What is the story about?
Sanjana, a wealthy girl, lives with her mother at a bungalow in Kodaikanal named Victoria 17. She runs the house as a homestay, where guests from varying walks of life keep checking in. Unfortunately, they never get to check out as Sanjana is a closeted serial killer. When Siddharth, a writer, comes visiting, she falls in love with him. Will love save Sanjana, or will she have to come to terms with her karma?
If James Joyce wrote The Portrait of An Artist as a Young Man many decades ago, this film could’ve also been titled The Portrait of a Young Girl as a Serial Killer. Somewhere, hidden in this film, is the fantastic premise of going into the past of a serial killer. Director Arnab Riingo Banerjee, who has also written this film, sets up Sanjana as a serial killer right from the first scene and then works backwards to find her origin story. Unfortunately, however, the screenplay is amateurishly written, with the vacuous dialogues often serving as unintentional comedic gold. Sanjana’s obsession with punishing people who cheat is obviously rooted in her past, but the director pushes this aspect to its extremes, and ultimately this film becomes tiring to watch. Also, the ending is just a tired ruse to show that everyone has a dark side and nobody’s perfect—an apt example of sloppy writing.
Pritha Sengupta is severely hamstrung by the bad screenplay, but puts in a competent performance as Sanjana. Shaheb Bhattacharjee is okay as Siddharth, a writer with his own manipulative streak. The rest of the cast portray characters who are mostly Sanjana’s victims, so they have nothing much to do apart from showcasing their mean sides.
Music & Other Departments
Banerjee himself has shot and edited the entire film, and it seems he used a smartphone to shoot it, because of the irritating recurrence of wide-angle shots that keep hovering around the characters for no reason—a trait that reminds you of Ram Gopal Varma's recent films. The track “Ochena Shahor” by Iman Maitra is okay.
You can’t really recall any highlights in this film, but some of the dialogues are so cringeworthy that they become hilarious highlights in their own right. In one memorable instance, Sanjana asks one of her victims what he does for a living, to which he points to his girlfriend and replies, “I’m a lover-boy and I love her.”
It’s impossible to pick out one drawback from a film that has too many of them. If the storyline is not coherent enough, the idea of Sanjana wreaking havoc on her guests simply because she was wronged in her childhood is too problematic.
Did I enjoy it?
Do I recommend it?
No. Watch this only if you want to see a low-fi take on the serial killing genre.