Phone Bhoot Movie Review: Katrina Kaif’s Horror-Comedy Is Silly But Enjoyable

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PHONE BHOOT is the story of two ghost hunters. Sherdil Shergill aka Major (Siddhan Chaturvedi) and Galileo Parthasarthy aka Guru (Ishaan Khatter; credited in the film simply as Ishaan) are best friends who have had a mad interest in ghosts and spirits since they were children. They want to make money from their love of ghosts.

Unfortunately, all of their business ideas fail. Nevertheless, they keep trying and they organize a ‘Moksha Party’. It is a success since several revelers mark their presence. Unbeknownst to Major and Guru, they are all ghosts. One of these ghosts is Ragini (Katrina Kaif). She informs them that they are gifted with the ability to see the dead.

Therefore, she gives them a business idea that they should create a hotline for those who want to get rid of ghosts. Major and Guru initially refuse. But their fathers come to their door and ask them to pay Rs. 5 crores, which is the amount spent on their sons till date.

A period of three months is granted to them. With no other option, Major and Guru accept the idea although they also wonder why Ragini wants to help them. At first, their initiative was massively trolled. Later, once they start solving cases, their business idea becomes a success. This also places them in the evil books of evil Atmaram (Jackie Shroff), which traps spirits trying to attain ‘moksha’ (salvation).

The story of Ravi Shankaran and Jasvinder Singh Bath has all the ingredients for a youthful and fun horror comedy. Ravi Shankaran and Jasvinder Singh Bath’s screenplay, however, is flimsy in several places. The dialogues of Ravi Shankaran and Jasvinder Singh Bath are witty and funny.

Gurmmeet Singh as director handles certain scenes with panache, whether it’s Major and Guru succeeding as Ghostbusters, Major and Guru’s encounter with Chikni Chudail (Sheeba Chadha), or Major and Guru’s antics when Ragini recounts his history.

FUKREY’s pop culture references [2013]Mango Slice announcement by Katrina Kaif, Rajinikanth, MIRZAPUR [also directed by Gurmmeet Singh and backed by Excel]coffin dancers, HINDUSTANI [1996]KHILADIYON KA KHILADI [1996]KOI MIL GAYA [2003]KABHI KHUSHI KABHIE GHAM [2001] etc add to the fun element.

On the other hand, some references will go beyond that. Raaka’s character forms an important part of the film but the makers, for no reason, did not deem it important to explain its relevance to the current generation, who might never have watched a Ramsay film.

But the film’s biggest problem is that it doesn’t make people laugh in the second half. The climax is unimaginative and anything but funny. Moreover, the track of the killers of Ragini’s fiancée is simply not approached after a while.

Speaking of performances, Katrina Kaif is in great shape and manages to give an entertaining performance. Siddhant Chaturvedi puts up a confident act. Ishaan is also doing well and what is commendable is that even though both are over the top, they don’t ham. Jackie Shroff is fine as a cartoonish villain. Sheeba Chadha is quite funny. Nidhi Bisht (Lavanya) and Armaan Ralhan (Dushyant Singh) are doing well. Manuj Sharma (Rahu) and Shrikant Verma (Ketu) leave no trace. The FUKREY boys – Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma and Manjot Singh – are here for a scene.

music side, ‘Kinna Sona’ is the best of the lot and is well choreographed. ‘Phone Bhoot Theme’ is relegated to the background and works. ‘Jaau Jaan Se’ is forgettable while ‘Kaali Teri Gutt’ is forced into the film. John Stewart Eduri’s background score is good.

KU Mohanan’s cinematography is polished. Vintee Bansal’s production design is quite imaginative. Poornamrita Singh’s costumes are attractive. Shipra Singh Acharya’s makeup and prosthetics are compelling. Manohar Verma’s action is not bloody at all. VFX is more or less satisfying. Manan Ashwin Mehta’s editing is accurate.

Overall, PHONE BHOOT has a great first half with all the makings of a youthful and fun horror-comedy. However, the second half could have been better. At the box office, the film will appeal to an audience that loves horror comedies.

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