BHOOTHNATH RETURNS is noble and relevant, but extremely wide-eyed!
While it lucidly puts forth the issues that India faces today and makes them comprehensible across a larger audience, as a film it comes across as too simplistic and childlike. It’s neither dull nor unwatchable, but misses those smart satires and is dragged beyond need, repetitively, to insist on what it preaches.
BHOOTHNATH RETURNS takes Bhoothnath`s (Amitabh Bachchan) story forward. As he returns to the “Bhoot World”, he is greeted with taunts and condemnation from other ghosts for bringing disrepute to the ghost-community for getting bullied by a kid on Earth. Post the humiliation, Bhoothnath decides to redeem himself and come back to scare a bunch of kids. His search for kids brings him to Akhrot (Parth Bhalerao), a slum kid who is also the only person who can see him.Together they agree to help each other and their friendship sees them get involved in a cause that is bigger than they had ever imagined. They take on one of the country`s most powerful and corrupt politician Bhau (Boman Irani). The fact that Lok Sabha elections are nearing and Bhau`s victory is a mere formality, makes their task even more challenging.
The film starts off animatedly with fantasy of life-after-death in a place called ‘Bhoot World’ and initially appears to be intended purely towards 10-year-olds. But slowly it gathers momentum and becomes more relevant. The theme moves around the corrupt political system and bureaucracy, and how it adversely affects the common citizen in general. With elections round the corner in the real India too, every scene becomes relatable. The issues tackled here definitely move the general public, and itcouldn’t have come at a better time than this. If only the screenplay included some intelligent satires. The humour is mostly puerile and sometimes slapstick. The content is rich in significance and implication, but despite all the preaching, it never really delivers any solid resolution. Perhaps a tad deeper script  could’ve helped its cause. Nevertheless, in the current form it somehow caters to masses at large, across all age groups.
The performances are good, but a smarter script could’ve elevated them immensely. As of now, there are shades of buffoonery evident across all characters. Amitabh Bachchan is absolutely riveting and is involved in every scene. His energy is inspiring and that he acts brilliantly goes without saying. Parth Bhalerao, playing the young ‘Akhrot’ performs really well. He brings that natural rural flavour in his act and is very convincing throughout. Boman Irani is yet again brilliant. He portrays the grey shade like no one else does, evoking humour with hatred. All others do their job well.
In all, BHOOTHNATH RETURNS is poignant and pertinent but lacks the smartness that a satire of this nature demands. Nevertheless, definitely worth a watch!
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