Bhoothnath Returns

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?) - Just the *really* keen, preferably those who have kids

quick 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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Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Running time: 155 minutes
Genres: Comedy, Kids, Politics, Social
More Movie Info

Bhoothnath Returns - Preview

This article is by guest author 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.

*I am out on a vacation. Pradeep has been kind enough to review the film for wogma. So here goes...

~ meetu*

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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 article is by guest author 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.

37 reviewers(?) - 5 yays 30 so-so 2 nays

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

Thumbs up, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ... With some editing, and control on the second-half melodrama, Bhootnath Returns would have been even better. It is admirable that Tiwari does not try to fit in romance and item songs to attract a mass audience; he keeps the flying objects kind of silly special effects to a minimum, speaks to children as intelligent humans and also addresses grown-ups in a persuasive way. Worth a look. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rachit Gupta, Filmfare : ... Watch Bhoothnath Returns for the masterful performances by Parth, Boman Irani and Amitabh Bachchan. Mr Bachchan particularly shows you why he is still leagues ahead of any contemporary star, actor or performer. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Parth Bhalerao, FirstPost : ...For the most part, barring perhaps the last half hour of the film, its most shamelessly manipulative moments are tempered with deliberate humour... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...The film then highlights the plight of our country, its voters, the politicians and the various scams and the general indifference. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rohit Khilnani, india today : ...There is no doubt that Bhoothnath will entertain cine-goers.. It's entertainment .. Bachchan style! ... full review

So-So, by Anna MM Vetticad , annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...After seeing Bhoothnath befriending a little boy in the first film, it would have been so refreshing to see him with a little girl in the sequel. This is not a criticism of Bhoothnath Returns in particular but of Bollywood in general. We know that this industry prefers to tell us stories of men, but it’s sad to see the male dominance extending to children’s films too... full review

So-So, by Nikhil Kumar, Apun Ka Choice : ...Bhoothnath Returns could have done better without the songs, particularly a song in slums with foreign babes. The movie also overstays its welcome with a running time of close to two-and-half hours... full review

So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...But Bhoothnath Returns, directed by Nitesh Tiwari, isn’t a sober movie... full review

So-So, by Prateeksha Khot, Bolly Spice : ...Yes, the movie does tend to drag but then it has its heart in the right place. One of the few unpretentious movies to come out of Bollywood, I would recommend you catch this movie at least once.... full review

So-So, by Suparna Sharma, Deccan Chronicle : ...Bhoothnath Returns tries to strike a high moral tone in its social messaging, but creatively it doesn’t flinch from being crassly exploitative.... full review

So-So, by Nikhil Arora, Desi Martini : ...Watch Bhootnath Returns for Amitabh Bachchan and the kid – Parth Bhalerao. ... full review

So-So, by SOMESH SINHA, Desi Martini : ... For missing out on this satire will be considered as an act of sheer folly, if you are an Indian citizen with/without voter ID card. ... full review

So-So, by Smita Vyas Kumar, Desi Martini : ...A preachy movie produced by the Election Commision. Could have been fun, but isn't. ... full review

So-So, by aneela zeb babar, Desi Martini : ...Cant hear you? Do you have your voter ID read? Well go watch then. ... full review

So-So, by El Matador, Desi Martini : ...Works very well thanks to its lead actors and the timing of its release. Nothing much to complain ... full review

So-So, by Tushar Joshi, DNA : ...Enjoyable in parts, Bhootnath Returns has the right sentiment, but an over the top climax and cliched writing holds it back from being a charmer. ... full review

So-So, by Saurabh Dwivedi, india today : ...Bhoothnath Returns is a one-time family watch, and the perfect film for school kids on vacation. Meaning 'Party Toh Banti hain... full review

So-So, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...Bhoothnath Returns' heart is in the right place, only the route it takes in the second half to convey the message is long and preachy. There is a song which seems totally out of place as it highlights the woes of the country through pictures of poor kids. It's enough that in real life we are surrounded with politicians delivering speeches making tall claims, it's another to walk into a theatre and listen to more lectures on how we need a "parivartan" (change). Soon Bhoothnath Returns heads into mawkish territory with a predictable end. Despite these flaws, Bhoothnath Returns works because it is well-meaning and has two striking actors - a rookie and a veteran - who bring the best out in each other.... full review

So-So, by Faheem Ruhani, india today : ...Together, the duo is terrific in their histrionics. A lot of actors are not able to get rid of the awe of Bacchan's towering personality when acting with him. It's to the director's credit that he could extract such a natural performance out of the film's child actor. Just for these two, Bhootnath Returns is worth the effort. ... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...I laughed out loud in a few bits, didn’t mind some of it, and blanked out in the rest. Finally it was neither funny nor serious enough: neither fully ghostly nor ghastly, but somewhere in between.... full review

So-So, Indicine : ...Bhoothnath could have been a subtle comment of the corrupt world of politics in India with an added dose of dark humour. Unfortunately, it doesn’t reach those levels. But having said that, even when Bhoothnath is not subtle it is a great effort to commercialize an important matter. It is topical and has great performances. Bhoothnath Returns is perhaps better than the first part.... full review

So-So, by Mohar Basu, koimoi : ...Bhoothnath Returns is lightyears ahead of its first part. Told like a socio-political satire in the first half, it suffers when the humor runs out leaving behind an overdramatic climax. For the intelligent story and the umpteenth laughs of the first hour and mostly Parth & Big B’s impervious chemistry, the film deserves a watch. I am going with a 3/5. Could have been octaves ahead but doesn’t soar adequately.... full review

So-So, by Shubha Shetty-saha, MiD DAY : ...For a cynic, this might be too idealist a movie and it probably is. An honest man — or a ghost for that matter — winning elections in one constituency by solving simple issues like water and electricity is definitely not going to make a dent in the burgeoning corruption situation in the country... full review

So-So, by Joginder Tuteja, Movie Talkies : ... This could pretty much have been the genesis of Bhoothnath Returns too which tries to balance feet on both boats and does meet with a wobbly effect at one stage of the narrative. ... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Will Bhoothnath Returns be able to bhooth-capture the box office? It might not lose its deposit, but it does not look like it is in with a chance to romp home with a big margin. Tags: bhoothnath returns bhoothnath returns movie review bhoothnath returns review amitabh bachchan ranbir kapoor inShare Print MORE FROM NDTV IIFA 2014: John Travolta's favourite Bollywood actors IIFA thumakda: John Travolta dances with Hrithik, Priyanka Longtime bachelor George Clooney engaged to British lawyer: reports 2 States leads at box office, makes Rs 70 crores by Taboola Sponsored Content FROM THE WEB The Most Technically Challenging F1 Season has Begun. Here's WhyYouTube 50% Stock Market Collapse Looming (Prepare!)Newsmax LOL: Yuvraj to help AAP Campaign Pick up Speed?The Indian Republic Fisheries Should Contribute More to the EconomyFinancial Times MORE FROM THE WEBMORE FROM NDTV Lunchbox Packing Tips (Land O'Moms) Heart Attack: How Your Body Warns You Days Before (Newsmax Health) All Change in F1! Get an Exclusive View of Ferrari's Preparations (Shell) How to Book 5-Star Hotels on a Budget (StyleBlueprint) 10 Most Dangerous Cities in the World (Amerikanki) 5 Stylish Choli Design Ideas for a Bride-to-be (Bollywoodshaadis) by Taboola Sponsored Content Post Your Comment Advertisement MORE FROM NDTV IIFA 2014: John Travolta's favourite Bollywood actors IIFA thumakda: John Travolta dances with Hrithik, Priyanka MORE FROM THE WEB The Most Technically Challenging F1 Season has Begun. …YouTube 50% Stock Market Collapse Looming (Prepare!)Newsmax by Taboola Sponsored Content Don't Miss IIFA thumakda: Travolta dances Bollywood styleDance partners – Hrithik, Priyanka His favourite Bollywood actorsTwo actresses have caught his fancy Sanjeev Kumar: a life less ordinarySholay’s Thakur to his fans, Hari bhai to his friends IIFA fashion policeBipasha and gang dress to impress America The verdict on Revolver RaniIs Fearless Kangana the new Hunterwali? Read our review Priyanka on why IIFA should be named after herAnd how she deals with heartbreak How Kaanchi's Mishti got her nameShe's really called Indrani Anushka regretting NH10 u-turn?She evicted National Awardee Rajkummar Rao from film "Wasn't easy growing up in New York with a last name like Fakhri"Nargis learnt the hard way Clooney's suitable girlSerial bachelor reportedly engaged to British lawyer Advertisement About Us | Advertise | Feedback | Disclaimer | Investor | Complaint Redressal © Copyright NDTV Convergence Limited 2014. All rights reserved. ... full review

So-So, by Mansha Rastogi, Now Running.com : ...Bhootnath Returns is not as witty or humorous as it appears from its trailers. A film that could be entertaining all the way had it not lost its plot... full review

So-So, by Namrata Joshi, Outlook India : ...The film’s structure gets lopsided, the second half is uneven and overstretched, and often the director ends up overstating his good intentions. However, even though Bhoothnath Returns may sor­ely try your patience, at the same time it does make eminent sense too.... full review

So-So, by Sukanya Verma., Rediff : ...Whatever connect the towering Bachchan makes with his viewer is rudely disrupted to accommodate mediocre songs or misplaced sentimentalism in a prolonged slide show of poignant portraits making Bhoothnath's return quite a drag in the end.... full review

So-So, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...In the end the film leaves you with a preachy, but timely message. But again, it’s likely to be lost on children. If you don’t mind the supernatural comedy taking a somber turn towards the finale, the film is worth a watch! ... full review

So-So, by Somdatta Sen, Star Blockbuster : ...Today we live in a country where we have lost faith in humans doing any good to other. But Bhoothnath continues to s’care’. So just be with him for once and fantasize a better India.... full review

So-So, by SUDHISH KAMATH, The Hindu : ...If the first was Moral Instructions, this sequel is an entertaining Social Studies lesson for kid... full review

So-So, by Madhureeta Mukherjee, Times of India : ...So, you better go to the polling b(h)ooth on election day, because Bhoothnath says so! Or risk being 'haunted' by bad governance. ... full review

So-So, by Mr Care, Upper Stall : ...If nothing else, it’s good to see Mr Bachchan on screen after so long, and just for that, go watch... full review

So-So, by Rummana Ahmed, yahoo! India : ... ‘Bhootnath Returns’ is watchable because of the timeliness with which it brings you the message, “cast your vote” and “vote for change”. ... full review

So-So, by Aparna Mudi, ZEENEWS.COM : ...The music in `Bhoothnath...` is passable and not much is of mention. The real life images during the soulful `Sahib`, penned by Munna Dhiman, composed by Ram Sampath and rendered by Rituraj are heart rendering. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...that’s exactly the big mistake made by the makers of this much awaited sequel, wherein they couldn’t focus on the right target audience of their product at all who happened to be the kids in the age group of 6-14. Summing it all BHOOTHNATH RETURNS is just a misguided film having nothing in its content as per the expectations raised and the kid residing in me was really disappointed watching all those heavy-boring scenes, especially in its second half. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...The main problem with the film is it’s wayward script written by the director himself along with co-scriptwriter Piyush.... full review

13 tweeters(?) - 12 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

prasol: Watched Bhoothnath Returns. Very nice. @SrBachchan has acted superbly. Great message. Sad no Bhoothnath in #loksabhaelections #India

Nishtri13: Watched #Bhoothnath Returns Amazing movie with Grt message for society and at the right time of course @SrBachchan @niteshtiwari22 #Superb

nandinikkumar: Bhoothnath returns. Such an awesome and entertaining movie. @bomanirani @SrBachchan never fail to impress.

Mirzaahh: BhoothNath Returns is so funny.

jaiswalvj700: Ne'er a dull moment .. But event of the day .. Showing 'Bhoothnath Returns' to the family.

isushantbhatt: There is indeed a Beautiful message by @SrBachchan in movie Bhoothnath Returns!! #MustWatch #Elections2014 #BR

iShafkat: Bhoothnath Returns...outstanding movie! Hats off to @SrBachchan

imhelcian: #Bhoothnath Returns really well deserving as well as #2STATES...awsome entertainment of 2014

Dayyynnnaaa: The little boy in Bhoothnath returns is so cute omg

daredevil_1568: Bhoothnath Returns what a nice movie !!! must watch ...

BiswasNirmalya: I think Bhoothnath Returns is a watch atleast once. But contextual plot I thought. Mr Bachchan.. Hats off to you sir!!

atul27: yesterday watched the movie Bhoothnath Returns....Amitabh Bachan @ its best...still very active @ 70+.....kudos ||

aniket_s_j: Watched "Bhoothnath Returns".... Nice Film But Not So Good

4 readers - 3 yays 0 so-so 1 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Divya

Yay! Thumbs Up, by KnowAbutYou : 75

Yay! Thumbs Up, by TimELiebe : Not as good as the first movie - but a warmhearted comedy/drama with a bit of political satire!

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Suman

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

Parental Guidance:

  • 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.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Direction:
Story:
Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Dialogues:
Screenplay:
Music Director:
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Bhoothnath Returns - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Director:
Cinematography:
Running time:
155 minutes
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Comments (6)

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Suman Chakraborty

Direction: 1.5
Story: 0.5
Lead Actors: 2
Character Artists: 0.5

Dialogues: 0.5
Screenplay: 1
Music Director: 0.5
Lyrics: 0.5

Divya

....loved those signages...loved dharavi...loved mannerism of each of those sarkari babus...loved "bad kar. Puri duniya ko jod dega kya"...loved bhau s sidekick...loved amitabh in each and every frame ...loved that kid ...in fact...just for not being extra fussy...absolutely loved your review...

i think this movie make 50 cr in first week.

@Divya: Glad you enjoyed the film, and thank you for the kind words on the review!

Pardeep - Hey, good to see you reviewing mainstream Indian movies, man!

As for BHOOTHNATH RETURNS, my American friends and I really enjoyed the first one, describing it to others in the US as India's version of a Disney film, GHOST GRANDPA. So this sounds like fun, and I have to admit it will be interesting to see political hijinks from your country's PoV.

We can't wait for it to hit DVD or the one screen near us that shows Indian movies….

Saw this finally on Hulu (a television and movie streaming service in the US), and while it's not as good as the first one, Bhoothnath entering politics was good for a few laughs at political shenanigans which are the same all over - and Bachchan-ji is, as always, great to watch. (I'm sure that he had a blast mocking political chicanery, given his former career as a politician!)

Boman Irani as the villain - is a bit more problematic for me, because I don't think the movie had decided if he was a comical baddie or a for-real menacing one, so he tried to be both! If the writing and direction had been backing him up it could have been great (a silly munnabhai type you don't feel is a real threat - until he suddenly is), but it felt more like Irani had been left on his own, so unless the scene called for him to actually be sinister or menacing he went for the comedy, because...he's Boman Irani and he's a funny guy!

In the end - not as good as the first, but still enjoyable. Just don't want it on Hulu if it ever comes to India - we ended up watching ads every five minutes, it felt like!

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