience worth indulging in.