A unique watch, Anees Bazmi’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 suffers under the shadow of Akshay’s original

In 2007, the Priyadarshan Bhool Bhulaiyaa was a marvel. It promised ghosts but delivered even better suspense. Aami I tomar has probably become the most famous Bengali phrase for all non-Bengalis in India, maybe even more than Ami tomake bhalo bashi. Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Shiny Ahuja and the supporting medley ensured equal laughs and moments of trepidation.

Anees Bazmee’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 recreate the magic? Not enough.

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is not only against the OG movie, but also a stellar surprise hit of 2018, Street. Directed by Amar Kaushik, the comedy-horror was refreshing and had an empowering message at its core. Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 fails to impress as much.

The fundamental difference between the original and the sequel is the existence of a real ghost in this movie.

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Kartik Aryan vs Akshay Charm

Does Kartik match Akshay’s flamboyance? The answer is no. In all honesty, it manages to live up to expectations. Except he doesn’t get the best moments, despite being in the lead.

However, Kartik is definitely an artist, and from “Ruh Baba” antics to dancing as Ruhaan in the snow in Manali, he does it all.

Even the Bhool Bhulaiyaa remix has him grooving pretty hard on the iconic song.

In the character written for him, he does well. But you keep wishing Akshay would make an appearance. Kiara as Reet Thakur doesn’t have much to do, but plays her role well. The chemistry between Kiara and Kartik is definitely there.

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Tabu is flawless like Manjulika

The film rests on Tabu’s capable shoulders. His convincing performance is convincing in an unconvincing backstory and evokes enough chills.

From the “bhabhi” who watches over the well-being of the Thakur family in Manjulika, the actor is flawless. What is flawed is his origin story.

She is challenged by Vidya Balan’s performance, and due to the weak storyline and some loud, almost grumpy dialogue, she is unable to quite recreate the same effect.

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Original cast members add to the fun

Among the original cast members is Rajpal Yadav as ‘Chota Pandit’ whose antics are just as funny as last time. In fact, he, along with the characters played by Sanjay Mishra and Ashwini Kalsekar, makes you laugh the most.

Even child actor Samarth Chauhan, who plays the extremely annoying kid Potlu, does a fantastic job of almost making you want to slap him. Her father, played by the charming Rajesh Sharma, is appropriated as a gullible “chacha” who unconditionally loves the family favorite, Reet, and keeps trying to play along with his “ghost”.

The dialogues are sharp, occasionally, and leave you wide open. The funniest tunes and skip alerts are both kept after the interval.

Cinematographer Manu Anand does a good job capturing the creepy jumps and ghostly antics in the film. The scenery is oddly appropriate, the location being Bhawanigarh, probably based on Bhangarh, which is infamous for its ghost stories and “occult apparitions”.

Among the new elements of the film are the visual effects and CGI which significantly add to the scary moments and keep it gripping.

With the exception of the remix track of Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Pritam Chakraborty, Tanishk Bagchi, and Sandeep Shirodkar failed to create punchy music for the film. The other songs are forgettable at best. You can’t really escape the nostalgia of the original and it definitely hinders the film’s possible impact. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind watch that you probably wouldn’t want to see multiple times like its 2007 predecessor.

(Editing by Zoya Bhatti)

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