When Bhoothnath released back in 2008 it did not make much of a mark. It was declared an average grosser at the box office but the kids lapped it up in the subsequent television viewings. So when the sequel was announced we expected more of the same buffoonery from the character of Bhootnath. Does it live up to the billing?
Story: After having fallen prey to the might of a child’s cuteness in Bhoothnath Part 1, the cute ghost character goes back to the land of Ghosts but gets mocked at because he failed to scare any children. To correct that, he is again sent back to earth so that he can scare off some children for real this time. However, as luck would have it Bhoothnath befriends another child (Parth Bhalerao) and solves his problems. The bigger problem arises in the second half when Bhootnath decides to contest the elections to get rid of the corrupt dictator-like politician Bhau (Boman Irani).
Review: Director Nitesh Tiwari showed his skills in working with child actors in his debut directorial feature Chillar Party. Here also, he extracts a great performance from Parth Bhalerao and thereby makes the film a lot more fun in the first half. But unfortunately, Bhoothnath Returns is plagued by the case of changing genres midway through the film and it takes the shape of a political drama in the second half. This won’t go down well with the kids. As a result, Bhoothnath Returns will be enjoyed more by the adults than by the kids. Nitesh Tiwari has made a good conscientious film about current affairs and that should be applauded.
The technical aspects of Bhoothnath Returns are good. The production designer has created the slum and replicated the life of a slum in an authentic way. The cinematographer has captured the frames well. The music of Bhootnath Returns is above average with the only hummable tune being the Mika Singh sung Party Toh Banti Hai song.
Acting: Very seldom can it be said that some other actor has outshined Amitabh Bachchan in a film but Parth Bhalerao steals ever scene he is in. He is effortless, charming and completely fits the part. It also pays that he can make the audience cry. Amitabh Bachchan reprises the role of Bhoothnath which he loves doing and is first rate but in a few scenes we get to see Bachchan rather than Bhoothnath. Boman Irani is terrific as the corrupt politician and the casting director should be lauded for casting Boman. Sanjay Mishra is another scene stealer and most of his scenes stand out.
Conclusion: 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.
Box Office: Bhoothnath Returns has opened poorly, but if the film manages to appeal to its target audience (children) it might do well in the long run.
- The topical and unique storyline
- The first hour which is hilarious
- Parth Bhalerao’s splendid performance
- Amitabh Bachchan as Bhoothnath
- The production design
- The overblown drama and sentiments in the second half make the film a tad too serious
- The film lacks a linear plotline