Ghosts in Bollywood have graduated beyond scaring you. The haunting ghouls of yore have metamorphosed into friendly apparitions with a throbbing heart in their bodiless souls. We saw it in Paheli and Bhoothnath.
Now, Arshad Warsi takes a plunge into film production and screenplay writing with Hum Tum Aur Ghost which is about a harried man who can see ghosts and, after much pestering, decides to help them fulfil their last wish so they can peacefully fizzle off to the world of the dead.
The film, intended as a fun caper rather than a spookfest, works only in parts because for most of its running time it fails to rise above usual clichés of any film of this genre and isn’t as funny as it tries to be. Arshad Warsi plays Armaan, a fashion photographer in London. He is gifted or cursed with (depends on how you see it) the unique ability to hear, see and communicate with ghosts. But they aren’t ghosts with protruding canines, gnarled faces, blood-shot eyes and dreadlocked hair. Rather, they are amiable souls persistently pestering Armaan for favours.
Stalked by these neither-living-nor-fully-dead entities, Armaan spends his nights not in his swanky penthouse but out on a bench at the railway station. People close to him think he’s going nuts. His girlfriend Gehna (Dia Mirza) too isn’t comfortable with her beau’s strange behaviour and thinks he’s having an affair with some other girl. So between hitting the bottle, clicking the camera and sleeping nights out revolve Armaan’s life. But then, he decides to help two ghosts (Boman Irani and Zehra Naqvi) in their unfinished tasks.
The problem with ‘Hum Tum Aur Ghost’ is that it’s neither riotously funny nor emotively moving. The portions when Boman Irani as the ghost of Mr. Kapoor follows Armaan everywhere, pesters him, and even leaps into his body and gets hanky-panky with other men doesn’t really leave you rolling over in guffaws. Nor does the melodramatic track about Boman’s wife being abandoned into an old-age home pluck your heartstrings.
Most of all, in the time when Bollywood filmmakers are experimenting with cinematic form and storytelling art (last week’s release Love Sex Aur Dhokha being a good example), director Kabeer Kaushik sticks to the tried and tested. There are pointless songs (Shankar Ehsaan Loy) between the hero and heroine and there’s fluffy sentimentality stretched too long.
Thankfully, Arshad Warsi, despite the dearth of punchy oneliners he’s capable of mouthing to a rollicking effect, holds your interest throughout the film even though Boman Irani is cast in a role that’s poorly written. Dia Mirza is vanilla to the eyes and plays her part well. Zehra Naqvi, playing a female ghost searching for her son, is okay.
It’s the writers, Arshad Warsi and two others, who have failed to come up with an engaging screenplay to be made into a riveting film. In that ‘Hum Tum Aur Ghost’ is pretty much a missed chance though it packs in sporadic laughs.