|Directed by||Ram Gopal Varma|
|Produced by||Pravin Nischol|
|Written by||Milind Gadagkar|
|Edited by||Amit Parmar|
Phoonk (English:Puff) is a 2008 Indian horror film directed by Ram Gopal Varma and produced by Praveen Nischol starring Sudeep. The film based on superstition and black magic. It was declared a blockbuster at the box office by several media outlets.  Verma derived the idea for the film from a Hindi news channel which telecasts stories on Black magic. A prize of ₹5 lakh (US$7,000) was announced for those who will watch the film alone in a theatre. The storyline of Phoonk is thematically similar to Telugu thriller novel Tulasi Dalam by Yandamuri Veerendranath. It was remade in Telugu as Raksha. The film was dubbed in Tamil as Bommayi. The film was followed by a sequel, Phoonk 2, in 2010.
Phoonk is based upon the concept of black magic. Civil engineer and atheist Rajiv (Sudeep) lives in Mumbai with his wife Aarti (Amruta Khanvilkar) two kids, Raksha (Ahsaas Channa) and Rohan (Shrey Bawa), Rajiv's mother and the housemaid Laxmi(Anu Ansari). Rajiv's most trusted colleagues are Anshuman (Kenny Desai) and Madhu (Ashwini Kalsekar), whom everyone, including Rajiv's friend Vinay and Raksha feel are not normal. During a party at his house, when he comes to know that the husband and wife duo have cheated him on a valuable contract for an IT firm in Delhi, Rajiv fires both of them after insulting them both. Humiliated and angry at this, the two of them decide to take revenge on Rajiv. Madhu notes that Rajiv is very fond of Raksha.
Soon a series of strange events start to take place in and around Rajiv's house. Mandar (Bharat Kaul), who is appointed to take the place of Madhu and Anshuman is killed at the construction site mysteriously. Raksha starts to talk and behave weirdly, much to the shock of everyone. Doctors are called for, but the strange behavior continues, with Raksha flying in the air, talking in a manly voice, acting in pain. The superstitious and religious grandmother repeatedly says that someone is using Black Magic on Raksha, but Rajiv and the doctors refuse to believe any of it.
Now at the end of his wits, Rajiv begins to look to God. He also agrees to his construction laborers' demand of making a small shrine at the construction site, which he was previously adamantly turning down. Vinay suggests asking for the help of Manja,(Zakir Hussain), a magician familiar with this sort of stuff.
Manja analyzes the whole situation, sees Raksha, visits Rajiv's house, and tells the latter that someone is trying to take revenge on him, at which Vinay exclaims that it is none other than Madhu and Anshuman. Manja also tells them that Rajiv's driver has been helping the duo by providing them with necessary materials like Raksha's hair, soil from her foot and her toys to perform black magic.
Losing no more time, Rajiv, Vinay, Manja rush to Madhu's house, where she and Anshuman are found to be doing black magic rituals on a doll, supposedly an effigy of Raksha to trouble her. Rajiv orders Madhu to stop, but Madhu attacks him with a trishul. Vinay takes on Anshuman. The effect of Black magic forces seep on the entire place, pushing everyone away. As Madhu is going to attack Rajiv who is being pushed towards the wall, Manja uses his powers to separate the running ceiling fan, which lands on Madhu's head, decapitating her. All the negative forces stop, a spider comes out of one of the skulls on the floor and bites the driver who dies.
Everyone rushes to the hospital to find that Raksha has completely recovered. Rajiv and Vinay see that everyone thinks it is the doctors who have cured Raksha, and they smile at each other.
- Sudeep as Rajiv
- Amruta Khanvilkar as Aarti
- Ahsaas Channa as Raksha
- Kenny Desai as Anshuman
- Ashwini Kalsekar as Madhu
- Ganesh Yadav as Vinay Sonti
- Anu Ansari as Laxmi
- Shankar Sachdev as Shyam
- K K Raina as Dr. Pandey
- Lilette Dubey as Dr. Seema Walke
- Zakir Hussain as Murtaza Kapasi
- Bharat Kaul as Mandar
- Geetanjali as Teacher
- Kishore Kadam as Devappa
- Jyoti Subhash as Amma
- Shrey Bawa as Rohan
- Dhiraj Regmi as Mani
Reviews and reception
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Ram Gopal Varma's Phoonk turned out to be a surprise hit at the box office. The movie opened up after an effective publicity campaign. It was a very low-budget film, which combined with its success at the box office, turned a good profit for its investors. It was very popular, especially among the youth, for the creator's Rs 5 Lakh challenge.
Critically, the movie received mixed reviews. Taran Adarsh gave it 4 out of 5 and said, "PHOONK is a fascinating cinematic experience on a subject that’s rarely tackled by the dream merchants in Bollywood: Black magic." AOL India reviewer Noyon Jyoti Parasara gave a negative review of the film saying, "Overall Phoonk scores low on the scare-o-meter."
A sequel, Phoonk 2, released on 16 April 2010, to mixed reviews and a lacklustre commercial reception, thus unable to repeat the success of the prequel.
Awards and nominations
- (Jury's Choice) – Hottest New Film – Nominated 
- (Jury's Choice) – Exciting New Face – Nominated – Amruta Khanvilkar 
- Screen Award for Best Villain – Nominated – Ashwini Kalsekar 
- Screen Award for Best Background Music – Nominated – Bapi-Tutul 
- Box Office: Phoonk in success wave – | The Economic Times. Economictimes.indiatimes.com (25 August 2008). Retrieved on 2017-05-09.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 August 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- "Idea of 'Phoonk' derived from Hindi news channel : Varma". The Economic Times. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- Phoonk reviewed at AOL India
- "Stardust Nominations". bollyspice.com. 25 January 2009.
- "Nominations for 15th Annual Star Screen Awards 2008". naachgaana.com. 6 January 2009.