Children’s films are always a safe bet in Bollywood as they are aimed at the entire family and they can all watch it together. Although Bhoothnath may be perceived as a kiddie film from its promos, it really isn’t and it’s more of a family friendly film. The thing that helps Bhoothnath is that it attracts to all types of people and not just children. Although the film does lose its identity towards the end, it has its heart in the right place and is able to provide some nice light entertainment for the whole family. If you’re looking for a film to watch with your whole family that everyone will enjoy, then Bhoothnath just may be the film for you.
Bhoothnath tells the story of a bond between a ghost and a little boy. Banku (Aman Siddiqui) and his parents (Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla) move into a mansion in Goa where the spirit of its deceased owner is said to reside. The spirit known as ‘Bhoothnath’ (Amitabh Bachchan) tries to frighten Banku, but fails to do so. Slowly a bond forms between the two and they become friends. The rest of the story revolves around the friendship between Bhoothnath and Banku.
The story is very simple, but it is nice to watch the special bond an elderly ghost shares with the little boy. This could have easily been made into a movie that would have only attracted to kids, but with the right emotional quotient added, even the adults can enjoy it. The strong point of the film is definitely to watch the friendship between Banku and Bhoothnath. This is what makes the film an entertaining watch. The problem arises when the film tries to be something that it is not. In the second half of the film, particularly the final 30 minutes, and the film takes a serious turn and goes from becoming a light entertainer to an emotional drama. It puts the brakes on a relatively brisk ride. Bhoothnath’s background story puts a halt in the proceedings and totally changes the mood of the film. This turn would most likely put off some kids as they want to see mischief, not sobbing, being done by the ghost. Had the film avoided this dramatic turn and just left the emotions between the friendship of the boy and the ghost, the film would have been far more impactful.
The editing of the film is solid as it moves at a nice pace and runs at a little above two hours, so there are no worries about the kids becoming restless, unless they can’t bear the emotional final reels. But at no times do you feel the film is dragging and becoming a bore. The cinematography is alright. Some shots are well canned, but there is really nothing too special about it. There aren’t as many special effects as one may think. The little that there is is just about okay. It doesn’t really add much of an impact on the film.
Debutante director Vivek Sharma makes a promising debut. He does not try to do too much nor does he try to overwhelm you, which is basically what you ask for from a newcomer. He knows it is a simple film and treats it as one. He has a good handling of his craft and knows what he is doing, which is the most important thing. He just loses focus towards the end of the film when he tries to integrate a totally different genre into the movie. The script was going just fine right about until it makes the change towards the end. For the future, he needs to remember to give his movie an identity and to stick with it. But all in all, he has made a solid debut and is someone to look out for.
The music is just about mediocre. There is no standout track, but the best of the lot are Mere Buddy and Chalo Jaane Do. The placement of the songs are fine and do not cause a hindrance to the narrative. The picturizations of the songs are nice as well. But overall, there is nothing great about the soundtrack as we have definitely heard better from Vishal-Shekhar.
Amitabh Bachchan is great as the title character. It is good to see him do different things at this age even when one would think there is nothing new left for him to do. He suits the role perfectly and delivers yet another rock solid performance in the second innings of his career.
Matching the Big B step by step is child artist Aman Siddiqui. He is wonderful and truly a joy to watch on screen. The best thing was the chemistry he shares with the Big B. The movie rests on their shoulders and it is their bond that helps lift this movie. You can add little Aman to the list of great young talents in our industry.
Shah Rukh Khan, in an extended guest appearance, is effective. It would have been great to see him in a full fledged role though.
Juhi Chawla is terrific and it is great to see her doing significant roles once again. Also her chemistry with SRK is as good as ever.
Priyanshu is part of the unwanted track in the film, but he is decent nonetheless. Satish Shah is able to provide a few laughs. Rajpal Yadav is barely there and does not have much to do. His role was not really necessary.
Overall, Bhoothnath is a solid entertainer that loses its steam towards the end. It will still appeal to people of all ages. The movie is worth it mainly to see the chemistry between Amitabh Bachchan and Aman Siddiqui. Those in fear of it being a kiddie film fear not because it is a family film and I am sure it has something for everyone. This film would be a great watch with the entire family. So just give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.