DESPITE AN INTERESTING PREMISE, ‘BHOOT POLICE’ FAILS TO KEEP THE INTEREST INTACT

Rating: 2.5/5
Director Pavan Kripalani starts off on a high note, but loses shortly and meanders abruptly in a stretched film

This is a film for theatres. In an OTT, you won’t have even half the impact. Horror comedies are the new in-things it seems. But never think that they are easy to make. Never think that it’s easy to engage audiences with them. In a convincing setup of Bhoot Police, you are invested with belief in what’s going to happen. But the route that the story takes isn’t something that should have been taken. You clearly see potential, but it’s a case of an idea not executed well

Watch the trailer here:

PLOT

Vibhooti (Saif Ali Khan) and Chairaunji (Arjun Kapoor) are tantrik brothers, with their skill passed on to them in lineage. Vibhooti believes that ghosts don’t exist and only wishes to earn using people’s superstitions. On the other hand, Chiraunji is proud of his lineage and believes that they have a gift they must respect.

STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL

The screenplay is written by Kripalani, Pooja Ladha Surti and Sumit Batheja. It’s a believable setup. The idea works well. Two brothers, who in the opening scene itself establish themselves and their entire sketch. It’s a high note in the film. Why they do what they do. You’re surely in for a roller coaster ride, that’s what you think and wish for. The manner in which the opening scene sets the tone, you aren’t ready to think that this can go wrong.

But that’s how stories are. Hundred directions to one line of tale. This one here takes the wrong one. Undoubtedly, the script has potential. There is logic to the back stories of these two brothers and what the characters think. There’s also layer to the story and the existence of spirits. But when the actual story starts playing involving Yami Gautam and Jacqueline Fernandes, narrative starts falling. Humour is not an issue. As in, it’s not a great dose of laughter but manages to keep you amused. Issue is the dullness in what it shown.

bhoot police, disney+hotstar, review, film, hindi, 2021
Scenes from the film (image source: youtube.com)

The scenes carry forward the story but not with a punch. You see them happening, pass through them, without much effect. Even the presence of ghosts don’t spook you, because the scenes are written in a casual way. Also, this incident involving the two girls wanting them to rid of the ghost from their tea estate is overly stretched. You feel a good 20-25mins could be chopped off, because once this part begins, it’s a unidirectional plot with not many layers to the story.

You also start predicting after a point. The track involving Javed Jaffery hasn’t been lapped up and seems a forced inclusion. Of course the actor is wasted but even the runtime is not paid heed to. The drama becomes convenient for the writers. Infact it seems that the writers themselves lost interest midway and kept writing on whatever came to their minds the first. This is clearly not baked well. Not that the story is rubbish, but it is definitely not taken ahead rightly.

The film kicks off with the new age methods that the brothers employ but then resort to the same age old tropes of using a language that seems funnier than being logical.

PERFORMANCE

Saif Ali Khan delivers a seasoned performance, although it is not his best. He’s done better things before. Here, all he had to do was bring star power to the table which he does supremely well. You watch most of the film for him.

Arjun Kapoor is okay, like many of his previous works. You watch him casually and will even forget him soon after the film is over.

bhoot police, disney+hotstar, hindi, review, film, 2021
Actors of the film during promotions (image source: instagram)

Yami Gautam and Jacqueline Fernandes both look stunning, for one. Yami acts nicely, has a say in the drama. So does Jacqueline for her character. But she falters in her acting and dialogue delivery. For the sake of convenience, she’s been made to reside in London, who’s come to India for some time.

Javed Jaffrey does nicely. But again his caricaturish avatar fails to impress you. And you blame the writers.

OTHER TECHNICALITIES

The songs by Sachin-Jigar are just okay. Easily forgettable. The background score by Clinton Cerejo is impressive for many parts of the film. Had this been in theatres, you would have surely got the chills.

Cinematography by Jayakrishna Gummadi works well for the film, especially the night sequences. They have been lit up as per the requirement of the scenes. Infact, you like the film to some extent because the look of the film feels strong. Production design by Anita Rajgopalan and Donald Reagan Stanley also has been done satisfactorily by creating sets that give you fair idea of what the story is about.

Editing by Pooja Ladha Surti could be better. There are quite a few dull moments and also the film feels stretched.

Moral of the story is- think before you proceed in any one direction ahead in a story. Ask yourself- is there a better direction possible?

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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