Star Cast: Katrina Kaif, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ishaan Khatter, Jackie Shroff, Sheeba Chadha, Manuj Sharma
Director: Gurmmeet Singh
What’s Good: Its comedy will lift your spirits proving how you could be stupid and funny at the same time
What’s Bad: The way it ends letting you leave with a sour aftertaste
Loo Break: Ample opportunities in the second half
Watch or Not?: If you’ve forgotten movies could make you laugh as well, give this a try (but don’t abuse me for not warning you about how it ends)
Available On: Theatrical release
Runtime: 136 Minutes
Continuing the ‘good for nothing’ universe of characters, we’ve Major (Siddhant Chaturvedi) & Galileo aka Gullu (Ishaan Khatter) who can seeeeee dead people. They crack a deal with the hot bhootni Ragini (Katrina Kaif) in order to earn a boatload of money in return for a favour which she’ll tell them at the ‘correct time’.
The Desi Ghostbusters trio continue to free some ghosts by helping them achieve their last wish. But, here’s where the story lands itself on a slippery slope introducing the ‘buri aatma’ Atmaram (Jackie Shroff), who manipulates & cheats the unsalvaged spirits. Forcing Ragini’s love angle amid all this mess makes this suffer from the ‘infamous second half syndrome’.
Phone Bhoot Movie Review: Script Analysis
Ravi Shankaran, along with his co-writer Jasvinder Singh Bath, started in 2009 with this subject & 13 years later it’s still something that hasn’t gone stale. Full marks for the persistence & some out-of-the-ordinary pop-culture references, the number for which when I counted (missed a few) was 25. Be it people resembling the viral ‘Dance With Coffin’ fellas or the groom killed by Munna in Mirzapur, nothing is crammed for the sake of pretending to be funny.
The writers have integrated the ad placements (Slice, Vicks, Vasmol) into the script & they work exactly like that creative sponsor message which you don’t skip while watching a video from your favourite YouTuber. This probably has the funniest first half, and interval point of any recent comedy film, but its latter portions which are equally filled with major loopholes. It’ll feel like the writers got so exhausted after keeping everything funny in the first half, they were left with hardly any decent material in the second.
The sets are amazingly built from Sid-Ishaan’s room screaming out how big of horror fans they are having an illusion door, a statue of their favourite ghost Raka, a skeleton phone & a lot more. K. U. Mohanan’s camerawork soothes the trip the makers take you on, especially in the first hour. The way how Ishaan’s Gullu breaks the fourth final to read out what’s about to happen reminds you of the Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota school of comedy.
Phone Bhoot Movie Review: Star Performance
Siddhant Chaturvedi & Ishaan Khatter are having the time of their life mouthing some hilarious one-liners delivering them with an uber-cool swag mashed up with Delhi’s ‘laundaness’. Siddhant gets to be the louder one & he never goes even a pitch higher to make his point. Another clever decision by the writers was to keep both these characters poles apart behaviourally letting them bring the best of both their worlds. Ishaan’s Gullu scaring away a ghost with the help of Rajinikanth’s antics & Siddhant’s Major dissecting what a Punjabi bhootni is saying is just one example of how even comedy for both of them has a differentiating factor.
Katrina Kaif’s origin story, if it was smartly written, would’ve impacted her presence a lot making her an integral part of the narrative. But, Ragini’s backstory is one of the major speed-breakers in the second half not letting her create a lasting impact.
There was such a Humongous scope if you’ve Jackie Shroff speaking in ‘tapori’ but unfortunately, the writers’ quirks exhaust when it comes to Atmaram. The whole time Bhidu was on screen, the hope of “now he’ll deliver a batsh*t crazy line” is alive only to get killed by the climax without getting fulfilled. Sheeba Chadha, and Manuj Sharma have their roles fleshed out in the gloomy second half & are briefly unfunny lending not-so-great support.
Phone Bhoot Movie Review: Direction, Music
Gurmmeet Singh was this close to directing the most flawless horror-comedy Bollywood has ever seen, all he needed was a bit of emotional connection coupled with a few good jumpscares. The skilled writing boasting the careless nature of its comedy suddenly turns into a forced fun competition.
The songs were pretty average as well. Surprised to see Baba Sehgal rocking the title theme of the film which goes extremely well with the nature of its narrative.
Phone Bhoot Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Phone Bhoot is howlarious with its comedy but it doesn’t have anything spooktacular to add when it comes to its secondary genre. A fun watch despite all the grievances.
Phone Bhoot Trailer
Phone Bhoot releases on 04 November, 2022.
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For more recommendations, read our Goodbye Movie Review here.