When Ram Gopal Varma made ‘Bhoot’ in 2003 he created an interesting urban suspense thriller – where a regular apartment in a Mumbai high rise is haunted, traumatizing its recent inhabitants.
In between that film and Bhoot Returns, Varma either directed or produced ‘Phoonk’ (1 and 2) and somewhere in between these ideas have melded so that you can no longer separate ‘Bhoot’ and ‘Phoonk’. A doll, as seen in Phoonk, and the various animal objet d’art that appeared in that film make an appearance in Bhoot Returns.
This time a normal family comprising of Tarun (Chakravarthy), his wife Namrata (Manish Koirala) and their two children rent a new and recently abandoned house. Early euphoria turns to anger when the six year old daughter Nimmi finds a doll in the house and soon after identifies an invisible friend she refers to as Shabbo. Shabbo is not to be toyed with.
Loud noises at night, banging doors and moving bookshelves disturb the inhabitants nightly leading Varma to paste in scene after scene of the parents and husband’s visiting sister slowly creeping around the house at night, entrapped in this house by a ghost.
Every time you expect some revelation, but none follows. Instead of actually creating scary scenes, Varma simply relies on a loud background score. And even at 98 minutes fails to grip you or build mounting tension.
Besides this being a return to Ram Gopal Varma’s favoured genre with pointless 3D rendition, the film is also notable for the return of actress Manish Koirala, though her performance is far from notable.
The only thing you think is what happened to the ravishing beauty of ‘1942 A Love Story’. Bhoot Returns is low budget lazy filmmaking with sloppy 3D.
The story offers nothing new; in fact there is obvious ‘inspiration’ from ‘Paranormal Activity’. The performances are wooden, the camera angles and sound effects text book Varma.
Disappointing that for the ‘follow up’ to his hit Bhoot, the director does not stretch himself creatively, technically or cinematically.