Film Review: Bhoothnath Returns
By Sayantan Dalal
Film: Bhoothnath Returns
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani and Parth Bhalerao
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
What it's about:
On returning to Bhoothworld, Bhoothnath (Amitabh Bachchan) faces ridicule and becomes a laughing stock for his inability to scare a kid in the prequel. To stop his embarrassment, Bhoothnath returns to Earth to scare more children and prove his worth as a ghost. There he meets a slum kid Akhrot (Parth Bhalerao), who has the ability to see him. Soon, both set on a journey to tackle current social issues paralyzing the country, which will lead to Bhoothnath contesting elections against the corrupt leader, Jamez Porto (Boman Irani).
Bhoothnath Returns has been shot through with humour, heartbreak and a romantic's solution to the perfect social state. Bhoothnath Returns isn't funny enough, but if you are willing to be open-minded and embrace fantasy over logic, it's just right on the money.
The film delivers a potent fable that touches on meaty themes, from corruption to dealing with social injustices. It also delivers an especially resonant message about the importance of voting and not succumbing to ignorance and fear. Churning beneath the script is a core of genuine rage at the unawareness and laziness of Indians, who fail to vote and improve our country.
With an oddball premise the director has fun with a morally-and-time-warped story, sinks its teeth half-way into its potentially meaty material but hesitates to go all the way.
Even though director Nitesh Tiwari comes up with aces, mixing hilarity and horror like a pro, disappoints by letting go on the momentum. There are quite a few laughs to be had during Bhoothnath Returns's 2 hrs 35 minute runtime, but it drags till the point of no return. Especially, the last 30 mins quite possibly will bore you to death with Bachchan's never ending monologues. In the end I was left feeling like have watched a documentary issued on public interest for our ongoing elections, rather than a witty horror comedy.
Young talent, Parth Bhalerao simply wows you in his slum kid role, and makes his presence felt even with Bachchan around. The thrill comes in watching this rare gem give his movie wings!
Bachchan is again right on the money in a studiously controlled, steadfastly humorous performance, while adding distinctive vocal intonations of his own. He's a continual pleasure to watch.
Lastly, what can we say about the effortlessly talented Boman Irani, who is simply brilliant in whatever roles he portrays.
What to do:
The pleasures of Bhoothnath Returns are frustratingly hit-and-miss. In the end, it all collapses into a spectacularly gorgeous heap.
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