’12 O’CLOCK’ | 8 January, 2021

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Company’s 12 O’Clock (A) is a horror drama.

Gauri (Krishna Gautam) lives with her parents (Makarand Deshpande and Divya Jagdale), younger brother (Vishesh) and grandmother in a lower middle-class locality in Bombay. Her father works as a peon in an office. She starts behaving weirdly and soon, it emerges that she is possessed by a spirit. Her father takes her to a doctor (Ali Asgar), then to psychiatrist Debashish (Mithun Chakraborty). In between, Gauri’s parents take her to a tantrik (Ashish Vidyarthi). When nothing helps, they are at their wits’ end. Simultaneously, a series of murders are committed in the city. The police are clueless about who’s committing the murders. Somehow, the murders are connected with Gauri and her condition.

The commissioner of police (Dalip Tahhil) and his trusted police inspector, Francis (Manav Kaul), are perplexed but not for long. They get to know something which sends shivers down their spines. What happens thereafter? Does the psychiatrist free Gauri from the spirit? Is the tantrik able to help? Is she actually possessed? Are the police able to solve the murder mystery? What happens in the final tally?

Ram Gopal Varma has penned a story that starts on an exciting note because the horror and thrill elements involve the audience completely. The weird and scary happenings are intriguing. Varma’s screenplay is good to start with but after a point of time, the horror element reduces, and the mystery quotient comes to the fore. With the decline in the horror quotient, the thrill which the viewers experience also goes down. The climax is different but it will not appeal to the viewers. In fact, it will irritate the audiences. Ram Gopal Varma’s dialogues are ordinary and simple.

Krishna Gautam does a fine job as Gauri. Her expressions and body language are upto the mark. Makarand Deshpande is excellent as Gauri’s father, Rao. He lives the role of the distraught father. Divya Jagdale is natural to the core and expresses her plight beautifully. Mithun Chakraborty is quite nice as psychiatrist Debashish. Ashish Vidyarthi is effective as the tantrik. Manav Kaul makes his mark in a brief role as police inspector Francis. As his wife, Flora Saini has her moments. Ali Asgar is entertaining as the lecherous doctor. His expressions are lovely. Archak Chhabra is alright as Gauri’s boyfriend. Vishesh (as Gauri’s brother) and the actors playing Gauri’s grandmother and the doctor’s assistant lend very good support. Others are adequate.

Ram Gopal Varma’s direction is good but, like his script, his narration loses some steam towards the ending. The climax has not been handled efficiently. M.M. Keeravani’s background music is quite impactful. Amol Rathod’s cinematography is very good. Action scenes (by Aejaz Gulab) are well-composed. Kamal R.’s editing is reasonably sharp.

On the whole, 12 O’Clock has a weak climax and will not be able to make a mark at the box-office for several other reasons too: less-than-required horror and thrills and chills, absence of saleable names in the cast, low footfalls in cinemas due to coronavirus scare, and poor promotion. It would prove to be a non-starter.

Released on 8-1-’21 at Inox (daily 2 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru UFO Cine Media Network. Publicity: weak. Opening: poor. …….Also released all over. Opening was very dull everywhere.