Film: Bhoot Returns (3D); Cast: Manisha Koirala, J.D. Chakravarty, Madhu Shalini, Alayana Sharma; Director: Ram Gopal Varma; Rating: *
Ram Gopal Varma's repertoire of films can be classified in basic two categories, good and bad. And "Bhoot Returns" made in the 3D format can be listed as the worst of the lot.
The film plunges directly into the genre with a voice over telling the audience that there are some houses that are haunted and here is one such house where the ghost of Shabu dwells. And what's peculiar is that Shabu likes kids.
RGV's "Bhoot Returns" is the story of the Awasthi family which moves into the bungalow, where tenants just vanish.
For obvious reasons, the house has been sold much below the market price. This lures Tarun Awasthi (J.D. Charavarthy), an opportunist, to shift into the house, along with his family -- wife Namrata (Manisha Koirala), sister Pooja (Madhu Shalini), son Taman (Kaushank) and daughter Nimmi (Alayana Sharma) and his man Friday, Laxman.
The film moves on a predicted premise. Nimmi finds a doll in the new house, a gift from her friend, Shabu, who is visible only to her. This is followed by unnatural occurrences, like banging of the door, hooting and footsteps, slowly becoming a routine thing in the house.
Mom Namrata gets paranoid, she abuses Nimmi's friend Shabu. Laxman warns the family to take some action, which backfires on him as he is suspected to be the cause of all the scary moments. Unexpectedly, he disappears the very next day. Then Nimmi goes missing.
The family's fight for survival is the crux of the story.
The script seems to be hurriedly bound with no eye for detailing. The script is very weak and cliched till the very end. I am sure students of filmmaking courses could churn out a much better product.
The midnight drama of seeking the unknown, played in a hide and seek manner between Tarun, Namrata and Pooja, was more comical than being horrific or mysterious. Also, a few repetitive scenes were more side-splitting than effective.
The film ends abruptly making the entire experience of watching "Bhoot Returns" very tedious.
Unusual camera angles coupled with 3D effect are a delight. It is superb in isolation but irritating in the film. Truly, the camera work is wasted, as it does not create an impact.
The background score by Sandeep Chowta is ludicrous. It seems to be a confused fusion of sound effects.
Also, dubbing is an issue. There is something that simply does not gel especially when Charavarthy is mouthing his dialogues in Hindi or when poor Taman cries during the pre-climax scene. Their entire effort seems to be too forced.
Madhu Shalini and Alayana are good in their respective roles. Manisha for her comeback film is a disaster. Sans make-up, she looks worn out. Also, her performance falters as she saunters through her role without making an effort to look devastated or harrowed.
Sadly, for a man like Varma, who has given us good films in the past, it's unfortunate to see him being relegated to making trashy films like this.
On the whole, the movie is a waste of time, energy and resources.