Hindi (U) *
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani, Parth Bhalerao, Sanjay Mishra, Usha Jadhav
You expect the film to be good when its makers utilise good acting, dialogues, story-telling and music to develop a good premise to have you hooked within the first 20-25 minutes.
The achievement appears bigger considering that the this has happened without a single vulgar act or a topic that requires maturity to understand.
Then again, director Nitesh Tiwari is nothing new to this type of filmmaking: He had viewers impressed through most of Chillar Party, with beautifully developed characters, sterling performances and sparkling dialogue.
But while Chillar Party was an all-out children's film—which let the audience forgive a few lapses—Bhoothnath Returns loses sight of its target audience after those promising initial minutes. What starts off as another “spirit”-ed adventure turns ghastly fast, and by the time it all ends, the novelty factor melts away like an apparition as soon as the lights are turned back on.
It begins with the original Bhoothnath (Amitabh Bachchan) being made fun of by the other ghosts for having failed to scare a child (as we saw in the original film). So, the top boss in “Bhoot-world”, the afterlife office where people go to be reincarnated, allows him to return to Earth to salvage his honour by scaring some more children. Our otherwise-friendly ghost manages to do that, but only with the help of tough-outside-soft-inside Akhrot (Parth Bhalerao). So, he decides to help him and his mother (Usha Jadhav) out.
A few comic capers later, the duo runs into corrupt politico Bhausaheb (Boman Irani), and decides to topple him by contesting elections, aided by probably the most hare-brained lawyers ever (Sanjay Mishra). It is after this point in the film that the narrative fast devolves into the crooked-politician-versus-hapless-common-man story, and never recovers. And even as you expect a very strong climax and a satisfactory resolution after quite a bit of meandering, Tiwari delivers what can best be described as the Election Commission's voting propaganda!
The audience is forced to leave the hall with a keen sense of disappointment on all fronts, especially after hopes went up after a very strong start. There is little good to write in praise of Bhoothnath Returns, and without the few just-average performances it boasts of, it's not worth watching, even for the kids! For, who wants their kids to keep mum about a death threat when speaking about it could have made a world of difference?