Bhoot Police

wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)

quick review:

Borderline cute and barely horrifying, this supposed horror film is just about watchable. (Available on Disney-Hotstar)

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Director: Pawan Kirpalani
Running time: 125 minutes
Genres: Comedy, Horror
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Bhoot Police is what happens when you know you cannot make a horror film that people will take seriously. You also know your base storyline is as typical as it gets. But you have things to say that horror films don’t bother with. And you are hoping that that will be enough. It is just about if combined with watching Yami Gautam and Saif Ali Khan’sKhan’s performances towards the film’s end.

In what could have been a fun “Sholay meets Ghostbusters”, Bhoot Police becomes a horror-comedy with the usual tropes.

Bhoot Police seeks to strike a balance between “ghosts don’t exist at all” and “you better take ghosts seriously.” Usually, horror films are set up for a climactic exorcism of a feared ghost. At other times, the storyline ends up proving the ghost as a figment of a character’s imagination or a set-up by a character with an agenda. Bhoot Police wants to make a point that balances the two extremes.

This is not just balance for the sake of balance. It acknowledges that a lot of fraudsters get away with hocus-pocus in the guise of tantric magic. But it wants to emphasize that just because swindlers exist doesn’t mean ghosts don’t. By acknowledging the cheats, it manages to make the existence of ghosts more real.

This conviction kept me interested even though Bhoot Police is predictable. The two significant twists can be seen coming from a mile. In fact, with the first sound of the anklet, I guessed the first twist, even before the character was shown on screen. I wonder if the film would become a better watch if I hadn’t figured the suspense.

Other than these bits, Bhoot Police tries its hand at witticism in the form of cultural and political references. The jibes and quips bring smiles and keep you engaged with the film owing, but are unlikely to stick too long after. The wrong one is likely to stick, though. One in which Saif Ali Khan’sKhan’s character takes a dig at Jacqueline Fernandez’sFernandez’s characters for wearing skimpy clothes. It felt more like a comment on what the woman was wearing than what the man was watching.

Fortunately, I didn’t spot any other derogatory remarks. Some comic bits are executed with cuteness by Arjun Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan. But there are other times when everyone on screen seems to overdo their act, especially Saif Ali Khan’sKhan’s goofiness. It was a pleasant surprise to see Late Amit Mistry, though.

In what could have been a fun ““Sholay meets Ghostbusters””, Bhoot Police becomes a horror-comedy with the usual tropes and a promise of a sequel. To keep interest in a franchise, though, it will need to do much more than being just passable.

- meeta, a part of the audience

16 reviewers(?) - 0 yays 11 so-so 5 nays

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

So-So, by Russel D'Silva, Bollywood Life : ...The best part of Bhoot Police is Saif Ali Khan and how he, along with Arjun Kapoor, and the tropes used by Director Pawan Kripalani, make the horror-comedy almost seem like a desi, live version of Scooby Doo. Sure, the jokes and slapstick moments could've landed better, especially in the first half, and the entire movie could've done with more chills, but there's an overall spooky vibe and innocuous-fun feel to the proceedings that make it a decent one-time watch, largely helped by some good VFX. I'm going with 3 out of 5 stars.... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...All-in-all, Bhoot Police is a clean comedy devoid of potty jokes and sexual humour. It doesn’t scare you much but will certainly make you laugh. It’s set up for a sequel so be prepared to follow the further adventures of Vibhooti and Chiraunji.... full review

So-So, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...To keep the film short and crisp, the makers have refrained from adding any songs to Bhoot Police and that works in their favour. Albumwise, 'Ayi Ayi Bhoot Police' is a decent party number. 'Mujhe Pyaar Pyaar Hai' isn't memorable enough when it comes to a romantic song.... full review

So-So, by, india today : ...Saif Ali Khan has a remarkable screen presence and it is his dialogues that keep you entertained throughout. His one-liners are enough to crack you up. You will enjoy his antics but certain parts feel redundant. It is Saif’s impeccable comic timing that gives the film its much-needed edge. Arjun Kapoor as Chiraunji is more of the serious type - the innocent and righteous sibling. Arjun and Saif have the maximum screen time, but the latter manages to snatch the spotlight away each time. Arjun struggles but makes an impression. Yami is good, but of course, we have seen her play better. Yami as Maya is this determined daughter who is bent on saving her father’s legacy, the tea estate, from being lost. Jacqueline Fernandez plays Maya’s sassy influencer sister Kanika, who wants to sell everything off and move to London. The actress has a forgettable appearance.... full review

So-So, by R.M. VIJAYAKAR, India West : ...“Bhoot Police” is a decent watch and can also be enjoyed with the family. Kids too will find it pretty amusing with the right dose of “scare” for them.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...But while it stays in the let’s-make-fun-of-ghosts zone, it really is funny. Especially when Saif is on song, which is quite often: he is having a blast, and makes sure we do, too. Arjun Kapoor fits the part too, as do the girls. What’s truly a saving grace is that nothing gets too dark. And no one takes themselves seriously at all, even if you feel like ruffling Ms Fernandez’s perfect blowout: there’s a ghost in front of her! But it does get too long. At one point a character says, ‘enough of this horror show’. True, true... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Bhoot Police Review: Saif Ali Khan Brings His Flair For Comedy To Breezy Caper Film A still from Bhoot Police.(courtesy: arjunkapoor) 7 Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Arjun Kapoor, Yami Gautam, Jacqueline Fernandez, Jaaved Jaffrey, Rajpal Yadav, Girish Kulkarni, Jamie Lever, Amit Mistry Director: Pavan Kripalani Rating: Two and a half stars ( out of 5) Pavan Kripalani's Bhoot Police, a horror comedy that keeps its cards close to the chest until it is well into the second half, opens, believe it or not, with an Abraham Lincoln quote. It, however, quickly proceeds to lay the ghost of America's 16th President to rest because he obviously isn't central to the zany plot. There is nothing in this crazy, breezy caper film about a pair of on-call ghostbusters that one would associate with anything that Lincoln might have had in mind when he said: "To believe in things you can see and touch is no belief at all but to believe in the unseen is a triumph and a blessing." Not much in Bhoot Police is instantly believable, but what we see in the film is amusing enough for us not to be ruffled by its trifling with fearsome apparitions. Out on Disney+Hotstar, the film is woven around constant banter over what to believe and what not to as two brothers, Vibhooti Vaidya and Chiraunji Vaidya (Arjun Kapoor), sons of a famed Tantric exorcist Ullat Baba, bicker incessantly. They do not see eye to eye on the purpose of voodooism. Two brothers at odds with each other run into two sisters who have nothing in common - one wants to protect the legacy of her father, the other dreams of returning to London and living it up. The complications that arise trigger a war between superstition and scepticism. Vibhooti is an unapologetic charlatan who thrives on exploiting people's fear of the unknown for pecuniary benefit. Inspector Chedilal (Jaaved Jaffrey) is in pursuit of the guy because he has an old score to settle with the family. Chiraunji, in contrast, is deadly serious about his dead father's teachings and sees himself as worthy inheritor of the spectral arts the family has practised, he reveals at one point, for seven generations. Kuch toh logic lagao, Vibhooti keeps saying to his younger brother although he is fully aware that they aren't in the business of logic. Neither is the film. Despite their divergent worldviews, the brothers always hunt in a pair. A van that doubles up as a home-on-wheels takes them wherever they are needed. The film opens in a desert mansion where a girl is believed to be possessed by the spirit of her grandfather. "Kaali urjaa hain yahaan (There is dark energy here)," says the younger brother as they alight from their vehicle outside the house. That is a prognostication he will make on several subsequent occasions. What transpires as the two men confront the young girl (Yashaswini Dayama) and the spirit that has taken control of her gives Vibhooti more reason to pooh-pooh the existence of ghosts. Chiraunji, however, is unable to let go of his faith in the power of the tattered little book of otherworldly knowledge that his father bequeathed to him. ALSO READ Jacqueline Fernandez's New Fitness Video Is Giving Us Major Inspiration Jacqueline Fernandez's New Fitness Video Is Giving Us Major Inspiration Arjun Kapoor's Belated Birthday Wish For Kareena Kapoor Is Just An "Excuse" To Post This Pic Of Taimur And Saif Arjun Kapoor's Belated Birthday Wish For Kareena Kapoor Is Just An "Excuse" To Post This Pic Of Taimur And Saif Neck Injury, Chilly Nights, Hours Of Make-Up Couldn't Stop Yami Gautam From Filming <i>Bhoot Police</i> Neck Injury, Chilly Nights, Hours Of Make-Up Couldn't Stop Yami Gautam From Filming Bhoot Police The siblings end up in a tea estate in Dharamshala at the behest of Maya (Yami Gautam). She needs their help to rid the village of a kichkandi, an evil and stubborn spirit of the mountains, that has been affecting productivity at her loss-making factory. The workers leave before sunset every day because they are scared of being waylaid by the ghost in the dark. Speaking of the dark, Bhoot Police, shot by Jaya Krishna Gummadi, makes very effective use of dimly-lit spaces, both interior and exterior, and of lights piercing the mist and casting shadows, to create the ambience of an irreverent, hallucinatory ghost story that is enlivened by a resolutely tongue-in-cheek script (written by Kripalani, Pooja Ladha Surti and Sumit Batheja) that recalls and sends up many of the conventions that usually go into a big-screen scare fest. Is Bhoot Police consistently witty? Maybe not, but it does have its share of genuinely funny scenes and exchanges. One might quibble that the quality of the throwaway one-liners is erratic, but with Saif Ali Khan bringing his flair for comedy to the act of delivering the verbal punches with a straight face, parts of Bhoot Police are an absolute hoot and a half. A couple of his scenes with Jacqueline Fernandez, playing Maya's sceptical sister Kanika, who has no patience for the two handsome exorcists who have been summoned to the estate by Maya, are diverting because quite a few of the puns hit home. Kanika asserts that nepotism and andh vishwas (blind faith) are the nation's undoing. Vibhooti and Chiraunji are guilty of benefitting from the former and peddling the latter. She also describes the two siblings as "bloody amateurs" given to conning the gullible with their "fraud vidya". In one scene, Saif's character asks Fernandez's Kanika if she knows what aas (hope) means. I do, she says and is quick to warn him of a kick on the rump. In another scene, it is the girl's turn to ask a question. She wonders if she is Vibhooti's "type". The man replies: "Main toh jagat premi hoon, all type is my type (I'm a global lover, all types are my types)." If you that is funny enough for you, the film has other scenes that play out in a similar vein. Bhoot Police may not be the type of film that will tickle every palate, but Saif Ali Khan, when he is on a roll, is a delight. It is no mean feat that Arjun Kapoor keeps pace with him. Jacqueline Fernandez contributes her mite to the mirth, while Yami Gautam plays a steady hand until matters take a ghastly turn in the film's last lap. PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on Jaaved Jaffrey has a longish cameo that he makes the most of. Rajpal Yadav and Girish Kulkarni put in fleeting appearances that are gone in a flash. Jamie Lever and the late Amit Mistry (in probably his last film role) play supporting roles that suffer for want sufficient attention from the screenwriters. 7 Comments It is in a way advantageous that Bhoot Police does not set the bar overly high. Better still, it does not take itself seriously at all notwithstanding the fact that it invokes Abraham Lincoln before the romp begins. So, all that the film needs in order to be entertaining is a passable script and a bunch of actors who know exactly what they are in this riotous rigmarole for. It has those two things and a little more. At a stretch, Bhoot Police, powered by Saif Ali Khan, is fun while it lasts.... full review

So-So, by Shreya Mukkerjee, NewsBytes : ...Bringing the age-old horror movie logic that the ghost is actually good, when you sit to analyze Bhoot Police, your head will hurt. Hence, analyzing is not the answer. Even with numerous loopholes, the movie makes you laugh senseless. The final twist is apparent from miles away but again, who cares. It's no Stree but you will still enjoy it thoroughly.... full review

So-So, by JOGINDER TUTEJA, Planet Bollywood : ...Eventually, Bhoot Police doesn’t aim to establish itself as a memorable film but what it does well is to be good fun while it lasts. Play it on for a lazy evening out with the family.... full review

So-So, by Namrata Thaker, Rediff : ...Bhoot Police had a lot of potential, but the makers have ended up making a horror-comedy which is not too funny, hardly scary and quite frankly, quite missable.... full review

So-So, by Stutee Ghosh, The Quint : ...Saif is solid and Bhoot Police puts us in a particularly forgiving mood where the lulls don’t ruin the whole film for us. Harmless fun is always a good idea.... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, Deepa Gahlot : ...It is left to Khan and Kapoor to enliven the proceedings with their bickering, and there’s a too-brief cameo by Jaaved Jaaferi as a cop hot on their heels of the conmen; they do their best, but it’s not an easy task to beat such dreariness. The two male leads speak in a rustic lingo (Pleej, ij), but because they are stars, they are allotted a rather stylishly grungy wardrobe... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...The irony is lost upon the makers. Then again, some pop-cultural humour – like Saif looking at a sheepish Arjun when someone declares that “nepotism has ruined the country,” a running joke about juice (“How’s the juice?”), and a mandatory demonetisation dialogue – seems to be enough these days. After all, if a mediocre film is self-aware, it’s not really mediocre, right? Right?... full review

Thumbs down, by Anupama Chopra, Film Companion : ...He lumbers along, as does the film, for more than two hours. Watching Bhoot Police, I realized that a film which is mediocre is more soul-sucking than one that is actively awful because you see glimpses of what might have been.... full review

Thumbs down, by Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, Free Press Journal : ...The actors are clearly having fun, and some of it rubs off on the viewer too. Saif Ali Khan, in particular, is a breeze — with his love for episodes of Naagin, demanding a GST for his services or even going ‘I see dead people!’. Arjun Kapoor provides able foil. But one can never get over the feeling that one, the material is too thin for a two-hour-long film; two, the actors are not earthy enough for the characters they are playing.... full review

Thumbs down, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...While almost everything fails, the only comedienne, who truly makes an impression here is Johnny Lever’s talented daughter Jamie Lever. Her character singing Aishwarya Rai’s dreamy romantic number ‘Aao Na’, while her husband struggles to take a dump has you rolling with laughter. If you must watch this film, watch it for her.... full review

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

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Gory ghost stuff
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: A small village needs a ghost busted
  • General Look and Feel: Not too scary.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:

Comments (1)

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Dear Meetu, nice review, gives a decent read.. Looks like the Bollywood directors were inspired by zillion Ghost comedies in South that are doing good business.. Good thing is - this is not a remake..!

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