Star cast: Sudeep, Amruta Khanvilkar, Ashwini Kalsekar, baby Ahsaas Channa, master Rishabh Jain, Neeru Bajwa, Amit Sadh.

Plot: Sudeep and his family come to spend some days at a beachside bungalow and things go terribly wrong. The spirit of an ex-employee (Ashwini) of Rajiv enters the body of his wife, Amruta. After killing several people close to Rajiv, the spirit now wants to murder his daughter, Ahsaas.

What’s Good: Performances of Amruta Khanvilkar and baby Ahsaas Channa.

What’s Bad: The script and the tame horror scenes.

Verdict: Unlike Phoonk, of which Phoonk 2 is a sequel, this won’t thrill or chill. Its poor collections will definitely send chills down the spines of those associated with the film.

Loo break: None! Why? Because no scene is scary enough to make anyone run to the loo for a pee.

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Sarthak Movies and Zed 3 Pictures’ Phoonk 2 (A) is the sequel to Phoonk. Rajiv (Sudeep), wife Aarti (Amruta Khanvilkar) and their two children, Raksha (baby Ahsaas Channa) and Rohan (master Rishabh Jain), come to spend some days at a beachside bungalow. Strange things start happening in and around the bungalow, more so after Raksha picks up a doll from the jungle behind their house, and keeps it in her room. The doll is supposed to be possessed and has some connection to the spirit of Madhu (Ashwini Kalsekar) whom Rajiv had dismissed from work alongwith her husband (in Phoonk) because they were dishonest. Rajiv had then got Madhu killed (in Phoonk) at the hands of tantrik Manja (Zakir Hussain) when she had done black magic on his family.

After scaring the daylights out of Rohan, the doll is thrown out at the instance of Rajiv, much to the disappointment of Raksha who had taken an instant liking to it. Suddenly one day, Aarti begins to behave strangely and talks to her husband in the voice of the dead Madhu. Rajiv realises that Madhu’s spirit has taken control of Aarti’s body and is out to seek revenge. It threatens to kill all his near and dear ones. Among those who actually die, one by one, in strange circumstances are gardener Balu (Vikas Srivastav), maid Lakshmi (Anu Ansari), tantrik Manja, Arushi (Rajiv’s sister played by Neeru Bajwa), and Rajiv’s best friend, Vinay (Ganesh Yadav). Vinay is killed when he sets out to fetch Madhu’s husband as instructed by a new exorcist/tantrik (Jeeva). The exorcist himself is later killed by Madhu’s spirit.

Madhu’s ghost is now after Raksha whom Rajiv must save. Since Madhu’s spirit is in Aarti’s body, it appears that Aarti is out to kill her own daughter, Raksha. Does Rajiv succeed in saving Raksha? What happens to Aarti? These questions are answered in the climax.

Milind Gadagkar’s story and screenplay are far from interesting or even scary. He takes too long to come to the point by which time the fear factor has died down. Even otherwise, the build-up of scenes hardly matches the culmination. Like the script, the camera (cinematographer Charles Meher) also moves so slowly that it actually tests the audience’s patience.

Another drawback of the screenplay is that it often leaves the scenes incomplete, without taking them to their logical conclusion. There are also some repetitive scenes and dia- logues, adding to the audience’s boredom. Because the screenplay is so sketchy, doors get locked and open at the whims and fancies of the writer. Continuity is hardly taken care of as the drama is allowed to take any course anytime. The characters simply announce what they intend to do and lo! and behold, the film changes direction in a jiffy! All these defects rob the film of the limited chills it has on offer. Also, the long-drawn climax moves on various tracks (Arushi gets locked out of her bedroom while husband Ronnie and nephew Rohan get locked in; Raksha is followed by Madhu’s spirit; Rajiv is also attacked by Madhu’s spirit; Arushi’s dead body is found in the swimming pool) and, worse still, justice is done to neither of them. Why none or all of the persons being attacked by Madhu’s spirit in the climax don’t run for their lives outside the bungalow boundaries is not known. All in all, the screenplay is far from cohesive and hardly affords any thrills or chills.

Sudeep does an average job. What a limited actor he is is amply evident in the single expression (of covering his open mouth with his palms) he has whenever he sees a relative/friend/acquaintance murdered. Amruta Khanvilkar does justice to her role and is very natural. Ashwini Kalsekar gets very limited scope. It’s a mystery why the cameraman hasn’t even shot her properly – the camera hardly stays on her face or body! Baby Ahsaas Channa does a marvellous job and deserves kudos for it. Master Rishabh Jain is cute and acts ably. Neeru Bajwa looks glamorous and performs quite well. As her husband (Ronnie), Amit Sadh is okay. Anu Ansari passes muster. Ganesh Yadav, Zakir Hussain, Vikas Srivastav, Jeeva and the rest lend fair support.

Milind Gadagkar’s direction, like his script, leaves a lot to be desired. The debut-making director has failed to make a horror film which would send shivers down the spine of the viewer. Dharam-Sandeep’s background music is functional. There is only one song in the film and that is just about okay. Action scenes (Parvez Khan) are alright. Camerawork is ordinary. Editing (Veenu Choliparambil and Radhey Lalsa) is not upto the mark.

On the whole, Phoonk 2 is far from being a worthy sequel or successor to Phoonk. It will fail to recover its investment in spite of being a low-budget film.

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