At one point in Agyaat — The Unknown, one character turns to another and asks: Have you lost it? You might want to put the same question to Ram Gopal Varma after sitting through this spectacularly dim-witted horror film about a film crew lost in a jungle, being hunted by an unknown creature.
Agyaat begins with Priyanka Kothari, who plays the film's heroine, doing an item number. The song screams: I wanna, wanna kiss you day and night while the camera caresses her thighs. I don't know what your definition of horror is but I was already scared. We then land in the jungles of central Sri Lanka.
The crew consists of an annoying hero, his servile spotboy, a lecherous producer, a moronic director, a philosophical cameraman, a manic stunt director, two assistant directors and the earlier mentioned permanently pouting heroine, who comes, believe it or not, absolutely alone. When shooting is halted because the camera breaks down, the crew decides to go camping in the forest. Before they know it, the weird caretaker who led them into the forest has been killed. And now they must find their own way out.
This set-up of a blood-soaked rumble in the jungle has been featured in dozens of horror movies, from Friday the 13th series to Blair Witch Project.
All Varma had to do was copy but apparently even that was too much of a challenge. Agyaat is relentlessly foolish. The characters, without exception, are so annoying that you are waiting and rooting for the creature that kills them. But the first murder happens only about 50 minutes into the film. Until then, Varma tries to create shivers with close-ups of looming branches, snakes and monkeys.
Not to mention a laugh out loud shot of Kothari exercising by a pond, in a tennis skirt while the creature rustles around her. Telegu actor Nitin Kumar Reddy, who plays an assistant director, tries to bring some conviction to his scenes but it's an uphill climb, literally. At one point, in the midst of this bloody mayhem, the AD and the heroine climb up a hill. They are, or so you think, unhinged by fear. Instead the AD declares to the heroine that he has always loved her and will get her out of the jungle.
These ridiculous situations aren't helped by the fact that Kothari seems to have mistaken rolling her eyeballs for acting. And she’s not the only one. Joy Fernandes playing the caretaker also pushes his eyeballs out as much as is humanly possible. Is this scary? Not in the least. What is scary is that Agyaat ends with the promise that Agyaat 2 is coming soon. I recommend that you stay far away and let the unknown stay unknown.