Bhoothnath Returns

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Parth Bhalerao, Boman Irani, Sanjay Mishra

Direction: Nitesh Tiwari Genre: Drama Duration: 2 hours 35 minutes

STORY: Our good-hearted ghost with a dost is back. This time he’s all set for some social seva by contesting elections and befriending a street-smart slumboy.

REVIEW: ‘Knock Knock!’ ‘Who’s there?” ‘BOO!’ ‘Boo, who?’ Don’t wet your chads, kiddos. It’s just ‘Ghostbuster’ time with a 70-year old bhoot – mushy as marshmallow – gearing up to play ‘peek-a-BOO’ once again. After his last visit to earth (prequel), Bhoothnath (Bachchan) goes back to exotic Bhoothworld, where ghosts lavishly live it up. Though it’s run like a sarkari organization with departments like ‘Reincarnation Section’, ‘Bhooth Mail’, et al. Lol!. ‘BN’ is ridiculed by his gang-of-ghosts at his inability at scaring kids. While there’s a long wait for reincarnation (longer if you want to be reborn as Aamir’s dog. Bhoots love Bollywood too!), ‘BN’ gets one final chance to descend to earth for another kiddie scarefest. There he meets the zesty, tapori slumboy, Akhrot (Parth) who’s the only one who can see ghosts.

They form an inseparable team of ghostbusters – evicting haunting bhooths from buildings, and other earthly endeavours (like cleaning up garbage on the streets and inside the system). Soon they meet the conniving politician Bhau (Boman), and after some awakening ‘BN’ agrees to contest elections as the first ever bhooth candidate. He turns into a celebrity ghost, posing for media interviews, and teaming up with filmys.

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But will Bhoothnath’s ghostly powers be able to match up to the ghastly politics of humans? Tiwari’s sequel sets off with a lot of promise, entertainment, laughs and endearing camaraderie between a bhooth and a boy. The first-half has wittily written scenes – strung with satire and emotion, but the story slowly turns into a tedious vocational course on voting. The preaching distracts from some superb performances and inadvertently loses humour, but the story does have its heart in the right place.

‘BN’ makes a comeback at a perfect time – bang on with our Indian elections, and packs a powerful message, albeit with potholes in the plot. Bachchan is brilliant as the bhooth having a ball at his bhootiyapa, but his booming spiels are sometimes banal; it’s the one-liners that score. Boman is ‘predictably’ good but OTT in parts; and Mishra (lawyer) enthuses with an effortless act.

The leader of this party is unquestionably child artist Parth. His confidence, charm and energy are incredible. He has the best lines in the film, adding as much gusto (if not more) to this ghost-story.

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