Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 6th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: India, May 20th, 2005
Director: Shripal Morakhia
Cast: Urmila Matondkar, Anuj Sawhney, Shweta Konnur, Amardeep Jha, Kamini Khanna
DVD released: June 6th, 2006
Approximate running time: 105 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: DTS, Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Allumination FilmWorks
Region Coding: Region 1 NTsc
Retail Price: $24.98
Naina’s (Urmila Matondkar) life would forever be changed while driving around the streets of London with her parents. A Solar Eclipse would happen that would take the lives of her parents and even though she would survive she would suffers injuries including loss of eyesight. Flash forward twenty years Naina regains her sights after a successful cornea transplant. Her renewed ability to see comes at a hefty price as she is able to see the recently departed standing next the living.
Naina is a riveting story about a complex character and the films often delves deep into her emotions which is also part of the key to enjoying this film. Naina is played by Urmila Matondkar who effortlessly has you believing she was blind for most of her life. The scene that best showcases how good her performance is was moments right after they take her bandages off and the way she struggles to with the adjustment form dark to light looks genuine. She also never makes the character a totally helpless victim which makes empathizing with her plight all the more easier.
The films direction and cinematography are nearly flawless as every frame has been meticulously composed for the maximum effect. The films amazing score composed by Salim and Suleman Merchant perfect sets up the mood and main piano motif is simply haunting. This film isn’t your typical horror film as they are no madmen on the loose killing. Instead the scares are psychologically based as ambient sound design and languid camera shots set up the mood with it tense and sometimes downright creepy. The films special effects are pretty impressive with the best being saved for last in the films grand finale. One major complaint about film like Naina is that they often borrow elements from other films and in this case the film that Naina most resembles is The Sixth Sense. In The film Naina can see dead people she refers to as Black Shadows. These similarities between the two films while they are easy to spot they are insignificant. Overall Naina is spellbinding story that is compelling tell the very end.
Naina is presented in non anamorphic letterboxed which preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The colors look vivid through out with many bright colors looking lucid and nicely saturated. Black levels are strong and details look sharp through out. One minor complaint about the transfer besides it being anamorphic enhanced and that would be the image looks a tad soft during darker scenes. Overall the source material used is in great shape and there is no noticeable print damage.
This release comes with two audio options Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital stereo mixes. Both audio mixes are in the films native language of Hindi. Of note there are some instances in the film where some characters speak in English. Both audio mixes are free of any hiss, distortion, or any of audio defects. Dialog is easy to follow and the rest of the mix sounds full and evenly balanced. English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release include a trailer for Naina and trailers for three other films also released on DVD by Allumination Filmworks.
Naina besides being a beautiful film to look at it is also technically impressive as it pulls off some exceptional special effects sequences. It would have been cool if more extras in the form of interviews or an audio commentary had been included giving more insight into these two things. Allumination FilmWorks DVD while not without its faults is still a satisfactory release until a more definitive DVD of this film is released.
For more information about Naina visit Allumination FilmWorks here.