Phone Bhoot

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

quick review:

Most attempts at humour are scarily unfunny. No attempts at horror, so no fun there either. And yet the same concept with another story might be worth a try.

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Director: Gurmmeet Singh
Running time: 140 minutes
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Slapstick
More Movie Info

It’s difficult to respect a comedy film’s writing that relies so heavily on poking fun at ethnic stereotypes. Some of the other ‘comedy’ is annoying innuendo, silly and repetitive breaking of the fourth wall, and cringe-inducing slapstick. These attempts at humour water down the smiles coming from the jokes that are left over. And it’s not that that humour is rolling-on-the-floor funny, anyway. They are just regular ol’ Hindi film references, etc. Nothing too witty.

Yet, none of this can nudge Phone Bhoot into the watchable category.

In the almost 140-minute runtime, one line brought me a wide grin. The one said by the narrator at the interval break.

Unfortunately, it is not for want of comic timing by the actors that the lines fall flat. The performances actually made it possible to sit through the film, now that I was there. Katrina Kaif looks refreshingly comfortable in her game. Siddhant Chaturvedi can now add 'convincing buffoon' to his repertoire. Also, I was pleasantly surprised by Ishaan Khatter’s boyish charm. That Jackie Shroff restrains from bringing creeps and crawls despite ample potential is a credit to the direction he was under.

Yet, none of this can nudge Phone Bhoot into the watchable category—a shame, considering under the all-over-the-place fits-and-starts screenplay, was a concept well worth giving a shot again. Souls are being kept from being liberated, just because. Doesn’t that deserve a revamp with fresh eyes instead of a more-of-the-same sequel?

- meeta, a part of the audience

16 reviewers(?) - 1 yays 10 so-so 5 nays

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

Thumbs up, by Rachana Dubey, Times of India : ...Overall, Gurmmeet Singh puts out a unique horror comedy which is a departure from most material one has seen in the year so far. For that itself this one deserves a visit to the theatre.... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...As said earlier, all the elements of the film don’t hang together well. Watch the film if you like silly comedies.... full review

So-So, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...Keeping in mind the theme of the film, cinematographer KU Mohanan makes use of some kitsch elements to add a gothic flavour to the film. Manan Ashwin Mehta's editing turns out to be a blunt knife.... full review

So-So, by Nitin Jain, : ...Overall, don’t let the ‘bhoot’ mislead you with nothing bhootiya about this story, had the makers tried to push the envelope, the idea could have been outstanding for a bhootiya comedy.... full review

So-So, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Phone Bhoot is howlarious with its comedy but it doesn’t have anything spooktacular to add when it comes to its secondary genre. A fun watch despite all the grievances... full review

So-So, by Mohar Basu, MiD DAY : ...I didn’t mind spending a lazy afternoon watching a lazy film, comfortably tucked in a lazyboy at the multiplex near my house. There’s something so carefree about laughter and sometimes, that’s all you need!... full review

So-So, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...Phone Bhoot has a decent music album, but the video songs are smartly choreographed. Ganesh Hegde has taken us back to Govinda‘s Money Hai Toh Honey Hai dance form with Kinna Sona. The earlier portion of Kaali Teri Gutt is so good. Especially Ishaan has gone crazy there, and it’s somewhat funny too. The cinematography, editing, and VFX fare at a below-par level. Gurmmeet has studied a lot about horror legends, maybe. He mixes all the pop culture references, old horror comics, modern thoughts, social media and WhatsApp jokes, and even the technology into making one film. That’s quite confusing, for him and for the audiences as well. I saw the entire film but still couldn’t make out if the RAKA was a sculpture/idol of Boris Karloff from Frankenstein or Anirudh Agarwal from Bandh Darwaza (1990). Gurmmeet goes over the top with everything in the film, causing an alternate fall to his own building. As a whole, Phone Bhoot builds a decent structure out of multiple designs but forgets the basic engineering rules. Who knows; it was made for ghosts, not the audience.... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Recommended but with a minor health warning: Phone Bhoot isn't for all palates.... full review

So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Playful is fine. What Phone Bhoot lacks is personality. The makers are clear on the nature of Major and Gullu's bromance, but we still get glimpses to read more into it. Gullu has dreams about Major taking a bloody shower -- in case it doesn't ring a bell for those born in the last couple of decades, it's a hat tip to Purana Mandir, a gory classic of the Ramsay brothers. Rather than tease us with the sexual ambiguity, Phone Bhoot childishly jumps out to highlight the trivia lest us less horror buffs miss the connection.... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, : ...And this is just skimming the surface. The production design and VFX team must have had fun on this one. The actors – Jackie Shroff in particular – are in on the adolescent humour and deliver without trying too hard. Without its over-the-top cleverness, Phone Bhoot is an unstructured, make-it-up-as-you-go-along jumble. Just like the Ramsay Brothers horror movies, this one is either an acquired taste or goes straight into the so-bad-it’s-a-hoot pile.... full review

So-So, by Anuj Kumar, The Hindu : ...Not everybody’s cup of tea, Phone Boot is like the spirited blend of coffee and lassi that helps Gullu and Major take on the bluff of Atmaram.... full review

Thumbs down, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...From primitivism to paganism to heretic mumbo jumbo, where is Hindi cinema heading in pursuit of that elusive success? This is the same production house which has given us milestones like Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara? Is success so vital that you sell your soul to the devil?... full review

Thumbs down, by Anand Singh, Deccan Herald : ...There is nothing extraordinary about Katrina’s role and I am not sure if it warrants a visit to theatres.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ... full review

Thumbs down, by Isha Sharma, NewsBytes : ...An obvious, evident cinematic pastiche, Phone Bhoot has an interesting concept at its core, but the lack of sharp writing and hysterical instances stab it repeatedly. It tries, but it tries a little too hard. Forget about the extravagant popcorn, simply order a Disprin tablet, perhaps.... full review

Thumbs down, by Himesh Mankad, Pinkvilla : ...Phone Bhoot fails to deliver as a film – it’s neither scary nor funny – and ends up being a forgetful affair. Some of the gags and dialogues work in isolation, but that’s all about it. The world of spoof cinema won’t have many takers at the box office.... full review

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

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A few slaps, a supposedly comic climax fight
  • Language: Curse words are alluded to but not said out loud
  • Nudity & Sexual content: a lip-to-lip, mention of sex
  • Concept: Souls are being kept from being liberated, just because.
  • General Look and Feel: Loud and garish

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (2)

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Dear Meetu, thanks for enduring this for the sake of saving film buffs like us who read your reviews before thinking of whether to watch the movie or not..!

@Raj :D glad to be of service!

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