When Ayush (Karan Kundra) arrives in England to learn music, he is shocked and scared when the manor he is living in becomes haunted by spirits. To exorcise them, he seeks the help of Rose (Zareen Khan), a woman who can see and speak with them.
What different could Vikram Bhatt do in the fourth instalment of his period horror franchise, you wonder? Well, he has a female exorcist this time, but her talents are suspect. Why? Because in one scene, when Rose says that she can see spirits ever since she was a kid and can talk to them and even helps them, you want to believe her. But the fact that she nearly jumps out of her skin whenever she sees even a little shadow of the ghosts makes you suspect her abilities as an exorcist. But you play along because her neighbouring manor, where a strapping young pianist from India strums the piano like a pro is in danger. The Wadia manor where he is living is haunted by ghosts who run around giggling like little girls, strum a wicked piano tune themselves and are attacking him by turning his body all cracked-up and black. When Rose looks around the house, with all her years of experience of 'helping' the ghouls achieve moksha, she comes to the conclusion that there is a very malevolent presence in the house and needs to be investigated and dealt with pronto. How the two manage to achieve this is what makes up the film.
The problem with '1921' is, that Vikram Bhatt has added too much of a story to it. While the ghosts he has created do manage to scare you, they pop-up like such overzealousness and dedication so often, that after the interval, you are almost numb to their presence. You actually become better at sensing their presence than Rose herself and can say exactly when they will jump in and scare the poor, pretty lady. The production is impressive and the mood that Bhatt creates, with dim candle lights, is actually effective, but the film quickly develops a formula and your attention wavers. While Bhatt has managed to piece together the disjointed ends of his extremely laborious story, and there is a climax that one did not expect, it already too late. With the number of songs in the film, which all sound the same, '1921' is more of a horror-musical. Even if you are weak-hearted, this one will not scare you for too long.