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Bhoot Returns  : More titters than jitters
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Friday, October 12, 2012
Ram Gopal Varma
JD Chakravarthy, Manisha Koirala, Alayana Sharma

More comedy than scary, it’s a tepid remake of many old Ramu films, including Vaastu Shastra.

The plot: It begins with a note from the director: ‘Some people can’t wait to get new houses. Some houses can’t wait to get new people.’ Just as you sit up to watch something different, all that you get to see is old ghost in new 3D technique. Unabashedly relying on the drawing power of the 2003 hit Bhoot, to which Returns has no connection, horrifying changes happen in the Awasthi family when Tarun Awasthi (JD Chakravarthy), wife Namrata (Manisha Koirala), son Taman, six-year-old daughter Nimmi (Alayana Sharma) and servant Lakshman move into a new bungalow where there’s already someone else in residence – an eerie invisible presence called Shabbo. And there’s Tarun’s sister Pooja (Madhu Shalini) who has also dropped in to stay with the Awasthis, to flash the mandatory leg or two.

The Awasthis are trapped – Shabbo is angered when Lakshman suggests that they conduct a pooja in the house to drive away the ghost, the cops are tiresome when little Nimmi goes missing and they can’t get out of the house which seals all exits.

The good: The sound designed by Vikram Biswas is apt (even if it’s used for no reason in most places) and special mention may be made about the silent patches in the background score by Sandeep Chowtha, which add to the eeriness of the film. The performance by child artiste Alayana Sharma is worth noting.

The bad: Get this right, this film is not one bit scary despite the 3D. All that Chakravarthy and Manisha Koirala have to do is look tense, scream and screech at the invisible ghost lurking around their house. The camera is very brutally honest and you can catch Manisha’s wrinkles whenever her close-up comes up. JD Chakravarthy (long after Satya), still has to polish his diction and accent. Awasthi cannot be a coffee-drinking Southie.

Thankfully, you are spared the blood curdling scenes and the odd cat-n-owl in the screenplay and the story is told in a linear fashion. But it brings on titters more than jitters. Mercifully Madhu Shalini does not overact like she did in her mentor’s earlier turkey Department, though hers is a superfluous role that could have easily been dispensed with.

The music by Salim-Sulaiman makes you wonder why they have they lost their touch because you walk out of the theatre without recollecting even a single tune. Ram Gopal Varma should stick to making entertaining films like Rangeela and spare us horror films which look like weak comedies. And he has the gall to announce Bhoot 3?

Overall: Bhoot Returns is not the return of Ramu for sure. The old loyal audience won’t return to the theatre to lap this up.

– Jyothi Venkatesh

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