Aval (2017 film)
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|Directed by||Milind Rau|
|Edited by||Lawrence Kishore|
Aval (English: Her) (The House Next Door in Hindi and Gruham (English: Home) in Telugu) is a 2017 Indian Tamil language horror film co-written and directed by Milind Rau. The film stars Siddharth and Andrea Jeremiah in lead roles, with Siddharth also working on the film as a co-producer and a co-writer. Shot simultaneously in the three languages as The House Next Door in Hindi, Gruham in Telugu and Aval in Tamil. the film was released on 3 November 2017 to mostly positive reviews in all languages.
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The film opens in 1935, showing a Mandarin Chinese mother and daughter playing near a well on their estate in the Himalayas. They seem to spend happy moments with each other with the mother being pregnant. The movie then moves to the Himalayas in 2016 where a happy couple, Krishnakanth aka Krish (Siddharth) and Lakshmi (Andrea Jeremiah) make love, recalling memories of the times they met and how their love blossomed. They then notice that a new family is moving into the next house. Krish is a neurosurgeon who specializes in deep brain stimulation to cure Parkinson's disease. He is close to another doctor, Dr. Prasad, who is a psychiatrist.
The two families get along well, with Jennifer aka Jenny, who is the eldest daughter having a crush on Krish. Everything goes well when suddenly during a dinner party, Krish sees Jenny jumping into the nearby well. Informing the family, he jumps into the well and saves her, although he comes face-to-face with a ghost in the well. Lakshmi who is angry at Krish for impulsively jumping into the deep well, quarrels with him that night before Krish forcefully kisses her, declaring that he wants her, and the pair have sex. That night, Jenny has seizures and once again, Krish helps her in time. During another dinner at Krish's house, Jenny panics after seeing a strange figure and her parents forcefully take her home, and the people in the house start noticing strange things. The next morning, Jenny, once again not being self-aware, goes towards a cliff to jump. Sarah, who follows her, slips towards another cliff, but is saved by Krish.
When Paul goes towards Jenny to stop her, she herself returns home without saying anything, while still in a trance, and passes out in the house. Her father then takes her to the psychiatrist on Krish's recommendation and she reveals two specific things that she thought was abnormal: a voice speaking to her in Chinese and another terrifying incident in the toilet. The psychiatrist feels that something is wrong and visits Jenny's room one day with the permission of her father who takes her out. He tries to decipher her mental state by reading the condition of her room, while also finding recent internet searches about ghosts in her tablet, and a book about exorcisms lying in her drawer. Upon seeing this, he concludes that Jenny must've made up an image in her mind that she's possessed by a spirit. So, he, Krish, and Paul plan to administer a fake exorcism with the help of a church pastor, Father Joshua in order to bind the spirit. All hell breaks loose in doing so, revealing that she is really possessed by a powerful spirit of the Chinese mother, resulting in Father Joshua getting injured and admitted to the hospital in a comatose state.
Jenny returns to a normal state, but to confirm what is going on, her grandfather calls on a psychic, although Paul dismisses him. One night, the servant in the house prepares a voodoo doll to chase the bad spirit, but is scolded by Paul not to do occult in house. The same night, she is attacked by a ghost in the same way as the voodoo doll, while being wrapped by her own shawl, impaled on the head by a nail. The next morning, when Paul looks around her room, he finds the voodoo doll under the bed and what appears to be fingernail marks below the bed frame, with the body of the servant being missing. Evidently spooked, he tells his father to call the psychic. Using his power, the psychic talks to the spirit, who signals to him that there are not two, but three spirits in the house, with the third one being revealed to actually be a malevolent force which would not let them leave the house while the first two are benevolent spirits.
Lakshmi announces that she is pregnant, but within a few days, she falls off a ladder after seeing a scary figure on the water tank, who was actually attempting to cause her a miscarriage, although her child survives. Krish gets suspended after seeing the ghost of the child while while in the operation theater causing a hemorrhage to the patient being operated. Dr. Prasad, with the help of a local police inspector, starts researching about a family that used to live in Paul's house, finding out that there was an eye witness who knew what happened to the family. Simultaneously, the psychic, using the comb which belonged to the Chinese daughter, begins to place the pieces of the mystery. When Dr. Prasad and Krish go to see the witness in a village, she tells a flashback when she was eight years old. It is revealed that the house belonged to a rich Chinese silk merchant who lived with his wife and daughter. He wished that his pregnant wife should bear a male child. As he was a devil worshiper, he had to sacrifice a female child during the time of the solar eclipse to get a male child.
To achieve this purpose, he kidnapped the then eight-year-old witness when she was collecting flowers in the garden nearby as usual. The young girl was saved in time by his wife, which left him with no option but to sacrifice his own daughter. When his wife resisted, he knocked her unconscious. Luring his daughter, whom he blindfolded under the ruse of a game, he beheaded her using a sacrificial sword. His wife, regaining her consciousness, couldn't bear the sight of her dead daughter on the floor. Cursing her husband, she took a knife and pierced herself in the abdomen, killing herself and the unborn child, telling him that a male child born through the sacrifice of a female child should not exist. The husband, realizing his loss, takes his own life by jumping and drowning in the nearby well.
Returning to the present, Paul orders his family to pack up and leave the house. Recovering in the hospital, Lakshmi is being chased in the hospital by the two spirits only for them to guide her to Father Joshua’s room. Being the day of the solar eclipse, the old woman speculates that the Chinese merchant would return to complete his ritual. Lakshmi calls Krish and tells him that she is discharged and is headed to see Jenny. Krish too comes back from the village at the request of Lakshmi to stay with Jenny. Lakshmi then tricks Krish and locks him in Jenny's room in order to impede him until the eclipse ends. She then reveals what Father Joshua had seen on the day of exorcism. Though Jenny was set free, some other force tried to stop the prayers of Father Joshua in the room; the force was none other than the Chinese man, who had possessed Krish. When Krish had jumped into the well the other night to save Jenny, the Chinese merchant’s spirit possessed him, and then made love to Lakshmi in order to conceive his male child. Incidentally, Dr. Prasad is revealed to have been killed outside the grounds, as he had discovered that Krish and the Chinese man, Lu Wei, share the same date of birth and believed them to be the same person, prompting Krish to kill him.
It was from Krish that the spirits of the Chinese mother and the Chinese daughter were trying to protect the family by frightening them to leave the house. As the eclipse begins, the spirit of the Chinese merchant takes full control of Krish and he begins searching for his target, which is revealed to be Sarah, to sacrifice and complete the ritual. Though he lures her and tries to kill her, the family members and the spirits of the Chinese mother and the Chinese daughter fight with Krish by trying to distract him, until the eclipse ends and they finally succeed in removing the spirit from his body.
Four years later, Krish and Lakshmi are shown to be settled in Goa, India. Jenny, along with Paul, decide to pay the couple, as well as their son, a visit before going to New York. As Krish calls for his son Rishi, the film ends with the camera panning towards the boy seated in a room, along with flashbacks of Lu Wei seducing Lakshmi while in Krish's body, slowly revealing Rishi's face and focusing on the iris of his eye, which splits into double iris, indicating that Lu Wei has succeeded in gaining a son and may even be possessing him.
- Siddharth as Dr. Krishnakanth "Krish"
- Andrea Jeremiah as Lakshmi
- Anisha Angelina Victor as Jennifer "Jenny"
- Atul Kulkarni as Paul
- Suresh as Dr. Prasad
- Avinash Raghudevan as Psychic
- Prakash Belawadi as Father Joshua
- Bhawana Aneja as Lizzy
- Deeraj Vaidy as Krish's Friend
The film was officially announced by Siddharth in June 2016, who revealed that he would work on a horror film alongside actress Andrea Jeremiah to be directed by Milind Rau, who had earlier made the unreleased Kadhal 2 Kalyanam. The title of the film was said to be The House Next Door, and the film was subsequently shot simultaneously in three languages. The principal photography of the film commenced in August 2016.
In October 2017, Andrea Jeremiah revealed that the shoot of the film was over.
|Aval (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
|1.||"Kaarigai Kanne"||Muthamil||Vijay Prakash, Shakthisree Gopalan||5:20|
|2.||"Yaarada"||Andrea Jeremiah, Mark Thomas||4:25|
|3.||"Xiao Xiao Ma"||Chen-Yu Maglin, Poorna M||2:25|
The soundtrack of the film has been received very well.
- Siddharth. "Viacom18 & Etaki Entertainment jointly produce 'The House next door' (working title). Dir - Milind Rau. Shoot starts August. Trilingual". Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- name="Andrea and Sid to team up for a trilingual film">"Andrea and Sid to team up for a trilingual film". The Times of India. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- "Aval movie review: The Siddharth and Andrea Jeremiah starrer will test your immunity to horror films". 3 November 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- "Andrea and Sid to team up for a trilingual film". The Times of India. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- "Andrea Jeremiah Finishes The House Next Door Shoot; Talks about Taramani, and its Portrayal of Relationships". 21 October 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2017.