By Martin D'Souza, Glamsham Editorial
BHOOTNATH RETURNS is a bit trite when it begins, but as the film progresses, especially, deep into the first half itself, the true meaning of the film emerges. And although it ends up preaching, this is one instance when you will not mind this sermon.
The film is peppered with some exceptional performances and insightful screenplay and dialogues that are timely, topical and terrific. In short, BHOOTNATH RETURNS deals with the upcoming/ongoing elections with a humourous dose of the reactions of the people that have 'passed away' and also of the indifference of the people who are still 'alive and kicking' and of the politicians who know how to ensure votes come their way during election time.
To ensure the importance of voting, even Shah Rukh Khan and Ranbir Kapoor make cameos urging people to cast their vote.
But the real star of the film is not Amitabh Bachchan, not even the above-mentioned actors, nor even Boman Irani who delivers a sedate 'underhand' performance of rare brilliance or even Brijendra Kala, Usha Nadkarni and Sanjay Mishra.
The star of the film is Parth Bhalerao, a child artiste who makes his debut in Bollywood with a performance that is sure to blow you off your seat, literally.
Cool, calm and composed, Parth Bhalerao as Akhrot is an artiste who delivers any scene with the maturity of a veteran. For an actor, to go through a gamut of emotions in a short span is no mean feat. Even seasoned pros fall short. But Parth is made of a different mettle. He makes you laugh, dance and cry. He also makes you gasp at his audacity. Being in the same frame as Mr Bachchan gives any actor cold feet; but Parth not only stands tall, but also outshines Mr Bachchan in most of the scenes!
Although BR is supposedly a sequel to BHOOTNATH (2008), there is but a fleeting reference to that film, which forms the basis for this film to follow. Bhootnath (Amitabh Bachchan) was unable to scare a child; he is a butt of all jokes in the 'other world'. He wants to come back to earth as a human, but for that to happen there is a long waiting list. But chances of coming back to earth faster are brighter if you want to come back as a dog, cat or a monkey. Or for that matter even a politician!
Since his wait is long to come back as a human, he requests to go back as a Bhooth and return by scaring a child. But the first child he meets looks straight into his eyes and scares him instead. From here begins the journey of Akhrot and Bhootnath.
At first, Bhootnath (who forms a bond with the child) tries to help his new friend who lives in the slums in Dharavi, by helping him make money. But when he sees the integrity of the lad who will not make a quick buck, he helps him out by getting the lad to clear under-construction buildings of 'bhoots' who are not allowing the progress of the project.
Immediately, Bhootnath realizes that there is a reason why the spirits are doing this; they have been cheated and want things to be set right. So Bhoothnath and Akhrot begin the cleaning-up process which ultimately leads to Bhootnath filing his nomination as a candidate from Dharavi.
The film then highlights the plight of our country, its voters, the politicians and the various scams and the general indifference.
BHOOTHNATH RETURNS is a film that cannot be missed; especially keeping the elections in mind.
Watch BHOOTHNATH RETURNS, then go and cast your vote.
Rating : 4/5