Movie Review: ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’

One of the numerous remakes of Fazil’s Malayalam blockbuster Manichitrathazhu was Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007). The Hindi version amplified the humour aspect, with an unconventionally humourous Akshay Kumar starring as a conduit between the worldly and metaphysical realms. And then coming to the much-awaited sequel; Ruhan Randhawa (Kartik Aaryan) and Reet Rathore (Kiara Advani) are the central characters in ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’. After becoming the lone survivors of a fatal tragedy, the two meet as strangers on a bus ride and become friends. Reet decides to pretend to be dead in front of her family in order to assist her sister in marrying the man she loves. Ruhan chooses to assist her in this endeavour, and as a result, he finds himself in a haunting palatial palace owned by Reet’s family. According to a legend, the haunted mansion is home to a spirit named Manjulika. The plot thickens when what happens next occurs. Is it possible for Ruhan to save himself from Manjulika? Will Reet ever be able to inform her parents that she is still alive? Will Manjulika’s ghost ever reach transcendence? One will only discover the answers to them while watching the film.

With all the talk about how the south Indian film business was taking over the Hindi film industry, people began to lose hope when it came to another sequel to a legendary Hindi film. But, Kartik Aaryan firmly steps into Akshay Kumar’s shoes. Despite the fact that his Ruhan is an entirely different character, there are shades of ‘Adi’ in him, and that’s where he shines the greatest. No, not because his touch on the surface is any less personal, but because he thrives under the burden of comparison, providing pure entertainment. I was partly smitten with Kartik Aryan’s comic timing and saw him making his massive comeback through this film. He is refreshing and entertaining to watch as he steals the show in some parts of the films that portray a more thrilling and spooky narrative.

Kiara Advani is the least of the bunch, not because of her acting, but because her character doesn’t enable her to do much digging. She gets more than her fair share of ‘Manjulika,’ but it’s too little for her acting skills to exist in the movie.

Rajpal Yadav and Sanjay Mishra keep the film’s heartbeat alive with some gut-busting comedy. The plot behind the gags and the performances are far more amusing than Farhad Samji and Aakash Kaushik’s dialogues. Rajesh Sharma and Amar Upadhyay are approximately average; one speaks excessively while the other remains mute throughout. Siddhant Ghegadmal deserved to win.

Tabu is the film’s main protagonist. Besides her fantastic performance, her character is the only one who makes sense of what is going on in the plot. Her makeup is flawless, which helps to maintain the horror element—applause for the makeup artists.

Ajay Verekar, the art director, and Rajat Poddar, the production designer, are fantastic. The way the sets and even the live places have been presented brings the story to life and mesmerizes the viewers.

Although the background soundtrack from the first ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’ film comes in aid at times to let fans recall the original movie,   Sandeep Shirodkar’s background score is equally commendable. It manages to bring in the horror vibe at every appropriate stage. 

I was surprised throughout the film, from unexpected jumpscares to masterfully synced comedy with scary anticipation in many distinct parts. Some aspects of the film were underwhelming, such as the songs, which paled in comparison to the original film’s soundtracks. While I was trying to get through the terribly constructed music of the sequel, KK’s labon ko and the title track of the first bhool bhulaiyaa were constantly playing in my head.

The film’s climax was intriguing and surprising enough to give goosebumps to the audience. The master strategy of the filmmakers is to miss every essence in the trailer so that the viewers go with zero expectations and nail the endgame. The audience, including myself, came with no expectations, hoping to sit in a pleasant air-conditioned cinema hall and crack some silly jokes with their companions before leaving midway. Instead, we carefully blinked our eyelids to avoid missing any part of the movie and sat shook during the intermission contemplating how enjoyable the film’s first half was and bracing ourselves for the entertainment the second half of this sequel would provide.

The exciting part about the movie is even with the predictable storyline; the movie keeps you engaged. The cinematography keeps the audience guessing throughout the film. From the rusting areas of the castle where Manjulika is captured to the bright and stimulating parts of the palace, the contrast between the metaphysical and real worlds is perfectly shown.

To summarise, Zendaya’s No Way Home monologue: “Expect disappointment, and you will never be disappointed”, captures the spirit of the film. It was a pure entertainer and not dull in a single frame. The trick is not to compare it and watch the movie with a clean slate. Bhool Bhulaiya might have some essence to the first part, but it represents an entirely new narrative with equally new plot lines and some new character arcs. It is safe to say that this movie provided the three elements that every conventional film needs to be successful- entertaining, engaging and re-watchable.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Bhool Bhulaiya 2’s overwhelming and underwhelming aspects and if it lived up to your expectations based on the trailer or ended up surprising you.

FF Ratings: ***

By Manjari Gupta