For Kartik Aaryan fans, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 has all the masala to satiate their taste buds. It’s funny in places, tries to be scary most of the time, but like its title, its efforts get somewhere lost in a maze. Our takeaway is Tabu.
Movie Name: Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2
Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani
Director: Anees Bazmee
The 2007 Akshay Kumar-Vidya Balan-starter Bhool Bhulaiyaa was a game-changer in many ways. It created a folklore horror genre before we met the Strees and Paris of the world. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Manjulika paved the way for future Roohis and Strees.
In the 2022 revisit to the world of Bhool Bhulaiyaa, everything is amped up. The jokes sound like pages from someone’s stand-up act, the music has an EDM synth to it and the leads are, of course, two actors who scream modern-day showbiz stardom – Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani. The premise is again a haveli and Manjulika’s not gone anywhere. It’s been 18 years since she was locked up in that room with no end in sight and no one there to set her free. There is the staple brigade of the bumbling buffoon, led by Rajpal Yadav in his iconic getup and a few new faces. Then there is Kartik’s Babaji act, covering up a big lie about his relationship with Kiara and how they both end up crossing paths with Manjulika. Amidst all this madness and chaos, the one actor that stands tall and manages to give the film its much-needed pull is Tabu. She delivers a knock-out performance.
There are a lot of throwback moments and references to the original BB, starring Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Shiney Ahuja and Ameesha Patel, among others. But, comparing Kartik to Akshay is no fun because this will only take away the fun quotient from the movie-watching experience. Where the film works best is in its attempt to revisit the larger-than-life early 2000s movies with huge casts and bigger budgets. The writing of the film is also reminiscent of that period, with the punches and jokes written with a slapstick slant. The VFX and CGI are another strong asset and go a long way in making the film look good.
Among the performances, Tabu leads the pack. She sheds all inhibitions to play this tricky part. Despite some really cringe-worthy moments and loud dialogues, she manages to navigate the rocky terrain that this character has to offer. Kartik is easy on the eyes and totally in his element. This film is a reminder of how good he is at comedy and romance – two genres he’s come to ace. Kiara matches his timing in the big scenes and the two definitely have some crackling on-screen chemistry. Director Anees Bazmee, who is a master of this genre, weaves in the right humour in the right places.
On the flip side, BB2 struggles to stay cohesive and hold your attention. The writing is uneven and the small moments between characters often get lost in the jarring background score and jazzy special effects. Logic and reason have no space in the movie, which has superstition and black magic at their epicentre. Also, this is not a kid-friendly movie. The scenes depicting black magic and witchcraft are quite gory and disturbing. Another USP of the original, that was missing from the new flashy version, is the soundtrack. The songs barely register, and Mere Dholna 2.0 doesn’t hold a candle to the original.