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Movie Review: 'Bhoothnath Returns' is funny, corny, preachy

Watch 'Bhoothnath Returns' for Amitabh Bachchan and Parth Bhalerao
By Nikhil Kumar
Fri, Apr 11, 2014 14:52:55 GMT
 

Movie Review: 'Bhoothnath Returns' is funny, corny, preachy
The ApunKaChoice movie review of Bhoothnath Returns. The makers of Bhoothnath Returns have tried to kill many birds with a stone. First, they’ve tried to entertain the bachcha log with the antics of Bhoothnath and a slum kid. Second, they’ve piped in a social message about corruption, poverty, crime and sordid state of politics. They’ve peppered it further with tear-jerking melodrama, all woven around the most topical plot - that of elections. So a huge audience base, from droll ‘Bhootiyapanti’-loving kids, their newspaper perusing dads to TV soap opera loving moms, is covered.

In deft hands, this pot-pourri could have been the USP of Bhoothnath Returns. But writer Piyush Gupta and director Nitesh Tiwari make it all too corny, too soppy for our taste. That is not to say the film isn’t watchable.

Up in the Bhootlok, Bhoothnath (Amitabh Bachchan) is the butt of jokes. He has sullied the reputation of ghosts by not being able to scare kids on earth. So to clear his name and salvage some reputation among the bhoots, he returns to the earth to scare a few tykes. But lo! he chances upon one who can see him, and he’s not a hair bit scared.

This Dharavi kid named Akhrot (Parth Bhalerao) urges Bhoothnath to put his ghostly talents to a better use. His conscience shaken, Bhoothnath decides to contest elections against the corrupt gunda Bhau (Boman Irani) who is hand-in-glove with builder mafia. Now the question is: how will the invisible Bhoothnath beat Bhau at his own game?

Trailer: Amitabh Bachchan has a blast in ‘Bhoothnath Returns’

An interesting plot no doubt. The first half breezes by with a few chuckles and laughs, but it’s at the mid-point when we are treated to a montage of images and newsreels depicting poverty, corruption, and other social ills that the film begins to take itself a tad too seriously.

The second half can be termed ‘Bhoothnath’s adventures with Indian polity’. It’s only with droll amusement that one watches an invisible Bhoothnath giving election speeches, canvassing for votes, and even getting a character clearance certificate from police. But the priggish tone of some dialogues, coupled with unnecessary melodrama, cast a pall over Bhoothnath Returns.

Amitabh Bachchan and child actor Parth Bhalerao are two good reasons to watch this film. While Bachchan pumps in all the brio his 71-year-old indefatigable self can muster to make his Bhoothnath not just vivacious, lively and likeable, but also convincing, it’s Bhalerao who steals the scenes many a time with his crunchy oneliners. There’s no touch of reverence in Parth’s chemistry with one of the most revered actors of Hindi cinema. That makes the duo’s chemistry work like a ghost on Halloween night.

As the antagonist, Boman Irani is in full form. The supporting actors, particularly Sanjay Mishra as a haggard lawyer, and Brijendra Kala as Boman’s crony, chip in well.

Bhoothnath Returns could have done better without the songs, particularly a song in slums with foreign babes (watch it here). The movie also overstays its welcome with a running time of close to two-and-half hours.

Partly funny, partly corny and needlessly priggish and serious, Bhoothnath Returns is nonetheless a one-time watch.

Rating: **1/2

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