Film: Phone Bhoot
Cast: Katrina Kaif, Ishaan Khatter, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Jackie Shroff, Sheeba Chadha
Director: Gurmmeet Singh
Rating: 3 Moons
"Bottle Mein Gini?," asks a character and the reply to it is, "RaGini". Expect such cliché yet hilariously good one-liners in Phone Bhoot. Taking us into the world of bhoots and chudails, Ishaan Khatter, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Katrina Kaif serve some of the best jokes, puns and harmless brand plugins. You’ve got to face it without being too critical. Directed by Gurmmeet Singh (director of the Mirzapur franchise; be prepared for some (minor) reference), Phone Bhoot is produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani's Excel Entertainment.
Phone Bhoot is a bhootiya comedy headlined by Gullu (Ishaan) and Major (Siddhant). They’ve been together since birth and are fascinated by ghosts and all things spooky. So much so that they organise Amavasya raat ki party which turns out to be a huge flop. At the Amavasya party, they encounter the unreal and stunning Ragini. After the party, Gullu and Major realise they have the power to communicate and see spirits. Ragini comes into their lives with a purpose. She teams up with Gullu and Major to start a business called Phone Bhoot through which they help bhatakti aatma attain salvation or 'Mok-sh'.
However the main conflict here is in Aatmaram (Jackie Shroff), an evil Tantrik, who captures spirits promising moksh but uses them for his sinister benefits. Gullu and Major’s lives are at risk as they are Aatmaram’s direct competition. Phone Bhoot relies majorly on this conflict and thankfully doesn’t get preachy with the moksh part.
Director Gurmmeet has his aim set- to provide classic Ramsay Brothers horror films style vibe- with humour in abundance. Yes, his actors overreact and exaggerate every simple scene but that’s the whole point. Making people laugh in the least expected scenes and that too with some of the most unconventional, badass and unfiltered jokes and one-liners. The shady sets with red, green and multicoloured lights add to the overall essence of Phone Bhoot. Everything is intentional so go with the flow without getting too analytical. If you are patient enough and in no hurry for a loo break, stay back to watch the interval monologue; you won't regret it.
While humour is the strongest asset of Phone Bhoot, the weakest link is the story. The same old cliché tropes have been used; for example, seeking badla for murder. It could have been replaced with something better. Using humour to uplift the story works in their favour but not in the longer run. After all those fun moments, the climax feels watered down and messy. It comes across as if the makers wanted to end the film and took the easiest way out to break the flow.
Though Katrina Kaif brings in star power, there’s no way one can ignore Ishaan and Siddhant. Gullu and Major's buffoonery will remind you of Amar-Prem of Andaz Apna Apna. When in their best form, Ishaan and Siddhant are cracking the funniest one-liners or pulling off a hilarious sequence with straight faces. Their scene with Sheeba Chadha is a cracker one. It won't be wrong to say Ishaan and Siddhant are the shining stars of Phone Bhoot. Be it their comic timing or dancing, you will remember them for the longest time. Siddhant's charm amid the chaos is unmissable. Ishaan balances the film with his sincerity.
Katrina, looking stunning as always, has the weakest character. It is disappointing to see her being the prominent face only in the dance and romantic scenes over crucial sequences. She deserved a better film. Sheeba Chadha as a Bengali ghost is a delight. 'Bhidu' Jackie Shroff adds masala and swag to the film with his mere presence. He doesn’t need to do anything but just stand and make his presence felt instantly. That’s his power. Indeed, he is a 'Hero since 1983' (the flute tune plays in the head).
Phone Bhoot sticks to its core target audience, children, and delivers what's promised. A no-brainer entertainer for the weekend that children as well as their parents can enjoy thoroughly. A one-time watch, Phone Bhoot is a fun, harmless and decent film.
PeepingMoon gives Phone Bhoot 3 Moons