Director Hardik Mehta takes charge of this horror-comedy making sure you are amazed in the major chunk
Right from promoting the film by saying ‘From the makers of Stree‘ or ‘Ab Mard Ko Zyada Dard Hoga‘ (an extended version of the tagline of Stree), Roohi does remind you of Rajkummar-Shraddha starrer. When Hardik Mehta said his film has got nothing to do with Stree, he probably meant it not for the cinematic feel, but for the content. Yes, the content is indeed very different. What remains similar is the genre and treatment, which of course is likeable. Having said that, this totally remains a film of theatres.
Watch the trailer here:
In a remote village, bride kidnapping is casually prevalent. A boy likes a girl and considers it his right to kidnap her and marry her forcibly. In the same village, a myth goes by the name of a witch hunt who abducts those very girls who’ve been forcibly kidnapped, thus safeguarding their lives. Two small time reporters Bhawra (Rajkummar Rao) and Katanni (Varun Sharma), who are also part time kidnappers have ride of their lives when they kidnap Roohi (Janhvi Kapoor).
Written by Mrighdeep Singh Lamba and Gautam Mehra, the story does have merit. More than anything, the dialogues here must be hailed, even more than the idea and basic content. The one liners, the accent with which they are spoken by Rajkummar-Varun, the little examples and nuances (references to Elon Musk, NASA, Hindi films, and many others) brought in are extremely hilarious. The sounds and old Hindi songs used in the background at places, especially during the love track of Katanni are amazing.
The story does seem to have substance in the initial bit and the build up is also palpable. However, the makers seem to lose it midway, not forever, but points in between. The dull points are many, in both the halves. Also, you do feel that film is stretched even in the first half unnecessarily. You want some unfolding. But it doesn’t appear. The writing is the weak point, and not the direction. Mehta tries hard and well to keep you engaged, which he does reasonably decently.
The love track, or rather the triangle shown is something that you don’t see coming. When it does come, you commend the audacity of the makers to think of something like this. It is because of this aspect that the film gains momentum. This one part provides the film an edge. However, this doesn’t sustain logically. Many things in the film keep wandering on an illogical note, which for the entertainment quotient are still fine but seem plastic from the believability point of view.
The genre and its core are maintained all through, for the major part wherein the laughs keep coming in along side decent hints of horror. Basically thrill and not primarily horror. The chemistry between the two men is the sure shot highlight of the film where Varun is as main a lead as Rajkummar. Equal weightage, great dialogues, say in the plot, contribution in the narrative are both impeccably divided.
As the film nears the climax in the second half, things begin to weaken to a considerable amount and you don’t relate. Things are thrown at you only asking you to believe, no questions asked. Do this, do that, this should be done, the spirit wants this. Why? There’s no concrete belief or even rumoured myth to that. The feminist angle also crops up, by the very nature of the positioning. But it hardly makes an impact. Of course, the film remains entertaining. And that’s a respite. Yes, it remains entertaining only because of Rajkummar-Varun who keep up the charm till the very end.
Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma are both equal. Same. No difference. The film becomes what it is because of both of them. Of course, they have their distinctness that they offer to the narrative. You see Rajkummar and feel ahh, that’s such an easy task. But think of it, it’s no cakewalk. A great job done by him, as always. Varun Sharma on the other hand, although seems similar like his earlier stints, surpasses himself. Together, they strike gold.
Janhvi Kapoor is very good, not great. She maintains a certain persona all through. Good thing. Even as a spirit, she performs well. Of course, she shows what she’s capable of in the vulnerable parts of her character.
Manav Vij is good. Could be better. He has a supporting role, playing the wicked boss of the two men. He does his job fine. Sarita Joshi has a small role and more than performance, she instills confidence in the narrative.
Music by Sachin Jigar is soothing with ‘Kiston’ being the only song in the film to stand out. One featuring Varun-Janhvi is entertaining of course. The other two tracks are also contributing to the popularity of the film indeed. Background score by Ketan Sodha is satisfactory. The transitions from happy to thrilling times is noteworthy. Those little points are when you know what mood you are supposed to get in.
Amalendu Chaudhary’s camera does give you a good time watching this one. The sets are also chosen wisely. The jungles, the dilapidated wooden factory, old idols add to the spooky nature of the scene. The night scenes with little lighting are captured well.
Editing by Huzefa Lokhandwala could be tighter definitely. The film could be cut short by 15-20mins easily and had the writing of course been done thinking of editing, it would have been a sharper film.
Watch this one in theatres only. Watch it on TV or phone or laptop, you’ll see the film falling flat. This is a good attempt, but definitely could be better, in the content.