Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2
Director: Aneez Bazmee
Cast: Tabu, Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Rajpal Yadav, Sanjay Mishra
Released in theatres.
Priyadarshan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007) is my favourite film in the horror-comedy genre. And I think it still remains the best one coming from India in the genre. Amar Kaushik’s Stree (2018) is a close second. Anees Bazmee’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is the spiritual (and spirited) sequel to Priyadarshan’s film which was also a remake of Manichitrathazhu (1993). The commonality between both Bhool Bhulaiyaas is the possessed character of Manjulika immortalized by Vidya Balan. In the sequel Manjulika is played by Tabu. No disappointment there. There’s another character that gets a reprieve is Chhote Pandit played by Rajpal Yadav.
The rest of the movie is drastically different from its predecessor. Its tone, pitch, and horror-comedy has Anees Bazmee written all over it. Bazmee is far better a writer than a director. For what it’s worth his comic capers like No Entry, Welcome, Singh Is Kinng have a certain charm of conviction in them. It is after quite some time that the writer Bazmee is in form. There are some really fun one-liners in the film. Most of them were given to the film’s male lead Kartik Aaryan. Kartik makes most of these lines land where and when they’re supposed to land. He pretty much walks through the film like Akshay Kumar did in the original.
Also read: Kartik Aaryan Visits Siddhivinayak Temple to Seek Blessing for the Success of Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2
Akshay has impeccable comic timing and the ability to pull off physical comedy. Kartik delivers the lines well but his physical comedy falls short by miles. There’s a certain stiffness in his acting but at the same time an ease in his personality which I think works for him. The audience surely likes him. I watched this show in a packed theatre. A group of teenagers, mostly girls, were enjoying themselves throughout.
For me, the film started on an obnoxious note, I knew it’s not the type of cinema that I enjoy the most, and I certainly miss the Priyadarshan comedies these days, but I decided to play along as I didn’t have any high expectations after watching the trailer. And I think this is the best way to watch this film – don’t expect anything. And it does pay off eventually for whatever it’s worth. The first half makes its way to the interval stumbling. But the second half has real drama. For a brief time, it felt like ‘ghost’ directed by Abbas-Mustan. If you have a good guessing game, you know where it is headed. But its Tabu’s magnificence and the comic tropes of Sanjay Mishra and Rajpal Yadav provide thrills and laughs.
While Priyadarshan’s film was also a technical knockout. Here, the horror and thrills come at the liberal use of go-to camera angles & shots and background music which relies heavily on the peppy title track derived from the original. As far as the performances are concerned, Tabu and Kartik get most material to play with. Kiara Advani appears as and when needed. Don’t look for too much logic. It’s more about (black) magic. It was also difficult to identify the interrelationships between the characters. For a long time, I had trouble figuring out who is Tabu’s husband, Milind Gunaji or Amar Upadhyay?
While watching Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 I was simultaneously thinking about the curious case of a mass entertainer. The supposedly Hindi mass ‘family’ entertainers released post pandemic haven’t fared well at the box office. Plus, three films from south, Pushpa, RRR, KGF, dominated the Box Office. Going by the public reactions in the theatre, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 might just give something to cheer for the Hindi industry. Although this is not my type of movie, there were certain moments that I genuinely enjoyed. The second half, although I had anticipated what would happen by the end, kept me invested in the film. The factor to be taken into consideration here is that suspense, however averagely handled, keeps you invested, as if you want to know how the hell it all ended.
Bhool Bhulaiyaa also has a certain nostalgia attached to it. My generation was in college. I still remember watching the film twice in theatres, shit scared on both occasions. It was a phase of Priyadarshan comedies, Akshay Kumar’s rising superstardom, Pritam’s peppy music. The title track still has a dedicated fan base which is why it’s being remixed and promoted aggressively. Even the background score overuses it sometimes. To sum it up, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is a well-packaged mass entertainer and those who like this type of cinema won’t be disappointed.