Movie Review: Bhoothnath Returns
Is Bhoothnath Returns worth the popcorn? City 1016's Lokesh Dharmani gives his verdict
Star cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Parth Bhalero, Boman Irani
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Rating: 3 stars
How do you like a film like Bhoothnath Returns when it’s so difficult to believe in the title of the film, the fact that ghosts exist or even worse that they can contest elections? Of late I have believed in far more astonishing things, like Harman Baweja can STILL act or Ragini MMS 2 did better business than Queen. So it wasn’t so tough for me. I enjoyed the film. At least the first half. The second half of Bhoothnath Returns, like most Hindi films loses track and indulges so extravagantly that I had grown a three day bushy beard by the end of it. Phew.
Bhoothnath (Amitabh-someone-please-give-me-a-better-coat-Bachchan) is your desi-donning-designer-glasses version of friendly ghost Casper who meets and helps the Dharavi-dwelling street urchin Akhrot played adorably by Parth-aww-I-look-cuter-with-my-broken-tooth-Bhalerao. What starts off as a kid ghost film turns into a political satire and ends with doses of preachy speeches on how everyone must vote, let’s bring about a change, elections must be marketed well, let’s clean the city, educate kids, fill up the potholes, mera bharat mahan, blah blah blah, yawn yawn yawn!
The first half of the film is lovely and abounds with many interesting moments. Be it the subtle lesson of ‘fear of good’ or the irony of uneducated people running the country, it makes you smile uncomfortably at the rather piteous situation that India's facing. The film cleverly avoids clichés. In one scene, an old lady is asked if she would vote for a ghost if he gets her basic amenities like water and cleanliness. You expect her to say "What human beings fail to do cannot be achieved by ghosts?" which she eventually says after packing in a punch in sheer desperation – “I will even vote for a dog if promised water at least once in a day.”
Amitabh Bachchan despite being a great actor sometimes copies himself. I can almost see a KBC anchor in most of his films. And I almost heard him say through his lines, "Aapke paas chaar options hain, computer ji lock kiya jaye." Plus, I couldn’t help but smile at the cheeky line when Akhrot calls him an over-actor as Bhoothnath tries to scare a bunch of kids.
A quick Google search on Parth Bhalerao educated me about his Marathi film, Khalti Doka Varti Paay. He is simply adorable in the movie. Boman Irani plays a scar-lipped politician. He is so good that even his politician posters emote far better than most of the new age actors. Don’t miss the opening scene after the interval where the news of a ghost standing against him in elections is broken to him. He is brilliant in that bit. So you better scoop up your popcorn and nachos and be back in time.
Sanjay Mishra as a lawyer is both endearing and impactful. A good review should always use heavy duty words like cinematography and art direction. Wasiq Khan throws in an old torn couch and a few brown barrels and creates appealing production designs where partners-in-crime Bhoothnath and Akhrot have their heart-to-hearts. The railway tracks, the garages, the back alleys and an abandoned ship are all well captured in the lens of Kamaljeet Negi.
Piyush Gupta and Shreyas Jain have written some intelligent scenes that effectively bring out the importance of voting. Every scene standalone is brilliant but when all put together it just painfully adds to the length of the film and makes it unbearably preachy and long.
Director Nitesh Tiwari makes a fair attempt at a fun political satire. Alas, he loses his grip towards the end of the film. The timing of this political drama just before the Lok Sabha elections in India is impeccable. Go watch it if you haven’t got your voter ID card.
INFO: BHOOTHNATH RETURNS IS PLAYING AT CINEMAS INCLUDING GRAND CINEMAS IN DUBAI (WAFI, FESTIVAL CITY, IBN BATTUTA MALL AND AL GHURAIR CENTRE), ABU DHABI (ABU DHABI MALL), SHARJAH (MEGAMALL AND SAHARA CENTRE), AL AIN (ROTANA) AND RAS AL KHAIMAH (MANAR MALL) www.grandcinemas.com; VOX CINEMAS IN DUBAI (MIRDIF CITY CENTRE, DEIRA CITY CENTRE, AJMAN (AJMAN CITY CENTRE), FUJAIRAH (FUJAIRAH CITY CENTRE) AND RAS AL KHAIMAH (AL HAMRA MALL), www.voxcinemas.com