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a captivating premise: a seemingly ordinary family’s life is shattered when a stranger, Vanraj (R. Madhavan), infiltrates their home and exerts a dark influence over their teenage daughter.

The initial build-up is undeniably effective. We see a happy family, the Kashyaps, thrown into turmoil as their daughter, Anjali, becomes an unsettling puppet to Vanraj’s will. Jyothika delivers a strong performance as the distraught mother, while Madhavan sheds his good-natured persona to portray a chilling, unpredictable villain. The first half keeps you guessing about Vanraj’s motives and the extent of his power, creating a tense atmosphere.

However, Shaitaan stumbles in the second half. The script, unfortunately, fails to capitalize on the film’s intriguing setup. The exploration of black magic feels derivative, relying heavily on tired tropes of tantric rituals and exaggerated theatrics. The film’s climax, while intended to be a showdown between good and evil, falls flat, leaving viewers wanting more.

Despite the narrative shortcomings, Shaitaan benefits from some strong individual performances. Madhavan is particularly impressive, showcasing his versatility by embodying a character that is both menacing and strangely charismatic. Jyothika is the emotional anchor of the film, effectively conveying the desperation of a mother fighting for her child.

Overall, Shaitaan is a mixed bag. It boasts a chilling premise and delivers some decent performances, but ultimately suffers from a weak script and a predictable execution. If you’re looking for a genuinely scary horror experience, Shaitaan might leave you wanting. However, for fans of the performers and those curious about a Bollywood take on demonic possession, it might be a mildly entertaining watch, albeit one with a few forgettable scares.

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