Is it time travel? Is it a twin universe with some important pieces missing in one and vital in another?
With references to Christopher Nolan by one character or the other, director Anurag Kashyap’s target is clear: he’s catering to the audience that would watch, understand and applaud a Nolan film. It would mean a slim percentage of the theatre audience but it is only that viewership which would watch enthralled this Taapsee Pannu-steered mystery thriller.
It’s a simple thought to begin with. It’s 1996. A young mother’s working on the engineering blueprint of a Blue Cross Hospital. A storm strikes at night and her curious young son who quietly goes over to investigate a murder next door, is run over by a fire truck at exactly 2:12. Anurag’s title is clever. Dobaaraa could be ‘once again’ or it could be do baraa as in 2:12. Both make a nice fit as a similar meteoric storm hits the same area in Hingewadi, Maharashtra 25 years later and that’s when the simple turns complicated.
In 2021, Dr Antara Vashisht (Taapsee) works at the Blue Cross Hospital, she’s the mother of a young daughter, and she’s married to hotelier Vikas (Rahul Bhatt). When the world’s asleep and the storm is howling, Antara is drawn to the TV-VCR set that the young boy used 25 years ago. It’s exactly 2:12. This time she’s able to communicate with him and prevent his fatal accident. But changing the past, changes the present too, as she spirals into a world where Vikas is not her husband, he’s married to another, she has no daughter and most think she’s crazy when she talks about the murder next door. Except for DCP Chandan Yadav (Pavail Gulati) who has as much of a life in 1996 as he does in 2021.
Dizzying between 1996 and 2021, does the murder next door reach a solution? Does Antara find her daughter?
Writer Nihit Bhave’s adaptation of the 2018 Spanish film Mirage, doesn’t let you think as the same uncle-aunty next door, a murder without a body, Antara curiously walking in on Vikas with another wife, her baffled attempts to find her daughter and return to a sense of reality, keep speeding in and out.
Anurag Kashyap’s sci-fi thriller is directed engagingly with the atmospherics playing as big a part as Antara or the DCP. Kashyap adds flashes of humour too, like Antara’s snarky line to her husband that irrespective of who he’s married to, he won’t be happy. She’s seen that up-close.
The big ‘but’ however is that this is a film in which the viewer has to completely invest all his thinking, suspend it for a while and then think again when it’s all over, with some doubts still lingering. How many would be able to do that with the required patience, or the cerebral bent, will be the big question.
Watch Dobaaraa Trailer: