Bhool Bhulaiyaa poster

Bhool Bhulaiyaa

wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)

Director: Priyadarshan
Running time: 150 minutes
More Movie Info

Having served as an Assistant Director for the original Malayalam film, Manichithrathazu (The Ornate Lock), starring Mohanlal, Shobhana, and Suresh Gopi, Priyadarshan has taken it upon himself to remake the film in Hindi as Bhool Bhulaiya. The film has also been remade in Kannada and Telugu, and more famously in Tamil, with Rajnikant in the lead.

Having unleashed a spate of shallow, loud, and situational gag oriented comedies, all of which were remakes of various Malayalam films, Bhool Bhulaiya requires Priyadarshan to tackle something that he had no need to engage with so far; namely a script that revolves around the psychological perturbation of one of the characters. This perturbation causes certain effects, all of which we see in sequence as the film unspools. The cause is revealed towards the end, and justifies the climax of the film. All the major characters in the film are part of the “Great Indian family”; so we have the karta and his sister, their respective spouses and children, and the nephew who has just returned from America with his new bride. The only non ‘family’ character who is significant is the psychiatrist, played by Akshay Kumar.

The director is unable to decide whether he would like the film to be a comedy or sound a more serious note; the first half sees him trying to squeeze laughter from the audience by forcing the ‘senior family’ members to act like half wits, while the second half suddenly becomes somber and doom laden. This necessitates a sudden change in the character of the psychiatrist, who until then is only too happy to ham it up loudly with the other members of the family.

Unfortunately this sudden shift in mood leaves the viewer laughing at or at the very least contemplating this ‘serious’ part of the film, which includes the climax, with mild amusement. The director is unable to create and sustain an ambience and a tempo that involves the viewer and has him or her empathizing with the collective ordeals of the family members, as well as that of the lead protagonist.

From a slightly more abstract perspective, the film can be seen as a clash between western rationality and religious superstitition (as embodied in myths and a belief in the occult) and represented in the film as a clash between two generations: one steeped in rituals and esoteric practices and living in a ‘Hindu small town’, and the other, embodied through modern and western educated characters who hold ‘professional’ occupations. This theme is further exemplified in the film through the character of the psychiatrist and his ‘modern’ psychology versus the mumbo jumbo of the religious priests.

Towards the end of the film a change is shown happening to one of the characters. This change could possibly be interpreted as an omnivorous female sexuality reasserting itself in the face of insipid patriarchal matrimony!!!! This sexuality is subversive and threatening to the existing patriarchal order and hence the psychiatrist (male, of course) helps restore order and put things in their proper place.

The cast has little to do in the film as they are playing out stereotypes; a fine actor like Shiney Ahuja is reduced to either bland acceptance or frothing rage, Amisha Patel weeps and moans throughout in a shrill voice, Vidya Balan is all sunshine and cheer, while Asrani, Paresh Rawal, and Manoj Joshi alternately rant and rave or are busy trying to look scared. Akshay Kumar does his best, but the sudden shift in the script from the comic to the darkly tragic, pulls the stuffing out of his performance. Vineeth has been chosen for a non-consequential role, only for his terpsichorean prowess. Rajpal Yadav is a total waste, not his fault, as his screen time runs to about five minutes or so. Sabu Cyril’s art direction is adequate, though he overdoes his bit in the crowd scenes and peoples the frame with too many holy men. The songs are a distraction and come in the way of the script seeking to build and maintain psychological tension.

The climax is worthwhile, but unfortunately the emphasis on comedy in the earlier part of the film, completely ruins it. The director could have reined himself in and set a bleak and ominous approach which would have made the film taut but does not do so, possibly because of the ‘comic’ expectations that the audience has of him. One wonders whether one would ever get to see realistic cinema in mainstream Bollywood; even when the themes are realistic, the execution reduces them to crude buffoonery or a stylized gore fest. One waits for the day.

This article is by guest author Anand S. Anand lives in Pune and is a Miscellaneous Culture Vulture. He is deeply interested in music, food, books, films, and intelligent women. He views himself as a Falstaffian figure, who does his best to indulge his appetites.

24 reviewers(?) - 13 yays 3 so-so 8 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Akshay Shah, Akshay Shah : ...Priyadarshan has opted to make his version a lot more realistic which is a noticeable change from the types of films he’s been directing lately.... full review

Thumbs up, by Aparajita Ghosh, Apun Ka Choice : ...Priyadarshan gets many things right in ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’, but he stretches the story needlessly.... full review

Thumbs up, by Aryan Khan, Bolly Spice : ...Although the movie is quite good, it has some negative aspects such as a few slow areas... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'souza, : ...every actor is at their best. Credit here goes to the director for keeping his characters in check... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...Right from the production design to the styling of the film to its overall look, BHOOL BHULAIYAA is a visually attractive film.... full review

Thumbs up, by Praveen Lance Fernandes, indiatimes : ... Priyadarshan manages to really send a shiver down your spine as well as evoke laughter striking a decent balance of both... full review

Thumbs up, by Aneesh, Intermission, The Bookeazy Blog : ...Neeraj Vora… He has penned the dialogues for Bhool Bhulaiyaa….which are the major cause of humour.... full review

Thumbs up, by Surya Ragunaathan, J.A.M : ...Bhool Bhulaiya has just the right ingredients of a successful movie - adequate amount of comedy, suspense and thrill to keep you at the edge of your seats throughout... full review

Thumbs up, by Vaibhav Wankhede, M TV : ...Although the film is very regressive at times and there are some factual inaccuracies, Priyadarshan is successful in givng the film an eerie feel and yet retaining the playfulness of the characters... full review

Thumbs up, by Ashok Nayak, Now : ...He is in form this time around and succeeds in holding the interest level of the viewers well past the climax... full review

Thumbs up, by Abhishek Singh, Planet Bollywood : ...The story just keep one believing that you are in for a hilarious ride but prepare yourself for an unforeseen ride in the second half!... full review

Thumbs up, by Pankaj Shukla, : ...'Bhool Bhulaiya' is one step forward for Piryan in his career.... full review

So-So, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...if you're looking for logic and reason and continuity and authenticity in a Priyadarshan film, then the joke's on you,... full review

So-So, by Vikram Bondal, Passion for Cinema : ...Then some of the comic portions which are anything but funny and even the songs which end up acting like speedbreakers.... full review

So-So, by Hanumant Bhansali, Radio Sargam : ...hough the first half is well screened, the second half becomes a serious bore... full review

Thumbs down, : ...This film is bad, boring and just doesn't seem to end!... full review

Thumbs down, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...But man oh man, the storytelling is as mumbo as a jiving jumbo.... full review

Thumbs down, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...He described the movie as Hera Pheri meets Bhoot but there isn't one terrifying moment here.... full review

Thumbs down, by Subhash K Jha, Now : ...The film is initially shot on the banks of the Ganga, but suddenly we see deserts and ethnic clothes.... full review

Thumbs down, by Jahan Bakshi, Passion for Cinema : ...the simplistic and dumbed-down psychological explanations do not help... full review

Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...I'm asking you to watch any old rerun of Ranvir Vinay Aur Kaun on television instead. Bhool Bhulaiyaa is a long and inexplicably boring film... full review

Thumbs down, : ...Vidya Balan sleepwalks through Bhool Bhulaiyaa offering a gratuitous insult to her fans who made the mistake of watching this movie.... full review

Thumbs down, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...Akshay arrives only a few minutes before interval and leaves you tackling reels and reels of yawny yarns about inconsequential village folk... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

6 readers - 0 yays 5 so-so 1 nays

Want to Watch, by michael masini imdb : Rekingen

So-So, by

So-So, by

So-So, by

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Nay! Thumbs Down, by meeta

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Warning: this section has some details that could distort your experience while watching the movie. I strongly recommend reading this only after you have seen the movie or if you have decided not to see it.

Plot Summary

A newly married couple returns to a small town from America, and inhabit their family mansion. The mansion has a secret, and strange events are set in motion when the bride unlocks a forbidden room.

What Worked

  • The dance sequence just before the climax is good; one gets to see a ‘classical’ dance after ages in a Bollywood film. Vineet is a great dancer and his dancing in tandem with Vidya Balan is thoroughly enjoyable. Pritam for once seems to have composed a tune set to carnatic beats (which in itself is very strange, considering that the movie is set in North India and leads one to conclude that he might have been heavily ‘inspired’), but it is delightful nonetheless

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • The entire film barring the climax! It is too loud, too gross, and the script and direction just do not create a world where the strange goings on in the haveli forge a tension which is then resolved at the end, much to the delight and relief of the viewer.

Bhool Bhulaiyaa - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Art Direction:
Running time:
150 minutes

Comments (5)

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Review - Bhool Bhulaiya...

The director is unable to decide whether he would like the film to be a comedy or sound a more serious note....

Bhool Bhulaiyya - A review... says, Watch if you have nothing better to do. From the review sounds like a typical Priyadarshan movie with situational gags, loose storyline and not so funny dialogues. So like they say, watch it if there is nothing bett...


it was a really horror movie this song "hare ram hare ram"really good
i love you akshay you are looked so beautiful

loved the dance in the end, other than that completely blech!

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