Dobaaraa has two meanings: ‘dobaara’ and 2:12. Both of them are crucial to what the film is about. Repetition of events and the time that leads to it. It is a sci-fi film that aims at denoting different aspects to time travelling.
Dobaaraa is a film by Anurag Kashyap and marks his second time collaboration on screen with writer Nihit Bhave (Choked). It is a remake of the Spanish thriller film Mirage (2018). Dobaaraa casts Taapsee Pannu, Pavail Gulati, Rahul Bhatt and Saswata Chatterjee.
The film is a story of a woman, Antara, who is a mother to a young daughter and a nurse by profession. She is under stress from her disturbed marital relationship. They move to a new house in Hinjewadi, Pune where they find an old television along with a camera recorder. Out of curiosity they check the data in the recorder where they find an old video of a boy from 1996. They later learn from a friend that he is an earlier occupant of the house, and that he witnessed a murder in 1996 and was killed while attempting to escape the killer. Now, the parallels here are that the murder that happened that year was of a couple in a disturbed marriage.
Something keeps Antara hooked to this mystery. Playing the video at the same time-line as it was recorded in the 1996 leads to a change in the realities. It eventually takes her to a zone where she gives her all to save the boy just by changing a few facts. It is Taapsee Pannu’s character trying to work on her own reality after all. What we would like to call escapism from her own problems or to find some way out of her own issues was time-travelling in this context. Antara has been carried very well throughout the film. She is a modern woman juggling between having her own identity, being a mother and trying to catch hold of her breaking marriage. She is unquestionably wonderful as she races between the two realities she finds herself in. However, Dobaaraa would make you realize that Taapsee Pannu in a crime/thriller is not something new that we are watching.
Pavail Gulati is in the role of a police officer who happens to be the only one trusting Antara’s story. He is direct and straight forward which does not bring out much from his character. He is more in the supporting zone of an overtold story. Antara’s husband Vikas played by Rahul Bhatt justifies all that he is, a deceitful and tired partner. Not forgetting to mention the mystery-driven neighbour who not only is upto the mark in the scenes but also a carrier of the layered mysterious script.
A time travel story poses a lot of connections to the two timings that are being matched. There are back stories and possible reasons as to why they connect are emotional and traumatic. The underlying roots of the story are more often than not triggering for the audience. These formations (and revelations) come with a good scripting, where there is no space for the viewers to question the story in hand.
The film, however, seems to over-explaining everything, right from the background of the story to the rains and storms. And yet, there’s a couple glaring loopholes one easily notices. Not to forget the musical background that tries to match with the emotional state of the protagonist. It looks like the film-makers created the film with an assumption of a non-compromising audience. A well thought outlook which did not do well for the genre and the storyline. Too many self-explanatory dialogues kill the thrill of the film.
It can be concluded that the remake of the 2018 film “Mirage”, Dobaaraa has a great background and I personally love the connection between a parallel universe arising from the escapism and personal miseries. Having said that, time travels are usually subjective. Here, the music, the dramatic rains and storms, the complicated lives of the characters over-does the mystery building. The limited time that Antara has in the parallel universe to solve the problem and put things in place is not as driving as it could be.
For an Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu film, combined with Rahul Bhatt’s performance, Dobaaraa could have stood out if it was subtle in its effort. Still, it makes for a fun time at the movies, mostly thanks to its terrific first half, which has been severely missing lately.