Review: Bhoot Police

  • Release Date: 10/09/2021
  • Platform: Disney + Hotstar
  • Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Yami Gautam, Jacqueline Fernandez
  • Director: Pavan Kirpalani

Bhoot Police is the story of two brothers, Vibhooti (Saif) and Chiraunji (Arjun) who are the sons of a legendary tantric, Ullat Baba. Chiraunji is enamored and inspired by his father’s legacy and wants to decipher the book of secrets that his father has left him. Vibhooti is a smooth-talking con man who believes that ghosts don’t exist and that his father before him was a con man too who was just too smart to have been discovered. However, Vibhooti does use the fear of the ghosts in people to earn his moolah and also the occasional serving of bodily pleasure. Life for the two brothers seems to be on the right track when the owner of a dilapidating tea estate, Maya (Yami Gautam) comes asking for Ullat Baba’s help to drive away a marauding and powerful spirit known as Kichkandi. Kichkandi has been terrorizing the workers of the estate and has further catalyzed the already decaying estate. The brothers decide to help Maya and in doing so, come face to face with what destiny was always supposed to be for them.

Bhoot Police fails at everything that it tries to achieve.

The comedy doesn’t work

The film was marketed as a comedic- horror film in the same line as Stree but with toppings of Ghostbusters and RIPD peppered over it. The problem is that the film’s comedy is so bland, repetitive, and unfunny that I couldn’t bring myself to even grin in any of the perpetually comic sequences that were intended to extract belly laughs. There is no novelty or quirkiness in the dialogues and one can spot the punch lines coming from a mile away. The comic situations are not well envisioned enough to make you laugh. Even the body humor using the facial expressions of someone as capable as Jaaved Jaaferi comes off as more cringe-inducing than funny. Even when Saif and Arjun try to take a dig at themselves using the word “nepotism”, it doesn’t extract any laughs. With the comedic element of the film failing, the onus now shifted to horror.

Not a single scare worthy of remembrance   

Even for a comedic horror film, there is a need for the horror to work. Stree, for instance, had some of the most bone-chilling horror sequences that we have seen in Hindi horror films of late. While the film was funny when it needed to be, it didn’t cut down on the seriousness of the maleficent spirit thereby enhancing the impact of the horror and compounding the effect of it and the comedy and presenting it as one seamlessly blended and organic offering. Sadly that is not the case with Bhoot Police. There isn’t a single horror sequence here that will make you stand up and take notice. None of the horror tropes work here and most of it proves to be false scares. When the maleficent spirit finally takes the center stage it is quickly transformed into a spirit that was wronged and is on the lookout for salvation rather than being pure evil. This further diminishes the film’s scare quotient as the protagonists are never in any real danger. Hence, the film is also drained of any thrills that one could have experienced owing to the protagonists being in mortal danger.  

Sleep-inducing interpersonal drama and poor performances 

The interpersonal drama between Saif and Arjun is so hammy, irritating, poorly executed, and boring that it will atleast put you to sleep if not send you down spiraling into a boredom-induced coma. Arjun tries to play all cute and simple and comes off as pretentious and theatrically overplays his character to get the point across. There are moments when it feels as if he is just reading lines from the script and not so much acting. His performance is increasingly getting worse with every film and it seems as if he is disinterested and bored of playing anything that he is shown playing. Saif tries to bring in his trademark charm and vibe to the character of Vibhooti but with Arjun unresponsive to his give and takes, he soon turns into a cardboard himself. I don’t blame Saif. We know that he can act when he is efficiently directed. Sadly, the direction is just one of the many problems of this film.   

Yami Gautam is an effortless actor and her performance feels real. But what can she do when she has the obnoxiously overused and ill-positioned Jacqueline Fernandez to ruin everything. I seriously don’t know why Jacqueline is in this film. They could have just made “the manager” character the villain and given him some motive to do what Jacqueline is shown doing. That would have saved some money that the production could have then put in the VFX that looked fake, dated, and incomplete.    

Utter lack of a sense of urgency 

A sense of urgency is of paramount importance in a horror film even if it is of a comedic nature. It is this exasperating feeling that thrills the audiences and binds them to the screen with the feeling that anything could happen next. Interestingly, Bhoot Police casually strolls through its narrative from start to finish. It doesn’t feel like something serious is going down. There is no heightened pace or urgency to explain the predicament of Maya and the estate. Even when characters are chased by ghosts they just labor their way out of trouble as if they know that they would be safe. With this lack of a sense of urgency in the proceedings and a runtime of over 2 hours when it should not have been more than 90 minutes, Bhoot Police commits its final and most disastrous folly.

Final words

If you want to save 2 precious hours of your life, skip Bhoot Police. It has no redeeming qualities to merit your attention and time and will only leave you frustrated because of its lack of entertainment quotient, logic, comedy, insufferable performances, and boring execution. There is more comedy and horror in a Kapil Sharma skit from Comedy Circus than the entire film here. Bhoot Police is like taxes. No one wants it but gets it every year and it is not the least bit amusing.  

Rating: 1/5 (1 out of 5 Stars)

Also read: Money Heist Part 5 Vol. 1: Feels like a South-Indian masala film on steroids with Prabhudeva directing

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