Is this the future then? While we struggle to bring equality among humans, are equal rights for ghosts the next step?
In this Dharavi locality, something unusual takes place. Fighting the election against the local politician Bhau this year, is an 'aam ghost' with stage fright.
Aiding the ghost Bhoothnath (Amitabh Bachchan) is a little tyke called Akhrot. How a ghost came to fight the elections is another story altogether (among the film’s most amusing portions).
The politician (Boman Irani, priceless) is amused at first to hear of a ghost standing against him in the elections. This amusement turns to fear very quickly when he sees that the ghost means business.
The film meanders around entertaining the audience with humour as Bhoothnath brings corrupt officials to book using his supernatural powers. But then, the film transforms into serious territory as Bhau lets fear get the better of him, and the war gets dirty.
So, in effect, there are two films in one. The first half is breezy. When Akhrot warms up to Bhoothnath he wants to know if ghosts sleep, shower, or feel hungry. Their equation is superb – they sing a rap song about Dharavi, solve crimes, and at times, the ghost is admonished by the street-smart kid with a head of his own.
Apart from the timely political message the film sends out (through an innovative non-co-operation movement), the film is also about the helplessness of ghosts. “Marne ke baad insaan kar bhi kya sakta hai?” asks one ghost dejectedly.
The film is a sequel (the story is not a continuation) to the 2008 film Bhoothnath. Except for the fact that the two films explore an unlikely bonding between a ghost and kid, they don’t have anything in common.
There is some wonderfully clever dialogue. Like when Bhoothnath comments on Akhrot, “Overacting karta hai, par India mein chalta hai.” (He overacts, but it’s ok in India).
Director Nitesh Tiwari doesn’t shy away from gimmicks to liven up the story. So you have Shah Rukh Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Anurag Kashyap appearing for a dialogue or two. The puny Yo Yo Honey Singh appears, as usual, at the end credits singing dumbed-down lyrics.
The performances are a delight! Amitabh Bachchan bites into the role with a relish, and is masterful in every frame. Matching step is child actor (Parth Bhalerao) who plays the street-smart kid with elan. The supporting cast including Boman Irani, Sanjay Mishra and Brijendra Kala is outstanding.
The kids might enjoy the fun equation and unlikely friendship between the aged ghost and young boy, but the political and supernatural themes gets a bit too dense. Heck, you even have a song that shows stark images of riots to starving street kids to floods, overcrowded trains and more.
In the end the film leaves you with a preachy, but timely message. But again, it’s likely to be lost on children. If you don’t mind the supernatural comedy taking a somber turn towards the finale, the film is worth a watch!
Rating: Three stars