The one good thing about the lockdown is the supremely good content that has been streaming online, anchors that have managed to keep everyone with an internet connection afloat. Adding to the reserve, the trailer for Evil Eye dropped yesterday. And it looks intriguing, to say the least.
An Amazon Original Movie set for release on October 13, this thriller has been helmed by women at the centre, having been written by writer Madhuri Shekar, with actor Priyanka Chopra listed as one of the executive producers. And as all such women-led ventures go, the plot too looks delightfully female-centric.
The trailer begins with a woman, Pallavi, possibly American-Indian, surmisable by her accent and the obviously foreign location of the film. She is in, what looks like, a whirlwind romance with a man named Sandeep – a prototype of the tall, dark, handsome figure from pop culture. When she breaks the news to her mother, Usha, the first thing she asks of her is both their horoscopes so that kundlis can be matched – the mark of a true Indian maa. And like any other “un-sanskaari” woman, Pallavi rebels, laying bare the polarities between them. Pallavi is not a stickler for traditional beliefs, while her mother has a strong faith in astrology and such.
As the story unravels, loosening up more and more details about Sandeep, Usha’s scepticism towards him increases. She’s not sure about him, and tells Pallavi the same, straining their relationship. Thereon begins a back and forth between the past and present, shifting the gaze entirely from Pallavi to Usha. And the audience realises that the story was about the mother all along. A flashback of a sour relationship, violence, and bloodshed ensues, driving Usha to the edge of her sanity. What’s real? What’s not real? No one knows anymore. All she knows is that her beloved Pallu is with a man who is potentially dangerous. And she’s got to save her.
The Formula Of The Brooding Lover And A Female Victim
It’s a tried-and-tested formula, of casting doubt on the brooding (anti) hero’s past life, that brings dread with every little detail revealed, usually for a woman who falls prey to his love. This has been a common trope on OTT content, seen in Big Little Lies and You, two hugely successful series. And yet, it never fails to surprise. What’s fresh in Evil Eye is that this thrilling storyline plays out between a mother and her daughter’s beau, with the daughter herself caught in the crosshairs of the dynamic.
The cast isn’t vast, keeping the focus of the story limited to not more than two to three characters at a time, which sets the film up for a tightly packed, fast-paced watch. Not much can be said about the younger cast, Sunita Mani (Pallavi) and Omar Maskati (Sandeep), whose screen presence seems but ordinary, allowing the plot to take the fore in their case. But the parents, Sarita Choudhury (Usha) and Bernard White (her husband), deliver superbly. Choudhury rouses up the screen for the entirety of the trailer’s two minutes.
Children Often Don’t See Mothers As Women With Lives Before Them
Evil Eye seems to be as much about mystery, as it is about the complexity of a mother-daughter relationship. Every woman who is a mother knows that it is not an easy line to walk. There are disagreements, resentments, maybe even some hostility, behind the reward of receiving love from a mother.
It is a woman versus woman situation, but with the hope of a positive outcome always. Usha doesn’t want Pallavi to not find love; in fact, she’s overjoyed when Pallavi first tells her about it. But when it all becomes too murky the only thing Usha wants is for her child to be protected from all evil.
In tracing back to Usha’s repressed flashes of her own backstory, we understand how little Pallavi knows and understands about her mother, a factor that causes their bond to rupture. It’s no one’s fault, per se, because children often don’t see their mothers as women who had lives before they came along. For a child, a mother is a mother, and that’s her whole identity. It’s a sticky space, but one every daughter ultimately overcomes as she grows older. But will Pallavi and Usha reach a resolution? We’ll have to wait and watch.
Here’s the film’s official trailer by Amazon:
Image Credit: YouTube screenshot
Views expressed are the author’s own.