Director: Ramgopal Varma
Cast: JD Chakravarthy, Manisha Koirala, Madhu Shalini, Alayana Sharma
Some people can’t wait to move into a new house, and some houses can’t wait for new people to move in, says Ramgopal Varma, thinking clever camera angles and a background score are enough to make a convincing horror movie. Written by some wanker called Ravi Shankar, “Bhoot Returns” is a mash of quite a few horror hits, but it certainly isn’t the tribute to the classics as RGV claimed. No, it doesn’t retain the mood of any of those actually scary flicks.
A wannabe classical-music composer from Sandeep Chowta Projects goes loony as people in the film step into their new home, and as a relative surprises them with a visit and they all exchange pleasantries. Madhu Shalini, fucked and sucked by Ramgopal Varma like a ripe mango, holds a mug to the camera as she tells her sister-in-law Manisha Koirala that she makes the best coffee in the world. Manisha Koirala – the old, dried fruit whose season ended long back – asks how the fleshy girl’s hobby of photography is going. This is when RGV’s camera is behind the budding photographer’s expensive camera.
Things go bump in the night, and the sound goes thump as the daughter chances upon a doll. RGV has a pretty neat collection of dolls, I must say. He uses a new one for every movie, but I liked the doll from Phoonk 2, to be honest. Because it giggled like Shahrukh Khan and knocked the shit out of Jeeva.
The servant is the first to understand that the youngest member of the family has been befriended by a ghost when she talks about her friend Shabbu, while the rest of the cast dismisses the invisible one as the little girl’s imaginary friend. In good time, the servant goes missing, as does the girl, but you just can’t care. The only thing that works in Bhoot Returns is a scene which is meant to be funny: three people tiptoeing inside the bungalow to see what the hell is up scream when they see each other. Yup, it’s the one scene which will always work in this nonstarter of a horror flick.
Predictable as Bhoot Returns is, RGV could have made it enjoyable, but the movie is ineffective as anyone can tell that the director is merely going through all the motions hoping something clicks. To add to that, the acting by everybody is very poor, and that’s a real shame considering two members of the cast have put in solid performances in two of Ramgopal Varma’s best-known movies on the underworld.
It’s funny seeing three actors limp out of the bhoot bangla, followed by the possessed daughter who dashes across the street to introduce herself to neighbourhood kids as Shabbu. RGV’s idea of impressing all of us.