An ad film maker, location hunting for his next project arrives at a dilapidated mansion that’s been closed for years. The mansion was riled in controversies after a film shooting was stalled when an actress claimed to have seen a ghost. However, the ad filmmaker is unfazed, brushing off the incident as a publicity stunt. He meanders around the house soaking it in, when he meets a scriptwriter who wants to narrate a story. The struggling writer sneaked in hoping to be able to tell his story to the ad filmmaker.
The writer begins narrating his story about a gang of ghosts residing in such a mansion, who are in trouble. The mansion is going to be razed to the ground by a businessman who wants to create a mall on the premises. Now it’s up to the ghosts to save their ‘home’.
The writer talks about how no one—neither society nor politicians—cares about these ghosts because they are neither consumers nor voters.
This peculiar gang comprises the former owner of the mansion (Anupam Kher with buck teeth), a yesteryear actress (Mahie Gill), a soldier, a musician etc. The old owner has interviewed other inmates forming the ghostly group. He allows only those ghosts permission to stay, whose story touches him. It’s a proper interview procedure, and several are rejected.
Those that get in form an unbelievably interesting ensemble from not just various economic backgrounds but also time periods. So it includes those who lived in the 1940s to those who passed away only recently. It’s an exhilarating mix. And that, sadly, is the only interesting thing about the movie as well.
A remake of Bengali film Bhooter Bhabishyot (2012), Gang of Ghosts (GOG) is not a patch on the original. Director Satish Kaushik, perhaps in a bid to be commercial, adds item numbers, throws in some awful lines, coupled with bad acting. In the process, he robs all of the original film’s charm and gives us a soulless version.
For example, in the original film the old man (owner of the mansion), agrees to accommodate a young girl who recently committed suicide. While in the original he is moved by her story as she reminds him of his granddaughter; in GOG he is at first affected by her sexiness. Again, later in the film, a scene to trick someone has been converted to a ghastly seduction scene.
In the original, the subtle issues that come up between the ghosts like caste, discrimination and varying tastes in music are hilarious and poignant. Here they are marred by terrible acting and writing.
The actors scream their dialogue instead of saying them, save for a few saving graces like Mahie Gill (who’s been made to do at least two awful item numbers).
For “comedy”, you have songs that slaughter popular Hindi film songs like ‘Dekha Hai Pehli Baar’ and ‘Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast’ replacing original lyrics with ridiculous ones. The jokes are often crude and juvenile, including fart jokes etc. Things go further berserk in the second half. It appears that the actors have been let loose to do as they please and we’re watching the footage without any directorial supervision or editing. The film ends with a boring and preachy message against the “real estate ka danav” (the monster of real estate) that is eating up the homes of the ghosts.
With none of the charm of the original, the film will certainly infuriate those who’ve seen it. Even for those who haven’t, the only draw would remain the story about ghosts and their struggle to retain their home. But with unforgivably clumsy execution and mostly awful acting, one would recommend you rent out the original.
Rating: Half a star