Release date: January 21, 2011
For a subject this grim, Manish Gupta seems the right choice of director. He has shown us with his earlier equally unheralded film Stoneman Murders that he’s got a grip on the medium. That film about an unsolved serial murder case was arrestingly told. Gupta lives up to expectations in the first half of Hostel which is compelling and has a certain natural feel to it. But somewhere along the way it becomes unconvincing and gradually comes apart.
I wish too that Gupta (who also gets the writing credits for the film) had taken the trouble to show us a gradual transition of those three cowering, bumbling friends from victims to willing observers and facilitators of crimes as gruesome as rape! We needed to understand why, despite their repugnant behavior through so much of their time together, the upright Karan remains their friend. The writer-director also needed to establish a much stronger bond between Karan and the new, mis-treated fresher for Karan’s final decision to appear plausible.