Bhoothnath Returns Review

Rating: 2.5/5

Critic Rating: (2.5/5)

A conscientious ghost decides to contest elections opposite a criminal candidate and seeks mandate from the gullible public while emphasising on how a worthy candidate shouldn’t be judged by the nature of his existence but by his scruples and merit.

Its main attraction then and now — Amitabh Bachchan reprises his role with humour, wisdom, charisma and a charming approachability. He seems to exclusively radiate around his knee-length co-stars.

In reciprocation, young Parth Bhalerao’s scene-stealing Akhrot matches Big B’s seasoned heft in good measure.

Playing the precocious Dharavi-dwelling kid who begins every sentence with ‘apun’ and empathises with his single working mom’s (Usha Jadhav’s) struggle is known to produce painfully maudlin moments on celluloid but Bhalerao’s judicious energy, instinctive smarts and melting smile steer clear of tired stereotypes.

A fun bond strikes between him and Bhoothnath immediately after the latter returns to earth to wipe out his ‘can’t scare kids’ reputation in Bhoothland, which looks straight out of a European fairy tale on the outside but a typical government headquarters with a couple of witty touches inside –- signboard requesting to maintain ‘dead’ silence.

Superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Ranbir Kapoor have cameos in the film which bring life to it for a while. However,the drab and boring premise seems to be inevitable . So Boredom,thereby,continues post the exit of the superstars.

Bhoothnath Returns is a film which is full of loopholes, yet the brilliant performances by Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani and child artist Parth Bhalerao makes it a watchable film.

Basic idea of Bhoothnath seems to have lost somewhere in the second part. Except for the first 45 minutes, Bhoothnath Returns is a serious film which has a very serious political theme.

While the theme is well-timed, and coincides with the Indian elections, the lack of a tighter edit and logic reduces it to a ghastly mess.

The film challenges the mediocrity in the first half but doesn’t sustain till the end. The movie starts as a fun ride with both Big B and the child actor but after a point becomes preachy lectures on social issues albeit a few rib-tickling and moist-eyed moments.

At 160-minutes of screen time, it stops being a fun, endearing story and turns into a classroom lecture on voting rights.

If Nitesh had blanked out Bhoothnath, and retained his baritone voice instead, at least for majority of the movie, it would’ve been more effective.

So, what could have been a good movie, turned into something hugely disappointing!

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