Ajay Devgan, Urmila Mantodkar, Nana Patekar, Seema Biswas,
Tanuja, Rekha & Fardeen Khan
Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Producer: Ram Gopal Varma
Ram Gopal Varma is the only director hailing
from the south to have established an indelible mark
in Bollywood. Not dwelling into the reasons that drove
him from Tollywood to Bollywood, he is one director
whose films [not just the ones he directs but also the
ones he produces/presents] are always eagerly awaited
by Indian movie-buffs all over the globe. Given his
penchant for trying something different in each and
every movie of his, his 'rules-are-meant-to-be-broken'
attitude which do not make him to stick to the so-called
norms of movie-making and his sincere efforts to satisfy
the audiences by showing them something they haven't
seen but would definitely like to see, have earned him
a reputation where people throng to the theaters to
see his films not because a certain star shines in his
movie or a certain heroine sizzles in his movie but
mainly [and sometimes only] because it's a Varma movie.
a variety of movies Varma has directed so far [many
a time successfully and sometimes not], perhaps horror
is the only genre which Varma has attempted his hands
at, about three times now. His first film in this genre,
Raathri [Revathy, Chinna] was something which
the Telugu audience had not witnessed on the screen
until then. Though it did not exactly set the box-office
on fire, it still is placed in high regard as one of
Varma's best movies. In his second attempt Deyyam
[Chakravarthy, Maheshwari, Jaya Sudha] Varma included
songs, unlike Raathri, to ease the tension that was
supposed to brew in the minds of the audience. Unfortunately
Deyyam, again unlike Raathri, was panned
by the critics and pushed away by the audience. Now
Varma is back again with yet another sincere attempt
to scare the audience in the form of Bhoot. Only,
this time it is directly in Hindi.
has no purani-hawelis [dilapidated mansions],
no white-sari clad ghosts, no gross make-ups where blood
is seen oozing out of every visible part of the ghost's
body and no songs [believe me, that's a major relief].
In fact Varma sets his simple story in an apartment
on the 12th floor of a complex right in the heart of
Mumbai city into which Vishal [Ajay Devgan] and Swati
[Urmila Matondkar] move. Manjith [Barkha Madan] and
her son, the previous residents of this apartment, are
the bhoots that haunt this place. How Swati and
Vishal's life goes for a toss once Swati starts seeing
these bhoots forms the crux of the movie. Having
answered questions like where and what, I shall leave
out certain questions like why, how, who etc for you
to find out on your own.
movies not always boast of a great story. It's the way
Varma packages and executes them in a very interesting
manner that makes us form a bee-line for his movies.
And that's precisely what Bhoot is all about
- a sincere attempt to scare us. If there are no usual
trade-mark elements of a horror film here, then the
onus of scaring us becomes quite an ordeal for the director
who thus keeps his sound designer/engineer, background
music composer and cameraman on their toes.
Designer Dwarak Warrier, Music composers Salim-Sulaiman
lend a perfect touch to Bhoot in the form an impeccable
sound design and a petrifying background score. Full
marks to you there guys for contributing a great deal
in scaring and shocking us.
Sinha, the cinematographer, adds his share of spookiness
to the movie with his flawless camera work. There are
many long shots, wide-angle shots in this movie that
are quite unlike in a horror film. The various angels
used to capture the stairs in the apartment, the lift
scenes, and the way the camera literally plunges down
from the 12th floor are some scenes where Vishal shows
actors? Oh there are quite a few here, everybody behaving
in their own eerie manner. Seema Biswas as the
baai [maid], Rekha as the taantrik
who communicates with the bhoot, Tanuja
as the bhoot's mother, Victor Banerjee
as the psychiatrist, Fardeen Khan as the apartment
owner's drunkard son are all reduced to being just a
supporting cast. None of them disappoint you and at
the same time they neither make you go wow.
Devgan, as Vishal, who is initially not able to
comprehend his wife's weird behavior but later realizes
what has gotten into her and tries his best to save
her, expectedly, sleep walks the role. Nana Patekar,
as the nosy inspector Liyaqat Qureshi, excels in his
role also providing comic respite. Some of his one-liners
bring down the house providing great relief especially
when the audience is trembling with fear most of the
time during the movie.
not an exaggeration to say that Varma's erstwhile actress
Urmila Matondkar is the hero of Bhoot. When Varma
stated a couple of times in his interviews that Urmila's
performance in Bhoot is THE best anybody has seen till
date from her, he really MEANT it. A large chunk of
Bhoot's success should go to Urmila, who has LIVED the
role of Swati. Whether it is being a sweet housewife
or a dreadful maniac, whether it is showing helplessness
or displaying deadly ire, Urmila is simply *a w e s
o m e*.
so many good things in its stride, Bhoot still
has its share of flaws. Varma, as the director, has
successfully extracted the best work from this cast
and crew. In the process of focusing mainly on technical
wizardry, he goes easy on the story and screenplay.
The scary attempts which meet with success in the first
half are almost non-existent in the second half. With
the introduction of many characters in the second half,
the script meanders aimlessly thereby losing grip. In
fact the plot and the set-up in the second half reminds
us so much of Exorcist that the fear that was built
in us during the first half starts to fizzle away largely
because predictability creeps into the movie by then.
Urmila, the other ladies in the movie - Seema Biswas,
Rekha, Tanuja - are given half baked roles. Only Varma
can justify why he chose Fardeen Khan for that five
minute role, which any junior artiste could have essayed
in a much better way.
Varma's latest horror flick is definitely worth watching
once for its brilliant sound design, camera work and
a mind-blowing performance by Urmila Matondkar. Yeah,
I would definitely recommend this movie to all of you.
O o! Would-be moms, weak-hearted visitors, would you
please step out of the line?