Bhoothnath Returns - Review
Bhoothnath Returns is a kids’ film that at least some of us adults must watch this election season. Though it is a tad too naïve and preachy, and a little too long for it's own good, the film attempts to make a point that a number of us can learn from; it is a well-acted film with some genuine moments.
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*I am out on a vacation. Pradeep has been kind enough to review the film for wogma. So here goes...
It is election season, so obviously Hindi cinema can't be expected to not cash in on the fervour. Bhoothnath, the ghost who failed miserably in attempting to scare the bollocks out of little Banku is back. This time, he has another kid for company, and this time, he's taking on the establishment.
Watching Amitabh Bachchan taking on the system has historically always been fun. This time though, he's doing it a little tongue-in-cheek, without landing any of those fearsome kicks that have left many a backside sore. Nitesh Tiwari, co-director of Chillar Party, gives us a film that easily surpasses the first one.
Bhoothnath Returns has its heart in the right place. After his escapades from the first film, Bhoothnath makes his way to some sort of ghost headquarters, known as Bhoothworld, where he is a laughing stock for being a ghost who couldn't scare even a little child. (Presumably every country has its own Bhoothworld, because in the land shown in the film, every ghost is Indian.) Bhoothnath then returns to Earth to make amends, where he gets sucked into a political battle with a crafty politician.
The film is quite funny in spurts, in a really sweet, genuine way. The humour is clean, and at times it is so innocent that you can't help a smile or a chuckle, even if you aren't actually tickled by the jokes. For example, keep a look out for all the signboards in Bhoothworld - they remind you of a time when there was no intent to be extra-smart in cinema, just the wish to make an understated point.
The real story of the film begins when our ghost decides that he wants to stand for elections. Now the thing is, if you aren't able to wrap your head around this unlikely premise, then there's no chance at all that you'll even want to see the point that the film is attempting to make. There are certain films where one just must suspend their disbelief, and this film is one of those.
Because really, the film has an important message for us all - the fact that it is important to be an active participant in the democratic process, that it is important to take the onus of selecting your candidate, if you don't want a candidate thrust down your throat. It's good to see that the film takes on the more general problems that one would face with a corrupt politician in power, rather than equating him to any of our real life elected villains.
Amitabh Bachchan also shares a warm camaraderie with a little boy who goes by the unusual name 'Akhrot', which means walnut. Played with spunk by child actor Parth, he's essentially the soul of the film. In fact, despite terrific performances by Mr. Bachchan and Boman Irani as the politician Bhau, it is little Akhrot's character that propels the film in the directions it chooses. After all, the little children of today are the future. They're the ones who'll be more affected by the choices we make today.
The film also has a host of good character actors in smaller roles, who appear one after the other through the film. Brijendra Kala and Sanjay Mishra - both of whom were last seen in Ankhon Dekhi - are quite outstanding. Watch out also for a couple of superstar cameos, and for one scene involving a well known Indian film director who plays himself.
The thing is, if the average Indian wasn't gullible or apathetic, then one could have made a serious film that tackles the message that Bhoothnath Returns does. The film is a little too preachy, a little too naïve at times. Essentially it is a film that would work well to educate children on the importance of the citizen in democracy. Unfortunately, it seems that is also the only way to educate adults as well.
Another time, another place, one would say that while Bhoothnath Returns is better than its predecessor, it isn't particularly a must-watch by itself. This election season, however, one can't help wonder that, even though Bhoothnath Returns isn't nearly the political film we deserve, it is perhaps the one we need right now.
This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.
- Violence: Some agression, a child being hit.
- Language: Clean.
- Nudity & Sexual content: None.
- Concept: Bhoothnath returns, and takes up a good cause.
- General Look and Feel: A bright film, the locations work well.
Bhoothnath Returns - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: T-Series Super Cassettes Industries Ltd., B R Films
- Producer: Bhushan Kumar, Kishan Kumar, Renu Ravi Chopra
- Director: Nitesh Tiwari
- Lead Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Parth Bhalerao
- Supporting Cast: Boman Irani, Anurag Kashyap, Usha Jadhav, Sanjay Mishra, Brijendra Kala
- Cinematography: Kamaljeet Negi
- Editor: Chandrashekhar Prajapati
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 155 minutes
- Reviewer: Pradeep Menon
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Comedy, Kids, Politics, Social
Bhoothnath Returns - Trailer
If you cannot see a video above, click here to see it on YouTube