Review - Bhoothnath: Cute followed by boring

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

The first half-second half syndrome strikes again. Bhoothnath starts off with imaginative use of animation and has a cute, very enjoyable first half. The latter half not only makes you sorely miss all of it, but also replaces it with lectures (albeit short), a depressing attitude towards youth that go abroad for better prospects, and very avoidable religious connotations.



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Many a time, storywriters use stories to put across their ideologies before their audience. Now, the writing style might be great, or at the very least likable. But, if a reader/viewer doesn't subscribe to the ideology, the writer has lost that one member of the audience. And with Bhoothnath, I am that member. I was a captive audience till it started beating the well-trodden path of stereotypes and meddling with religious issues.

What I call religious issues actually borderlines on faith. Especially, if the specific Hindu rite mentioned is only symbolic of the idea that parents only need a gesture of acceptance, of love. While, it might not be far-fetched, I doubt that is what too many viewers will take away. The point being that instead of imposing religious traditions by using a particular practice as an example, if a larger, more global sub-plot was chosen, the point might have gotten through better.

A lot of the blame could also go to the absolutely unforeseeable slack in pace and change in execution style. From creative and cute use of otherwise-oft-seen special effects, we are sent to a second half where the magical treats do a vanishing act. From a fun, adorable chain of events, we are suddenly thrown into a rather gloomy outlook of society. From a first half with two fairly well developed characters, we are abruptly introduced to new characters and their half-baked relationships post-interval.

Fortunately though, the performances do not suffer from this inconsistency. Amitabh Bachchan plays the grandfatherly ghost, Bhoothnath, who won't let anyone stay in his house even though only his spirit can inhabit it. His comic timing is as impeccable as ever. Not to worry, Amitabh fans - the funny faces, the angst of a person who is worried for someone close, the grief-stricken eyes at the memory of a painful event - all are very much there, the debacle called RGV ki Aag hasn't taken any of it away from him. The only area where he came across as superficial was when the angry ol' man was required to be angry. Sad but true.

Anyway, looks like little Aman, who plays naughty Banku, has taken a leaf or more from the veteran's book. Every time Aman Siddiqui came on screen, I couldn't take my eyes off his eyes - such innocence, such twinkle, such sadness - as and how the story demanded. Same goes for Juhi Chawla who plays her cheerful self, this time as a mother with an unbelievable sense of humor. But come scenes that require her to be anxious and her glycerinated eyes make her work seem effortless.

I usually refrain from commenting on the special appearances, but Shah Rukh Khan's presence was a little more than just a special appearance. It wouldn't be unfair to say that he had more screen presence than some of the other side characters. Shah Rukh Khan plays Shah Rukh Khan Banku's father. The significance attached to his character's deeds seem like the parts have been forcibly blown-up to fit in the stature of the star. Now, whether he succeeds in performing his role of first-weekend promotional material, the box office will tell in a couple of days.

Anyhow, after a long, long time Satish Shah and Rajpal Yadav actually made me laugh. But where did they disappear in the latter half of the movie. And there start my complaints. Keep in mind that I let go of the usual issue related to non-defined super-powers. As in, why does Bhoothnath show himself, if he doesn't want to be seen?

So, every time, I saw a cool usage of graphics, I hoped that they won't overdo it, and they didn’t. I was happy. Every time, it looked like the story is going to go into predictable zone, an unexpected line brought out loud laughter. I was happy. I thoroughly enjoyed the comment on TV soap operas. Things were going really well till my questions started getting answered.

Then, I asked, "Where's the conflict?" There it came, not good, not bad...a little longer and this would have become too serious to match the tone of the movie so far. "Where's Bhoothnath's backstory? What's his problem?" And I asked for too much. The movie blindly nosedived into new characters with 45 minutes to go. One of them is Bhoothnath's son, who not only is introduced so late, but has a full character arc, rapid transition et al, albeit very under-developed. I found the little speeches a little too boring and the stereotype against Indian emigrants a bit too harsh. Ultimately, the resolution to the story as a whole was the biggest let-down of them all.

All said and done, Bhoothnath surely deserves credit for not taking its younger target audience for granted. Well executed "tributes" to the animation used in the Harry Potter series, ensures that the kids get a quality product. If only, they had maintained it through to the end, if only...

- meeta, a part of the audience

Bhoothnath - Movie Details

Bhoothnath - Trailer

Comments (15)

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The thing that attracts me most these days to movies with superstars in them is the curiosity about the script they have chosen....

Bhoothnath review | DesiPundit:

[...] liked Bhoothnath but felt it came apart at the end. Meetu agrees that “the first half-second half syndrome strikes again“. She particularly disliked the use of religious issues in the second [...]


you should check out my version of the bhoothnath movie review Pls leave you feedback.


Wow, Rakesh, you are really something! You first copy from here and then ask me to leave a comment on your site. So I left my comment on your site.

Now your turn... STOP PLAGIARIZING!!!!


no you got me wrong. my review is a modified version of the review on rediff and i also gave them credit for it.
i would suggest you read it again


@Rakesh yeah, right! Without linking to the article!! Deleting a few words/sentences here and there doesn't make it 'your' review...And is that why you deleted my comment from your site - because you are so confident its 'your' review!?

I know it isn't my post you have COPIED, but the very concept of just copy, paste, delete words/rephrase-using-the-same-phrases is sickening!!

Sudhir Nair:

Temper temper Meetu. Why do u give so much space to such irrelevant people.

Just edit his comment and remove the links from it n he'll get the msg.


Thanks, Sudhir! But I really have had enough of these people who copy. If I just deleted, other readers wouldn't know he is copying and deleting comments that are pointing that out.

lidia ostepeev planet bollywood:

[...] film certainly feels padded and dreary??? See full review: Hanumant Bhansali , Radio Sargam Rating: - Namastey London » without giving the movie awayLidia Ostepeev, planet bollywood [...]


@TimELiebe I don't think the religious rituals were blasphemous either here or in 1920. Honestly, I couldn't care. For me the worry is that it could be perceived as blasphemous by people who do care and distract from the film. It could also go a step further, if the balance is tipped even a bit, if a particular religious group took offense and took action like causing physical damage to another religious group. I could be catastrophizing - it's only a movie after all - but lesser known mediums have known to cause trouble. I wonder if movies should actively avoid that?


@TimELiebe naah, I was just making a general statement, didn't have any specific group in mind. Anyone can get offended by any little thing. Anyway...


@Meetu - just wanted to say, my friend Bruce Coville finally saw this with us last weekend, and absolutely loved it.

Bachchan-ji's stubbornly proud grandfatherly ghost gains a lot of resonance on a re-watch - even if it's not much of a part, he inhabits it so completely that he makes it work, brilliantly. And Aman Siddiqui's great as Banku - in his own way, as stubborn as the ghost and desperately in need of a male parental figure in his life that's more present than his always-at-sea Ship's Engineer father (you could say Shahrukh Khan's playing the Shahrukh Khan part - but it fit very well that he's more like a goofy Big Brother than a Father to Banku in most of his scenes). And Juli Chawla has always been worth watching - in movies like KISMAT CONNECTION, often the only thing worth watching!


@TimELiebe Interesting that you gave this one a once over.


@Meetu - my wife Tammy and Bruce's wife Kathy are usually the arbiters of which Indian movies we re-watch...and end up owning on DVD, usually. This, Om Shanti Om, Bunty Aur Babli, Aladin....


@TimELiebe :D

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