Cast: Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Ameesha Patel, Shiney Ahuja, Paresh Rawal, Rajpal Yadav, Manoj Joshi, Vineet, Asrani, Tarina, Rasika Joshi, Vikram Gokhale
Producor: Bhushan Kumar & Krishan Kumar
Music Director: Pritam
In Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Priyadarshan has attempted an image makeover. A director known for comedy, Priyadarshan tries to come up with something different. But the question would be: Is the new product good enough?
The film takes off with the director establishing the place with some jerky shots, each fading out and giving a clear view of a religions river bank – Varanasi. And then we are directly taken into the haunted haveli about which the story is all about.
Siddharth Chaturvedi (Shiney Ahuja) who stays in America comes back to his village with his newly-wed wife Avni (Vidya Balan). Being a guy with modern outlook he would not believe in ghosts and decides to stay in the palace. Things take a turn when Avni unlocks the door to a forbidden room. Suddenly people hear and see things. Inside the room, they believe are two spirits. One was a court-dancer and the other her lover. The king had killed the lover and locked the dancer in the room where she committed suicide. Nice setting for a traditional ghost movie.
Siddharth's friend Aditya (Akshay Kumar) is a world renowned psychiatrist who also has vast knowledge in paranormal science. He lands up at the palace from America to solve the puzzle. And he goes on to reveal who is the ghost and how things are happening.
The film goes on to show that it's Avni who has been creating the problem. And Aditya pulls in all his scientific gyaan on this case to prove things. Avni apparently feels so much of the old dancer that she starts imagining that she is the dancer herself. She shows a case of multiple persona and tries killing Siddharth, who she perceives as the king. Aditya does cure her after creating an elaborate set up – which is very much against scientific practices. And as soon as this drama is over, the other girl, who has never uttered a word ever since she had supposedly seen the ghost as a child, is fine too.
With the film's explanation of being possessed being answered scientifically, there are very subtle and almost invisible, if at all, reference to how this girl took possessed and later cured. There certainly was no Avni around when she had seen the ghost. Also one thing that beats the audience is Avni speaking in Bengali as she had never been to Bengal. And Priyadarshan choses to keep this unanswered.
The film is a mixture of the regular Priyadarshan brand comedy and thrill. And both the thrill and comedy is derived from the same aspect – the fear for ghosts. However the humour at times goes overboard.
Especially during the first fifteen minutes where we see Asrani and Paresh Rawal trying too hard to make us laugh. There are also too many characters in the film, of which the last couple introduced just don't add anything to the movie. The arrival of the married couple makes things better as the story unfolds at the faster rate. Yet, we still have outlandish comedy here and there. The film gives a chill down your back at certain instances like when Akshay Kumar tries to find who's dancing so late at night. The background music or silence is used really well for this. The last scene where Akshay tries his hypnotic skills on Vidya Balan in a dark room is funny. Do you really need to place your hand over the patient's face to complete the process!
One thing that stands out in the film is the photography, that's done really well. And the choreography, especially the last song where Vidya Balan shows her classical dancing skills is done well.
The performances of the actors look somehow hiked up. Asrani overacts, so does Paresh Rawal. Mahan Joshi is fine. Ameesha Patel still has to frown everytime she speaks. Shiney is good, but he should never lip sync to songs. That doesn't suit him. Akshay Kumar comes up with another great performance and so does Vidya Balan, who is wonderful in the last few minutes.
Priyadarshan attempts to make a psychological thriller falls short due to some simple problems in the script. It's neither a Bhoot nor is it an Aks. Bhool Bhulaiyaa is confusing.
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