• Release Date: 20/05/2022
  • Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Tabu, Kiara Advani, Rajpal Yadav, Sanjay Mishra, Milind Gunaji, Rajesh Sharma 
  • Director: Anees Bazmi

Every time I walk into a cinema, the least I expect is to be entertained, respected, and given something to connect with. While it is becoming increasingly difficult these days to expect all three from a Bollywood film, atleast one of these criteria should be met to justify the hefty sums of money that Bollywood expects us to shell out for its unimaginative, recycled, and boring offerings. In the same line, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is a resounding slap on the face of every unassuming moviegoer who walks into it to be entertained, respected, or believes that he can forge a connection with the content, performances, or atleast the music. The film has been promoted as a sequel to the wildly popular Bhool Bhulaiyaa that was directed by the legendary Priyadarshan and boasted splendid performances from Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Rajpal Yadav, Shiny Ahuja, and a host of other talented actors. It is a blasphemy to even think of this film as a sequel to Bhool Bhulaiyaa as it has nothing in common with Priyadarshan’s film except its title and the signature songs that this film bastardized with contempt for the originals and no heed to the memories involved with it.

It is pointless for me to get into the plot of this film as it is one of those rare films that repulsed me with everything that it had on offer. It would only be prudent for me to put forth everything that I hated about it and how these elements of the film desecrated the name “Bhool Bhulaiyaa” that till date was synonymous with quality entertainment, interesting ideas that were thoughtfully transformed into engrossing story elements, good performances, rib-tickling comedy and above all, quirky dialogues that never let the dark themes of the film get too pronounced or overbearing.

The speed at which the relationship between the two protagonists, Reet (Kiara Advani) and Rohan (Kartik Aaryan) develops in this film will leave even the most forgiving viewer baffled. Rohan not only takes Reet to a full-blown concert in the middle of nowhere but also gets convinced by her to follow her to Rajasthan to aid her efforts to ditch a marriage. Once he arrives in Rajasthan, Rohan lies his heart out from the very beginning but is gleefully accepted for every word that he says. He doesn’t even try to sound convincing and yet is able to convince everyone in Reet’s family. This portion of the film questioned my sanity and intelligence and enraged me to such an extent that I felt like walking out of it. I still hoped that maybe something good would happen in the next hour or so. I should have realized from the insanely light tone of the rendition of the household whose daughter is presumed dead recently that things were only going to get worse but I convinced myself to stick around.

Farhad Samji is credited with writing the dialogues for this film and that should tell you everything that you need to know about the quality of writing of this film. There wasn’t a single sequence in the film that made me laugh. I watched it in disbelief as I couldn’t gulp down the fact that a comedy could be so unfunny let alone a sequel to Bhool Bhulaiyaa. It would be wise to add that this film is not just unfunny but offensive to everything that we associate with the word “comedy”. Neither the gags make sense nor does the situational comedy feel warranted. Even the body humor that worked in many Bollywood films before and of which the Home Alone series is the best example falls flat on its face here. Add to that the complete lack of quirk, humor, and intelligence in the writing department, and you have a comedy that is as cold as a winter night in Tawang.

The horror elements of the film are laughably bad. For horror to work it must be supported by an engaging and affecting story and there has to be atleast a semblance of believability in the tale. Without these elements, the horror is bound to fizzle out. The fear factor cannot be generated by jump scares if the stakes for the characters are not triggered. This film makes a mockery of all that and gives us jumps scares that feel like they are out of a poorly made 90s B-grade horror film. The film has a tendency of showing you something and taking you in a certain direction but then quickly subvert your expectations by informing you that all that was a farce. This is done repeatedly and without any reason. After a while, I started taking every horror element as another “fake” or misdirection. This further liquidated any chances of inducing any true horror in the minds of the audiences.

There was a scene where we see a ghost on top of a living human and the ghost is shown narrating its great plans of revenge and carnage to the human who talks back literally questioning the viability of the ghost’s plan. The ghost is then silenced by the logic of the human and is lost in thoughts for a few seconds as the human shrugs it off and asks it to not disturb her sleep. This was the point when I walked out of the theater. I can take a lot in the name of entertainment and suspension of disbelief but this was just insulting to my intellect and I couldn’t tolerate someone as nonsensical as Farhad Samji insulting my intellect with his borderline reprehensible and stupefying writing if at all someone can call it that. Anees Bazmi, the director is equally responsible.

The only thing that could have salvaged anything out of this wreck of a film was the performances. Unsurprisingly, they are just as bad. You cannot expect to give your actors something that is this bad in the name of script and hope for them to take it seriously and extract human emotions out of them. The entire cast feels more like reading lines from a script than acting. Karthik Aaryan is annoying as hell with his ear-to-ear smile and unending effort to match up to the over-the-top comedy that was made popular by Akshay Kumar. What he must have realized was that Akshay’s act was aided by superb writing and that was the reason behind the gusto that he could bring to his performance. With lines like “mera phone ring! ring! nai karta, conjuring! conjuring! karta hai”, Kartik was doomed, to begin with. The extra effort that he puts in only makes him that much more insufferable. 

A superlative actor like Tabu is made to puff her face with a lot of powder and go berserk pretending to be a ghost. I really don’t know what made her pick up this role. She must be in dire need of money. Not even Rakhi Sawant would choose to do a character like this that is so shallow, idiotic, and predictable. As the film progresses, the character that Tabu plays keeps getting worse and by the time we reach the climax, it becomes so cringe-worthy that you wish that you had not seen such a fine actor in such a terrible role. Sadly, what you have seen cannot be unseen now. 

The rest of the ensemble cast is there just to take their paychecks and be done with it. You can feel that in each of their performances. Many are sighting the fine technicalities of the film as its saving grace. All I ask in this regard is what is the use of the technicalities when your story, performances, and screenplay are so horrible to start with? Who cares if the camera angles were great? Who cares if the editing was apt? Who cares if the color grading was fantastic? You are still watching cinematic excrement that has crept out of the fertile mind of Farhad Samji and is being sprayed relentlessly on your unassuming faces. I urge all my readers to not see this film. Don’t even watch it when it comes to OTT. Save yourself from this 2-hour long torture. Watch Panchayat Season 2 on Amazon Prime Video instead.

Rating: 1/5 (1 out of 5 Stars)  

Also read: Alia Bhatt off to shoot for her Hollywood debut, says she is ‘nervous’

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