It’s a basic rule of script writing that if you’re going to base your story on a fancy idea like pre-cognition, you have to keep it coherent through every moment of the tale.
Done well, such concepts can make for superb edge-of-the-seat thrillers. But it can often be next to impossible to stick to such ideas and make sure there are no loose ends left behind.
And so you have Mojo, which tells the tale of a photo-journalist Mohan (Manu UB), whose ‘sixth sense’ has suddenly grown hyperactive, giving him visions of the future that lead him down a rabbit hole of murder and mystery. Troubled by his visions and the odd things happening around him, he goes to a series of psychiatrists, including a former classmate called Maya (Anoosha Bhat). As she tries to help him figure out what’s going on, the plot thickens.
The idea of pre-cognition might be exciting enough to pique interest, and it’s always a welcome sight to see Kannada films try new ideas. However, director and writer Sreesha Belakvaadi doesn’t really lay down any rules for when, where and how the visions arise. So when Mohan and Maya talk about how he’s struggling to figure out what’s real and what’s not, you’re left wondering if that’s the case for the script too.
Many of the scenes in the meandering, confused story actually seem like they’ve been lifted from a bunch of other horror films and thrillers that the director liked, without worrying too much about why they appear in the script. That the film constantly switches between old-school spirituality and questionable versions of psychiatry to talk about why any of this is happening, just adds to the bizarreness of the film.
The film tries to compensate for all this visually, but falters here too, with some predictable techniques like extreme close-ups, shaky camera style and turning scenes into negatives.
The few songs that appear in the film provide a welcome break with their simple and soothing arrangements, though they do seem out of place with the rest of the film.
The newcomer actors Manu and Anoosha are earnest, but exaggerated in crucial moments. Manu, in particular, overplays the dramatic scenes of the thriller, and unintentionally takes some of the tension away from such moments.
Mojo is still a change from the run-of-the-mill masala films that hit the screens every week. But it’s a long way off from the exciting thriller that it promises to be.