Movie Review: BHOOT RETURNS by FENIL SETA
Bollywood has dished out many horror films over the years and a common element in most of them is a family moving into a large house that is haunted. Ram Gopal Varma himself has come up with films like Raat, Bhoot and Vastu Shastra and now comes up with Bhoot Returns, all of which having the haunted house as the common element. Yet, all 4 are distinct thanks to content and execution and Bhoot Returns is no exception. And this time, RGV uses the 3D to his advantage and the results are extra-ordinary! Worth a go!
The story of the movie: Tarun (J D Chekravarthy) moves into a luxurious bungalow at a rather cheap rent. His wife Namrata (Manisha Koirala) is initially hesitant but she decides to give in when their children, Taman (Kaushank) and Nimmi (Alayna Sharma) readily approve of the new house. Tarun’s sister, Pooja (Madhu Shalini) drops in during the vacation who givers a thumbs up to the house as well. While exploring her new home, Nimmi comes across a doll. Soon, strange occurrences start happening in the house. Nimmi claims to have an ‘imaginary’ friend called Shabbo. At the middle of the night, the family hears strange sounds and knocks on the main door. Nimmi claims it’s Shabbo who’s doing it! Tarun rubbishes Nimmi’s claims but as more and more eerie and strange incidents happen in the house, Tarun and family start to think otherwise. Will they able to get to the bottom of the issue and come up with solution before it’s too late?
Bhoot Returns is just 90 minutes long and Ram Gopal Varma doesn’t waste time in the initial portions. The conventional route is introducing characters, their special traits and so on. But RGV gets down to business from the opening credits itself and let’s character traits come out as the film progresses. Thankfully, there are no skin-show, scantily clad girls and intimacy since there was no room for it at all. Having said that, the first half however is extremely slow. Nothing happens in most of the scenes, some of them even testing your patience. But the undercurrent of horror remains. And few scenes here and there do give viewers a jolt.
Things get better in the second half though. A lot of twists and turns are there in the final 30 minutes that surely give a scare. The climax could have been better in terms of VFX but the impact nevertheless is generated. What also work big times are the trademark RGV camerawork and the 3D, both of which are smartly used. In fact, this is the best 3D I have seen in Bollywood till date!
J D Chekravarthy shines in his performance and it was a pleasure to see the Satya actor in a Bollywood film after a hiatus. Same goes for Manisha Koirala, who looks ravishing and delivers a fine performance. Madhu Shalini looks hot and performs well. Kaushank is okay in small role. The actors who play the inspector and the servant Laxman were too good in their respective roles. But the star of the film undoubtedly is Alayna Sharma. She’s adorable but also sends a chill down the spine. Great work!
Sandeep Chowta’s background score is apt. Harshraj Shroff and M Ravichandran Thevar’s cinematography was crazy but worked perfectly in the setting. 3D, as said before, was too good. Ravi Shankar’s story was interesting but its Ram Gopal Varma’s direction that makes the difference. The director is a master when it comes to horror and manages to scare the audiences. Also, a kid getting possessed is nothing new and has been in so many films, both in Bollywood as well as in the West. In that context, RGV ensures that the kid in the film stands out, which again is a plus point in the film. On the flipside, the first half could have been better and the tacky VFX in the climax somehow dilute the impact. But a great effort nevertheless!
Some of the best scenes:
1. Tarun-Namrata-Pooja hear knocks on the door for the first time
2. Tarun-Namrata-Pooja hiding from each other at midnight
3. Pooja’s nightmare
4. Pooja installs cameras
5. Family call the cops
6. The final 20 minutes
On the whole, Bhoot Returns is fine horror thriller, deftly executed in true-blue RGV style. Of course it’s not the best but succeeds in giving a thrilling time to the viewers in those 90 minutes. 3D is superb and the kid, Alayna Sharma, is cute but at the same time, scares the daylight out of viewers. The film sadly hasn’t got favourable reviews. It’ll be wrong to make assumptions but critics seem to be prejudiced when it comes to RGV films. If desi horror films are your cup of tea, do give the film a try, in 3D that too!
My rating-*** out of 5!
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