Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)
Star cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani, Parth Bhalerao
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
What’s Good: The noble intention, a terrific child artist and the quick laughs in the film’s first half.
What’s Bad: The perennial problem of a dwindling second half and the over the top climax.
Loo break: Few post interval.
Watch or Not?: If intentions defined good films, Bhoothnath Returns will score full marks. The film’s tempo escalates the interest of the audiences, but scrambles frame by frame in the second half, diluting the impact of its climax. The multiple fractures might seem deterring but Amitabh Bachchan and his young co-star Parth share an enticing camaraderie, delivering lines with a swagger that will allure you to hit the theatres for it alone. Though quite a watchable film, the lamentable bit is that it had massive potential to be smashing but fails due to the overbearing melodrama. As Big B says in a scene to a fellow ghost about bhoot world, “zyada expect mat kijiyega” fits valid for us.
Kailash Nath (Amitabh Bachchan) after his wonderful time with Banku leaves for the Bhoot world. Surprisingly by then he was already a popular person in the other world, quite infamous for his inability to scare off a young kid. The management helps him save face from the embarrassment and he is sent back to earth to clear off his name.
He bumps into Akhrot (Parth) a young boy who could see Bhoothnath and befriends him. A slum dweller in Dharavi, Bhoothnath is faced with the hard realities faced by zillions there because of the local politician’s corrupt ways. The disturbing situation and Akhrot’s insistence pushes him to contest the elections. Since the Indian constitution doesn’t mention anywhere that the contestant must be living, the election commission too admits his candidature.
But who will vote for a ghost? The film tells the story of Bhoothnath’s election journey and whether people even accept a leader they can’t see.
Bhoothnath Returns Review: Script Analysis
The film starts off from the conclusion of its first part, following the journey of Kailash Nath to Bhoot world. He has become a butt of jokes for being unable to scare off Banku. As the trailer had suggested he is sent back to earth to clear his name but the ‘technical fault’ of the Bhoot machinery results in a similar fate for Bhoothnath who befriends a street urchin named akhrot.
The Banku escapades six years ago was a delight but does the same work this time again. In parts. The story isn’t a simple good ghost story but it transformed into a political satire soon into its screentime. Written fluidly, infusing enough intelligence in the pre-interval, it turns into a convoluted concoction of sappyness and melodrama towards the climax. Probably a well thought and taut climax could have made the film more lucid.
It was impressive when an ordinary tale was tackled wittily to pass a social commentary on the rampant corruption in our country. Though realism is the last thing you expect in a supernatural comedy and we who have made a hero out of the wizard named Harry Potter should be the last people to complain about the lack of reality. The franchise’s second edition is more meaningful than just ‘entertainment, entertainment and entertainment’. The writing is surely fresh and must have used heavily the sharpness of its writers.
Though extremely feel-good, the film does have its own minus points. The film takes the simple route out and everything falls in place rather conveniently. Hiccups ironing out with such ease does seep in the implausible feeling in the story. For instance, a ghost contesting the election isn’t a regular fare and though there is no specific clause that states the contestant should be a living man, there surely is a clause which says that the contestant should be a voter. This potent dilemma ties up in no time and as blown over as you’ll be with how the problem finds a solution, something will seem superficial here for you.
The film is parlous endearing, compelling for its hilarious punches and witty one liners. Even the slackening pace is never a mood dampener. But only when the film hits melodrama and converts into an infomercial on voting rights, you’re left stranded in just another news advertisement on why should you vote. Outright classroom preachy, the film not only lectures you on your duty to vote but also allows logic to fly out of the window as the climax advances. With such substantial matter at hand, a lot more meaningful film could have been made. But the writers settle for mediocrity and allows their product to end in an overdramatic, stagy and hammy vein leaving the audiences somber.
Bhoothnath Returns Review: Star Performances
Amitabh Bachchan is a superstar in every possible way. His ability to handle the toughest of scenes with ease makes him the seasoned actor he is. He is bewitching for most part and though there are instances where you’ll find him sleepwalking through scenes, it doesn’t affect the film too gravely as he balances it all with his overpowering gravity and brilliant screen presence.
It will be a big statement to make if we say that Parth Bhalerao at many cues steals the show from Senior Bachchan. But the kid almost does. He is brilliant and whoever found the kid for this role should be praised for the pitch perfect casting. As Akhrot, he ‘overacts’ wonderfully and it works rightly.
Boman Irani’s interesting slimy is winsome. He is fascinating in his role and adds more shades to it than what existed. Probably giving him a little more screen space would have helped the drama because his anti-chemistry with Bachchan is imperishable.
Sanjay Mishra in his little role too is goodly and adds to making the dialogues and sequences at many places.
Bhoothnath Returns Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
The film is a pile on to the cases that suffer the curse of the dull post interval fate. Nitesh Tiwari is definitely way more talented than Vivek Sharma who played safe by allowing the story remain simple. Tiwari goes the bold way and attempts to add layers to an uninteresting story. Luckily, Tiwari understands the meaning of sequel which isn’t a cut, copy, paste version of the first part but a furthering of the plotline not only in terms of the lapse in time but also adding meat to the story.
But Tiwari hasn’t made a great film. Despite having an incredible story at hand and a flattering cast to back him, the film’s screenplay loses steam over time ending in a dull affair.
Bhoothnath Returns Review: The Last Word
Bhoothnath Returns is lightyears ahead of its first part. Told like a socio-political satire in the first half, it suffers when the humor runs out leaving behind an overdramatic climax. For the intelligent story and the umpteenth laughs of the first hour and mostly Parth & Big B’s impervious chemistry, the film deserves a watch. I am going with a 3/5. Could have been octaves ahead but doesn’t soar adequately.
Bhoothnath Returns Trailer
Bhoothnath Returns releases on 11th April, 2014.
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