"A Scandall" is a skin-flick camouflaged as a horror-cum-murder mystery that fails to scandalise the audience.
The tale involves four friends; Koya (Reeth Mazumder), Vidhu (Johny B. Baweja), Prabal (Puru Chibber), Asmi (Vasundhara Kaul) from a film institute in Delhi. For their college project, they are looking out for a story.
Since the group cannot zero down on an exciting, concrete story for their assignment, Koya tells her friends the story of her 'Mausaji' (mother's sister's husband) Manav (Manav Kaul) who lives in Nainital.
Apparently after the death of his nine-year-old daughter Kuhu, who accidentally drowns in the lake, Manav has been suffering from bouts of "manic depression". During these moments, he hallucinates and talks to his dead daughter.
This paranormal subject excites the quartet. They travel to Nainital to explore the subject and capture the entire episode on camera. It is during their investigation that they unearth Manav's quirky behaviour, which includes his sadomasochistic traits.
Apart from interviews with family friends and Manav's psychiatrist, what fuels the plot are half-baked paranormal activities, doubts, fantasy and aggression of the four friends.
Fluctuating between live shooting and recorded footage, the treatment had potential to scale great heights, but fails to do so.
The characters are one-dimensional and poorly etched. And the casting too is not near perfect, especially that of Anshu, Koya's aunt and Manav's wife, who obviously seems a misfit. But the performances of every actor are fairly convincing.
Manav Kaul is a competent actor and he proves his versatility by slipping into his schizophrenic role with ease. It is funny to see him, shirtless with suspenders, bow-tie and a Zorro Mask indulging in cyber-sex with an equally quirky lady.
Possibly, with a shoe-string production budget, the camera work and production quality leave a lot to be desired and this low budget quickie fails to leave an impact.
Written and directed by Ishan Shrivedi, the film is amateurishly handled and although a mish-mash of genres it definitely tilts towards sleaze.