Film Review: Kartik, Tabu steal show in Bhool Bhulaiya 2

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Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani in Bhool Bhulaiya 2. Photo: Universal Communications / T-Series

Go on. Entertain yourself. Laugh a lot, chill out generally and get that occasional dose of scary thrill.

Bhool Bhulaiya 2 crams huge family entertainment in its 2.23 runtime. DOP Manu Anand’s picturesque shoots in and around Manali set the tone for a horror-cum-comedy-cum family drama based in Rajasthan. We have the beloved elements from the now-cult 2007 Bhool Bhulaiya: a haunted haveli (mansion), an imprisoned evil spirit named Manjulika, the well-known melody Ami je tomar and the title-track, which are both Pritam compositions re-created here. We even have a crazy pandit—Rajpal Yadav again, repeated from the original. But as filmmaker Anees Bazmee told me recently (please read Anees Bazmee interview), all of these repeats are used in fresh, totally different contexts and manner.

Turns out Manjulika (Tabu), this time, is the evil twin of Anjulika, and her spirit has been imprisoned in a sealed room by the machinations of a tantrik (Govind Namdeo) for 18 years. After killing her father (Kali Prasad Mukherjee), Manjulika had wanted to kill her sister because the man she loved from the Rajasthani family (Amar Upadhyay) was married off to Anjulika. Instead, in a scuffle on the wedding night, Manjulika has been accidentally killed and turns into a malefic spirit.

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Reet (Kiara Advani), a medical student, meanwhile encounters the wanderlust-struck Ruhan (Kartik Aaryan) in Manali, and due to a chain of events best watched, has to be pretend to have died in a bus accident as far as her family is concerned! She brings Ruhaan to her ancestral haveli, where he meets her father (Milind Gunaji), uncle (Rajesh Sharma) and the entire clan and, while she is in hiding in the huge mansion as she is “dead”, pretends to be someone who can talk to the dead, including Reet!

Among the skeptics of his ‘gift’ are the uncle’s brattish son Potlu (Samarth Chauhan), two priests, Chhote Pandit (Rajpal Yadav) and Bada Pandit (Sanjay Mishra) and the latter’s wife (Ashwini Kalsekar) who con the rich family whenever possible. And due to another chain of incidents, the room in which the spirit is locked up has to be opened. What happens next?

Complete with an innovative twist in the climax, Bhool Bhulaiya 2 is ingeniously constructed and delivered with a series of delightful one-liners and visual fun even in most of the horror sequences. The one-liners are delightful and their audio-visual impact, thanks to some great acting, is enhanced greatly. To be sure there are humongous licenses taken with logic, some avoidable, like the murders of the tantrik and his associates, which simply do not fit in with the denouement—yes, there is one!

However, the highly imaginative culmination of Bada Pandit’s deafness and even the sequence featuring Anjulika and Ruhaan when he first ventures near the room in which Manjulika’s spirit is locked in are highlights in the comic and narrative aspects of the plot respectively, among many others.

The technical side is brilliant, and Red Chillies VFX needs to be congratulated for their overall work. The choreography of the title-track is superb and the background music (Sandeep Shirodkar) impressive. Anees Bazmee is back in form after his last dud (Pagalpanti) and the lukewarm Welcome Back. The wackiness in every aspect of the film—romantic, horror-based or comic—is clearly him, as it reflects his persona.

And it is Kartik Aaryan and Tabu who steal the show. Kartik has made immense strides in his acting skills, even granting his earlier accomplishments, and something in me senses that the man, who is also a superb dancer, can evolve into the next Sanjeev Kumar. A mountain of a compliment, and that’s a gut feeling that can go wrong but usually does not!

Tabu, in an author-backed double role, is brilliant, especially in the climax. The actress is generally kept away from the comic aspect of the story—which all said and done, is a mammoth task when both she and the humor element dominate. Just like with the action genre, no comedy can work sans and emotional base, and this is exactly what she provides with her characters. Jealousy, grief, anger, care—everything is showcased through her.

Kiara Advani is excellent as Reet, though she hardly has any meat in her role. Sanjay Mishra dominates the three funny pundits effortlessly, as Rajpal Yadav, though good, does his usual OTT turn. Ashwini Kalsekar, as always, is a delight as Sanjay’s wife. Rajesh Sharma is a scream as Chacha, and so is Samarth Chauhan as his son.

In these days when people, perhaps even more than before, are looking for great entertainment, this movie is your ticket to it.

Rating: ***1/2

T-Series Films and Cine1 Studios present Bhool Bhulaiya 2  Produced by: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Murad Khetani  Directed by: Anees Bazmee Written by: Aakash Kaushik, Farhad Samji, Sparsh Khetarpal & Tasha Bhambra Music: Pritam & Tanishk Bagchi Starring: Tabu, Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Rajpal Yadav, Milind Gunaji, Ashwini Kalsekar, Kali Prasad Banerjee, Rajesh Sharma, Amar Upadhyay, Samarth Chauhan, Sanjay Mishra, Karmveer Choudhary, Govind Namdeo, Sajida Khan, Sparsh Walia, Mehek Manwani, Lila Patel, Sanaya, Samaira & others

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