Phobia is a 2016 Indian psychological thriller film, directed by Pavan Kirpalani and produced by Viki Rajani. The film stars Radhika Apte in the leading role as Mehak, an artist suffering from severe agoraphobia. Produced jointly by Eros International and Next Gen Films, it was released on 27 May 2016.
Development began in 2015, when Rajani signed Radhika Apte for a film to be made under his banner. Rajani worked on the script, with principal photography taking place in Mumbai. The film features music by Daniel B George. The film features only one song. The lyrics for song ‘Roke na ruke’ were written by Jay Shankar Prasad and sung by Sakina Khan and Sidharth Basrur.
Phobia was released on 27 May 2016 to positive response, with praise centered on Radhika Apte’s performance. Apart from her performance, the film’s other production elements and picturisation, background score and special effect works were also praised by the critics and audience.
Mehak Deo (Radhika Apte) is a highly talented artist. An unfortunate traumatic event – being molested by a taxi driver, causes her to develop extreme Agoraphobia, a condition in which the individual is paranoid about being in public places and dislikes socializing with large groups of unknown people. Mehak’s sister Anusha (Nivedita Bhattacharya), initially supportive, becomes exhausted with her eccentric behavior, especially when it starts impacting her own 5-year-old son.
Shaan (Satyadeep Mishra), a close friend, takes Mehak to an empty apartment, on the assumption that living alone for a while might benefit her. At the new apartment, Mehak befriends Nikki (Yashaswini Dayama), a college-going girl who lives in the neighbourhood. Her other neighbour Manu (Ankur Vikal) is working on anger management issues and is part of a community laughter club.
Manu is devastated because his girlfriend, Jiah Khurana (Amrita Bagchi), has left him. Jiah had earlier lived in Mehak’s new apartment and suddenly disappeared without a trace; without paying rent and without claiming her advance deposit back. A diary belonging to Jiah catches Mehek’s imagination and it is only a matter of time before she is convinced that a malevolent spirit is sharing her space. Soon Mehak begins making strong accusations against Manu, relating to Jiah’s sudden departure and a series of strange events that occur around the apartment.
It is revealed that the visions Mehak experienced were actually of her own future, rather than that of Jiah. This is due to the fact that Jiah returns to the apartment suddenly, disproving the theory that she was murdered by Manu, something of which Mehak was convinced. Mehak realizes that she is capable of having glimpses of her future, as is indicated by one vision of her seeing ‘smoke’ coming out of a taxi – which is actually the pepper spray that she uses on the taxi driver. In the climactic scene, Mehaks vision once again coincides with reality, as a painting she created showing hands reaching out to her, mirrors the situation in which she is injured and goes out in the open for help, overcoming her condition.
Radhika Apte as Mehak Deo, a young, gifted artist suffering from agoraphobia.
Satyadeep Mishra as Shaan, Mehak’s friend
Ankur Vikal as Mannu Malhotra
Yashaswini Dayama as Nikki
Nivedita Bhattacharya as Anusha Deo, Mehak’s sister.
Amrita Bagchi as Jiah, Mannu’s girlfriend who suddenly disappears.
Faezeh Jalali as Psychiatrist
Salone Mehta as Gul aunty
Arush Nand as Joey
Dinyar Tirandaz as Hormos
Amit Kumar Pandey as cab-driver
Malhar Goenka as debt collector