Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 Review : Kartik, Kiara Starrer Is Fun And Fright In Equal Measures

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 Review : Kartik, Kiara Starrer Is Fun And Fright In Equal Measures
Starring: Kartik Aaryan, Tabu, Kiara Advani, Rajpal Yadav, Amar Upadhyay.
Directed by: Anees Bazmee.
Genre: Horror-Comedy.
Duration: 2h 25m

Plot: Ruhan Randhawa, a backpacker meets Reet Thakur while travelling through a cable car. One thing leads to another and before he knows it he is traveling with her to Rajasthan, unaware of what he has signed up for in a hurry. This is a haunting tale of the manor conveyed through wit and humor. 

"Meri Chahte To Fiza Mein Bahengi Zinda Rahengi Hoke Fana"
How iconic was the portrayal of Manjulika by Vidya Balan that even after 15 years it's tough to find its true successor? While Manjulika from the sequel isn't a like-for-like replacement but she certainly has an intriguing story of her own. But the question arises is Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 avoidable or watchable?

What works for the film?

The Cast

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 has set one affair straight by bringing on board talented performers. Provoking an emotion and expanding our imagination is only possible when the actors carry their part well, in this case, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2's cast has understood the assignment.

Sanjay Mishra as Jyotishi Baba gives us a glimpse of pure humor. He has been assigned to heavy lift the humor in scenes and bring out tiny moments of comedic relief when terror is looming. He executes it aptly.

Ashwini Kalsekar always shines in comedic roles, Her timing and charisma are unmatched, she will entertain the audience  with her expressions and dialogue delivery. She defuses the tension with her one-liners, truly a star in the comedy department.

Rajpal Yadav as Chhote Pandit is here for nostalgia, it's clever on the creator's part to bring in this character. The nostalgia of the first one is obvious, in such a case watching an old character more or less in the same shoes is comforting. Rajpal Yadav doesn't waste a second getting comfortable in his part, his body language and gestures all point toward a great comic performer.

Kiara Advani as Reet Thakur is appealing. In the first act of the movie, we see her taking charge and she doesn't disappoint at all. Following that her character does disappear in between, but all the moments she shares with Kartik Aaryan's character set the screen ablaze. The chemistry is sizzling and the connection is intense.

Tabu's range as an actor is commendable. She owns the role like a wizard and casts a good spell of acting. Her attempt at this genre was so palpable that it did bring out a little hope for the future of this character in Bhool Bhulaiyaa verse. She creates an emotional link with the character, she thrives in the visual vocabulary spelled out by director Anees Bazmee.

Kartik Aaryan has put his best foot forward before stepping into the Bhool Bhulaiyaa verse. He seems to be taking his character by the reins unafraid of what bar has been set. He is carefree and confident in this role. Kartik Aaryan has ensured to be convincing on his part. The story can pull any exaggeration but Kartik Aaryan knows how to sell it well. He did a stellar job in this one.

Understanding the vision

One thing which was absolutely crystal clear in the brainstorming session of Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 was drifting away from the message of the first one. Director Anees Bazmee and writers Farhad Samji and Aakash Kaushik were not interested in making Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 a direct sequel to 2007 one. They wanted to build a new world with new characters. They didn't want it to be a psychological horror, they were clearly interested in paranormal blending with humor. 

This works well because we don't see them piggybacking on 2007's concept, we witness a 2022 world where they have reinvented 'Manjulika.' Anees Bazmee wants the audience to be spooked out but not at the expense of an overly complicated plot. For the most part, he has kept the story free from indecision. No second layer to it, you will get what you see.

What doesn't work for the film?

Poor partition of genres. 

Two distinct genres – Horror and comedy blended together is either a fun ride or a recipe for disaster. In Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2's case, it's always an accident waiting to happen. The team of writers and the director have received the memo, 'Fright and Fun' however the word convincing was somehow left out of the discussion. Make no mistake Farce (Humor through exaggeration) also looks good on screen. But it only works if the jokes are set upright, the situations are extremely exceptional and the stakes are high. In this case inspite of having these parameters, the plot doesn't press the panic button, in moments of terror characters get away with the easiest excuses thereby lowering the stakes. A point in a movie where a character faces the ghost but simply responds in a way that makes us question the intensity of the situation as if it's not an all-powerful wraith who could kill people in a snap but an angry woman who needs some self-care time!  If only they had segregated the humor and horror into two distinct pieces, and not scare viewers with humor and make them laugh with the horror, the whole discussion would be different.

Bollywood tropes

In the desperation of running away from the cliches, they ran into the most obvious tropes. Cliches are stereotypes, tropes are devices. Out of all the great devices, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 opts for the less creative ones. Characters breaking into songs is manageable. The Use of convenient plot points is still not the end of the world, However being predictable, this is where we draw the line. Like it or not, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 has tried their best to not fit into a box, but somehow they have trapped themselves in a predictable puzzle. How ironic!  

The movie starts off well, it has a good establishment of characters it even picks up in the middle and delivers some good moments. But the situations aren't a mystery, Hell even the jokes aren't a mystery. Anyone who has seen movies with similar tropes can identify what is about to come.
Final verdict?

If for 2 hours we forget Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2's comparison and collations, it's not half as bad as people have assumed it to be. It has its moments that bring in chuckles and then are instances of jump scares. It's no tour de force, but it's not unbearable either. In conclusion, it can be avoided but there is no harm in watching it either.

Stars: 3/5