1920 is a 2008 period horror movie, one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. Now, of course, this scariness is a pretty subjective thing. For e.g., if you are yourself a ghost, you won’t really be scared of some actress trying to ACT like a ghost, would you?
Anyway, so I totally love this film. It had scared the hell out of me the first time I saw it. I didn’t really get to see the complete movie again. I could only see little scenes from the movie and that too the not so scary ones….
However, yesterday I got lucky….. I saw the second half of the movie on Stargold… and trust me, the evil Lisa didn’t fail to send shivers down my spine again.
However, my post is not an extremely late review of 1920. I am writing this post simply to highlight my most favourite part in the movie.
I am talking about the very last part- the part where Mohan Kant’s evil spirit finally leaves Lisa’s body.
The fact that this scene has been beautifully crafted is only secondary to the fact that this scene depicts a very supreme faith in the Almighty.
I am not going to write the whole story of 1920. Just that, this story has a guy named Arjun, a religious Hindu, in love with Lisa, an Anglo-Indian girl with a British Christian father. Arjun’s family opposes their marriage, however, Arjun decides to marry Lisa anyway. His family then plots against the couple and tries to kill Lisa. Somehow, she is saved. That is the time when Arjun disavows his Faith.
The later half of the movie shows Arjun and Lisa in a haveli for the renovation of which Arjun has been appointed (he’s an architect). In this haveli, strange things begin to happen and later Arjun gets to know that Lisa has been possessed by the evil spirit of Mohan Kant, a spy for the British during the 1857 Indian Sepoy Mutiny. Why does Mohan Kant’s spirit not find deliverance and why is he after Lisa alone is a long (not very long) flashback.
Anyway, the last scene shows a priest trying to exorcise out the evil spirit of Mohan Kant from Lisa’s body, but, this exorcism had not been sanctioned by the church. The priest attempts this exorcism out of his own concern for Lisa. Sadly, the evil one tricks the priest into believing that there is a snake around his neck instead of his stole bearing the Cross, and the Father then throws away his stole in panic. The devil gets to him instantly and the Father loses his life.
This is one scene that I like a lot. Just as the priest throws his stole, the devil says in his malicious tone, “Oh, so you left God’s hand out of fear?”
This is an ascertained trick of Shaitaan. He makes us feel that a certain thing is harmful for us (*the snake*) when in reality, it could be the very blessing of God that we need at that time (*the Father’s Cross-bearing stole*). Out of our fear/perplexity, we leave God’s hands- unknowingly, but, we do it. And that is when he reaches us and suffocated in his sinful smoke, we die.
After, the hope of the priest is lost, Arjun is all alone in his fight against the devil. The devil (in Lisa’s body) is pleased and attacks Arjun, thrashing half the life out of him. As Arjun lies on the ground almost lifeless, the devil lets Lisa’s soul speak to Arjun for one last time when Lisa (the real Lisa) asks Arjun to help him.
Now here is where the story gives its best part.
We are taken into Arjun’s thoughts and we see Arjun in a Hanuman Temple, where he raises his foot to step into the temple but takes it back, only to bend down and bow to the idol of Hanuman.
That is when Arjun musters up the strength to stand up again and he slowly walks towards the devil saying yet another beautiful thing…
He says that “The Devil had come into my life once earlier in the form of human to take my love away from me (referring to his family who had tried to kill Lisa) and now here you are again in human form, trying to take my love away. I wont let you do it”
He says this and goes to Lisa’s body and embraces her.
The devil (Lisa) is only smiling but just then in one STUNNNNINNNNNNNNGGGGGGG moment, Arjun starts reciting the Hanuman Chaleesa into Lisa’s ear........... then follows the devils attempts to escape which has been shown beautifulllllllyyyyyy, but Arjun successfully holds on to Lisa and continues reciting the Hanuman Chaleesa until at the end when he says “Bajrang Bali ki Jai”, the devil can bear it no longer and finally abandons Lisa’s body and is cast away from their lives.
What I like so much about this scene is that the final act of deliverance from the evil spirit isn’t brought by a priest or a pundit or a fakeer, it is not by any ‘holy man’, but by a very common guy who had, in fact, stopped going to the temples- by a very common, very normal man who is simply fighting for his love.
The film could have easily shown the priest succeeding in exorcising the evil spirit in an as grand way as possible, and later, showing Arjun regain his Faith in God coz’ after all, it was God (thru the priest or any such man)who brought Lisa back to him.
But, the film shows Arjun first regain his Faith (in the bowing down to Hanuman in his thoughts) and THEN cast away the evil spirit. This is IMPORTANT coz’ God didn’t need to prove himself in order to get a devotee back.
It showed that a true devotee, however angry he may get at God, doesn’t wait for God to prove himself before believing in him.
It showed that devotion brings God anywhere.
It need not be by a pundit or a tantric.
Any man, who remembers God with complete devotion and truly believes that this God can alone help him out of the calamity that has befallen him, DOES and TRULY DOES find God’s help.
Also touching is how the evil is cast out not by showing Arjun doing things that we only see tantriks doing on tv…. Beating the girl with some kind of jhaadu, or sprinkling lots of magical stuff on her… it simply shows him embracing his wife…and reciting the Hanuman Chaleesa, something that millions of Hindus know.. and many even recite daily.
It is the victory of devotion, bhakti….
The victory of devotion by a ‘you’, by a ‘me’.
( Written on the 8th of Feb, 2012- probably not posted due to Andaman's fab net connection!)