Hold on! The moment someone mentions BHOOL BHULAIYAA, images of a comic caper conjure up in front of your eyes. After all, accomplished storyteller Priyadarshan has successfully delivered laughathons in the past that made the viewer go ha-ha-hee-hee-ho-ho.
But BHOOL BHULAIYAA, a remake of the Malayalam hit MANICHITRATHAZHU, is a complete departure from Priyan's films. How, did you ask? Here's why... There's comedy, but in minimal doses. There're songs, but only when the situations warrant. In BHOOL BHULAIYAA, it's all about suspense and spirits. It's eerie and [certain] portions of the film are not for the faint hearted.
A good looking film with superior performances and a stunning suspense, BHOOL BHULAIYAA is not the usual run-of-the-mill fare. It would be interesting to see how the viewer reacts to the film.
But there's a flip side too! Those expecting a laughathon from the Priyan - Akki combo would be caught unaware. Two factors that can't be ignored are its length [it tends to get taxing in the second hour] and the placement of the chartbusting track 'Hare Krishna Hare Ram' [in the end credits].
From America to his hometown in the interiors of India, it was a long journey indeed for Siddharth [Shiney Ahuja]. But nothing could match the mind-boggling journey that now lay in front of him. For, it was a journey into an astounding maze in which each step meant mystery, discovery, surprise, shock and revelation.
With open arms, his large extended family welcomes the U.S.-based Siddharth and his newly-wed wife Avni [Vidya Balan], when they come home. But what the family resists is Siddharth's insistence on staying in his royal ancestral mansion during his stay. His uncle Badrinarayan Chaturvedi [Manoj Joshi] particularly has no qualms about voicing his displeasure. For, it was that very mansion that held in its realm a deadly secret that had repeatedly destroyed the family for generations.
The scientifically inclined Siddharth pays no heed and starts staying at the palatial mansion with Avni, who is equally modern in her thinking... But, soon enough, the couple is forced to rethink their decision. Unforeseen happenings, mysterious elements, horrific indications and life-threatening incidents swarm their path. Suddenly, it becomes a situation that urgently had to be dealt with before it got too late.
Siddharth instinctively finds the solution in his dynamic Doctor-friend Aditya [Akshay Kumar]. When Dr. Aditya finds his way into the mansion, he is a man on a mission. He just had to find the cause of all the upheaval before the effects caused more harm than could be imagined. Where did the answer lie?
You can't overlook the fact that BHOOL BHULAIYAA is an extremely well-shot film. Right from the production design to the styling of the film to its overall look, BHOOL BHULAIYAA is a visually attractive film.
Priyan spells out the genre at the very start itself, when Paresh Rawal visits the haunted ancestral home and an eerie calm welcomes him. The mystery only deepens in the first hour and with the introduction of Akshay's character in the narrative [a bit late entry, though!], things only get better. Expectedly, you look forward to an exhilarating second hour.
Although the screenplay isn't too convincing in the latter half, you have to admit that the suspense does come as a jolt. The flashback that follows is equally interesting. But what ensues thereafter isn't as convincing. Actually, the length is also to blame in this hour. One strongly feels that the story should've concluded when Akshay solves the mystery.
You also await, with bated breath, the chartbusting song that's taken the nation by storm to make an entry. And when it eventually does arrive [in the end credits], it doesn't make the impact that it should've.
BHOOL BHULAIYAA is glossy, stylish and well executed, technically speaking. But Priyan treads a difficult path. As mentioned at the outset, BHOOL BHULAIYAA is not the atypical fare with laughs and more laughs. Here, Priyan opts for horror, not humor and that may have its share of advocates and adversaries.
Music composer Pritam is in top form this time around. 'Hare Krishna Hare Ram' is splendid, while 'Zindagi Ka Safar' comes easy on the lips. The flashback song is excellent in terms of choreography. Cinematography [Thiru] is excellent. Production design [Sabu Cyril] is topnotch.
Akshay enacts his part with effortless ease. A role with comic shades comes easy to him and he's on familiar ground in BHOOL BHULAIYAA. Vidya is splendid, especially in the second hour. Shiney gets scope initially, but is sidelined the moment Akshay arrives. Amisha Patel is efficient in a substantial role.
Paresh Rawal and Rasika Joshi are first-rate. Rajpal Yadav manages a few laughs in a brief role. Manoj Joshi is very much with the character. He performs well. Vikram Gokhale doesn't work because his role comes across as an unwanted track. Asrani is fair. Vineeth and Tareena Patel are average.
On the whole, BHOOL BHULAIYAA has two solid factors going in its favor -- the Priyadarshan - Akshay combo and the chartbusting 'Hare Krishna Hare Ram' track -- which have resulted in tremendous hype. Although the reactions to the film will vary, the Idd period coupled with the two factors will ensure a terrific start for the film, in turn making it a profitable venture for its investors.