Starring Tabu, Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Rajpal Yadav
Directed by Anees Bazmi
You know what you are getting into when you sign up for this. So you might as well lie back and enjoy it. Bhool Bhulaiya 2 proceeds with the same line of thought that has manoeuvred Anees Bazmi’s mirth yatra through decades of lowbrow entertainment.
Bazmi is a direct descendent of Priyadarshan’s school of comedy: a huge unwieldy cast brought into a kind of tightly-knit control by a writing that invites buffoonery and incites titters from the audience.
Ask anyone why they have so much fun in a Bazmi burlesque, and they will tell you, it’s because it isn’t taken to be taken seriously. Neither is a monkey doing tricks at the roadside. Even ‘serious’ actor Tabu dips into the droll drum with lipsmacking relish. Without giving away too much of the plot, suffice it to say that Tabu plays two sisters one nice and friendly the other bloody evil.
I am afraid Tabu is like a fish out of water in the slinky and sly screenplay(Aakash Kaushik) which covers the wide spectrum from humour to horror with a death-defying audacity. In the process of unveiling what seems like a fairly logical plot progression since the ghost Manjulika created havoc in the haveli 17 years ago, Bhool Bhulaiya gets all its zigzaggy steps right.
Bazmi enters the haveli of hilarity with tremendous confidence. It is an arrogant adventure buttressed by some fine cinematography(Manu Anand) underlined by a sense of fun,mostly converging on Kartik Aaryan’s considerable comic acumen. He is constantly entertaining, even when the screenplay ceases to be so.
There is this whole deeply awkward episode where Kartik’s character Ruhaan(rooh…Ruhan…get it) pretends to be taken over by Manjulika’s spirit.
More evil than Manjulika is the sloppy sagging writing which very often comes in the way of the film’s otherwise-clenched storytelling. Another problem here is that the characters in the first Bhool Bhulaiya film which came fifteen years ago are not known to today’s average 20-something moviegoer. The film swarms with people from the earlier film like wedding crashers. This time they don’t succeed in taking the plot wherever it hasn’t reached before.
But there is always Kartik, goofily grinning his way into what is clearly a slice-of-‘laugh’ gambit, and seemingly successful one at that. Some of the supporting cast is enjoyable. Actors like Sanjay Mishra, Rajpal Yadav, Rajesh Verma and the neglected Ashwini Kalsekar can sail through this chaotic kingdom of mirth and mayhem with their eyes closed.
But my sympathies to Amar Upadhyay who once was a star. From soap he swings tragically into sop with a role that requires him to look vacantly into the air as though he had just seen a ghost. It is another matter that he has.
Kiara Advani’s character is supposed to be dead at the start of the film. Dead or alive, the character makes no difference to the screenplay. Tabu’s character does make a difference, both living and dead. Welcome to the world where witticism is a catchphrase and fun is to be had only if you forget to be judgemental. Even a monkey performing tricks at the roadside merits laughter.