Directed by Ram Gopal Verma and written by Ravi Shankar, Bhoot Returns is sequel to the 2003 thriller Bhoot. Bhoot had also been an RGV directorial and starred Urmila Matondkar in an outstanding performance. Bhoot Returns, however does not live up to the original and is unfortunately and evidently, a failed attempt. Horror films are meant to be spooky and not whatever Bhoot Returns transpired into being.
Tarun (J.D Chakravarthy) and Namrata Awasthi (Manisha Koirala) move into a new house with their two children, Taman and Nimmi (Alayana Sharma). Nimi often talks about a friend called Shabbo and says that she plays with Shabbo all the time. Tarun’s sister Pooja (Madhu Shalini) comes home for the holidays who find’s Nimmi’s obsession with this imaginary Shabbo rather weird and more than just child’s play. Pretty soon random unexplained occurances in the house start being noticed such as noises at night such as the sound of footsteps. Nimi’s behaviour continues in the same way and eventually Tarun and Namrata decide a psychiatrist needs to be consulted to get rid of this imaginary friend. All the while their domestic help Lakshman tries to warn them about the paranormal happenings but they refuse to believe it until they face the truth themselves.
The story develops in the most predictable and tedious manner. While the duration of the film is only two hours it somehow feels much longer. Everything about the movie has been shown umpteen times in horror films. RGV has even attempted to replicate scenes from Paranormal Activity with a Indian cinema touch. He has also repeated scenes from his older movies too, like those from Vaastu Shastra. The sounds effects are nothing different either, the same knocking on the door or a child laughing. Symbolism is repeated too, with a doll being given to Nimmi by Shabbo which is used to show the presence of the supernatural being. To add to the already mess of a script, there are some not-so-funny and ridiculous scenes which seem to be there just to fill the two hour duration of the film. RGV has basically mixed all his movies and made a disastrous ‘return’, making people wish it was never made as compared to Bhoot, which continues to still be held in high regard.
Manish Koirala seems to have forgotten how to act and has given a very average performance. J.D Chakravarthy does a fine job. Madhu Shalini went overboard with her expressions in almost every scene. Her ‘scared’ expressions seem to be a mix of fear and confusion. Alayana Sharma stole the show, in fact her performance is the only thing that keeps you glued to the seat. She was a complete delight to watch, as the perfect Barbie doll or as the possessed child. Her expressions were balanced, dialogue delivery just like it should be and most importantly, she made her presense felt onscreen.
Bhoot Returns fails to scare anyone, except poor Alayana who is said to have freaked out on seeing her performance. And why would you not as she is the saving grace of this ‘horror’ film. Bhoot Returns doesn’t bring anything new horror genre and definitely no novel concept. It most certainly isn’t anything which would send chills down your spine, as it supposedly intends to. There is nothing to look out for in this film and if you are sitting in an empty theatre, you would probably want to scream out the movies from which the scenes have been repeated and predict the movie throughout. Make sure you have enough food with you to keep you from voicing your annoyed feelings if in the rare case the theatre has a crowd which is a doubtful occurance at best.