Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Rating : 4/10
Running Time : 150 Minutes
Release Date : 9th May ‘08
Director & Writer : Vivek Sharma ; Music : Vishal-Shekhar
Starring : Amitabh Bachchan, Juhi Chawla, Aman Sidiqui and Shahrukh Khan in a very long guest appearance

The movie is about a ghost in a house (Amitabh as Bhootnath), who normally scares would-be residents away, but befriends a kid who’s come to stay, has some fun with him and then gets very very emotional in the second half. Above-mentioned kid is accompanied by Juhi as mom, while SRK as daddy works on a ship so is absent for large periods. This film forced me to ask several deeply philosophical questions. Can ghosts choose who they are visible to and whom not ? Can they decide to change their preferences or does this get ‘locked in’ ? Are they stuck to a place (like a house) or are they free to roam (go on holidays etc) ? Can they move physical objects ? Can ghosts cry ?

There were some nice touches in the film. I think more could’ve been made of Satish Shah’s fetish for tiffins, more could’ve been done with even the ghost and how it used different means to scare different people off. Maybe they could’ve even made it ( another philosophical one - do ghost’s have gender ? Is ‘it’ ok or should it be ‘him’ instead ?) a ghost who was just having fun (kind of like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day) instead of being a sulking, seething ghost ? Aman thankfully behaves like most normal kids do and is not sickly sweet like most Bollywood kids, except in a couple of scenes where he’s a got a ridiculous mix of ‘Kodak moment’ meets ‘Close-up confidence’ kind of a grin/smile. And Rajpal Yadav is getting too predictable and irritating. Do something different or retire is my humble plea - there are better ways to make money.

I think the director / producer here couldn’t quite figure out who was their target audience. Was it kids and adults who behave like kids or was it adults who behave like adults ? If it was the former, then the second half was too soppy and sentimental and even the first half needed a few more laughs. If it was the latter then the first half was too frivolous and even the second half’s sentimentality was a bit forced, a bit much-a-do-about-nothing. So the film, kind of like its lead character, Bhootnath, inhabits the mid-world, and is neither here, nor there. Being an active and hopefully lifelong member of the adults-behaving-like-children club, I just wish they had gone whole hog on the laughs !

PS – I think its safe to take kids to this one – some ‘scary’ moments in the first half but nothing which will lead to sleepless nights or huge psychiatry bills later in life…

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