Margherita of actors
The lead actors Akshay Oberoi as Kunal Malkholani and Parvathy Omanakuttan choose to keep their characters simple and believable to the hilt. Akshay Oberoi, as a pizza delivery boy is vulnerability personified, right from the first frame and never does he hit a false note or over-emote (If you’ve watched Mimoh in Haunted you’ll know what I mean). Parvathy essays the role of a struggling writer of horror fiction, who believes in ‘samaa baandhna’ by watching horror films and someone who finds ghosts ‘cute’.
Thankfully, there isn’t a single ‘Yeh tumhaara vehem hai’ moment in the film, which is otherwise an integral ingredient in every Indian horror film recipe. Well, the film does have a Tantrik Baba (Omkardas Manikpuri), but instead of muttering mantras, our Tantrik Baba orders Pizza with jalapenos (He knows to keep the ‘j’ silent), olives and not to forget, thin crust.
Each nuance, right from baking pizza, the mantra playing on loop inside the owner’s cabin, ‘the haunted house’, and the caveat of ‘Bhaag DK Bose’ serving almost as a leitmotif by the end is indeed commendable, thanks to writer Karthik Subbaraj and Akshay Akkineni.
5 Pepper of supporting cast
Arunoday Singh and Dipannita Sharma are the ‘fear factors’ of ‘Pizza’. They ensure to scare the daylights out of the audience busy munching popcorns. The housekeeping team of multiplexes must be cursing them for making the popcorns fall so often. Rajesh Sharma, as always never fails to delight you with his performance.
He plays the owner of ‘Slice – Slice of Mumbai’ pizza joint having a tough time both in personal as well as professional life. On one hand there are goons threatening him and on the other his pregnant wife is said to have been possessed by a ghost. His two loyal employees (Ably played by D. Santosh and Hussain Dalal) make their presence felt in roles which would otherwise have been unnoticeable.
Garlic Bread of cinematography with Oregano of 3D
The camera work, chooses to keep things simple. So unlike those RGV angles, the story plays out without the camera being tilted to an unbelievable angle or isn’t placed at awkward places. The 3D gimmicks, like pointing sharp objects deliberately, too, are kept minimal, often rendering the 3D treatment redundant. The 3D doesn’t add anything to your movie-viewing experience, but it doesn’t harm it either.
Diet Coke of background score
The background score spares you of the ‘shockably’ irritating doorbells (Remember Bhoot?) or ill-maintained lift (There’s a lift here too but it doesn’t take you to the land of ghosts). The songs by Mikey McCleary, Saurabh Kalsi, and Shamir Tandon composed for mandatory ‘romantic montages’ aren’t something that can find pride of place in your playlist but are nonetheless bearable. Like everything in the film, the background score by Krishna Kumar, known as ‘K’ has been kept minimal, which ensures that it doesn’t disturb what transpires on the screen. Wish Amar Mohile and Sandeep Chowta are reading this.
Walnut Brownie of unpredictability + Vanilla of surprise of climax
The film’s climax is indeed a befitting dessert of this scarilicious package deal of chills and thrills. While nearing the last twenty minutes, I could hear many thrilled youngsters guessing at what the actual suspense might be. The ‘revelation’ moment outsmarted them all, leaving them wondering why couldn’t they see it coming. Now that’s the quality of a good ‘horror flick’ worth its salt (and pepper). Director Akshay Akkineni take a bow.
Delivery time: 120 minutes. Satisfaction guaranteed.