Phone Bhoot movie review: Katrina Kaif's horror comedy is silly, but enjoyable
Phone Bhoot movie review: The Katrina Kaif, Ishaan Khatter, and Siddhant Chaturvedi film, Bollywood’s latest offering in the horror comedy genre, is downright silly and nonsensical in parts and fun in others.
Every now and again, there comes a movie that I call the anti-Nolan. Just like Christopher Nolan's films require you to focus all the time, these films don't need a moment of your attention. You can 'watch' such a film while scrolling Instagram or chatting with friends. You don't need to apply your brain. Heck, you can leave your brain at home if you want and it won't spoil the experience a bit. Phone Bhoot sit squarely in the middle of his mindless comedy genre. It is silly, illogical and insults your intelligence at every turn. And despite all this, it is actually fun in parts.
Phone Bhoot is about two good-for-nothing friends Galileo aka Gullu (Ishaan Khatter) and Sherdil aka Major (Siddhant Chaturvedi), who acquire the powers to see ghosts and ghouls. A chance encounter with a rather hot bhatakti aatma (Katrina Kaif) leads to them becoming Ghostbusters (actually bhootbusters for copyright reasons). Together, they must help these lost souls attain salvation and also foil the plans of evil tantrik Aatmaram (Jackie Shroff), who is using ghosts for his own nefarious scheme.
The Gurmmeet Singh-directorial starts out on a promising note courtesy smart writing and clever dialogue that endears the audience to the two bumbling fools masquerading as heroes. Siddhant and Ishaan have good chemistry which means their scenes are fun to watch. But it is only after Katrina's entry that film truly comes to life. But immediately it hits a brick wall as the makers decide to put a Katrina dance number in there just as the story is developing. And that's something that plagues Phone Bhoot throughout. Just when things threaten to get interesting, the story derails and goes off on a tangent.
Like I said, do not look for logic here. There are more holes in this film's plot than there are in a fishing net. But it's not due to any lack of attention to detail. I feel as if anything illogical has been left there deliberately in a meta attempt to make the film a spoof of several horror comedies we have seen overseas. The writers have added a fair dose of pop culture references that are sometimes so meta that it's hilarious. From Katrina's Slice ads to K3G homages and Jackie Shroff playing the Hero tune on a flute, Phone Bhoot dabbles in everything, and successfully most of the times.
But where it falls flat is the consistency of the humour. The film is funny at times and a total drag at other times. The songs--featuring two Katrinas at one point--are a good watch but not really doing anything for the plot. The characters' growth --or the lack of it--is disappointing and their motivations are flimsy to say the least. And the climax is a bit of a letdown when the villain built as this all-powerful evil is defeated in a rather silly manner. The shaky camera fights do no favour to the sequence either.
The actors try their earnest to salvage the film and succeed as well. Ishaan and Siddhant have good comic timing and play their parts well. Katrina is the film's star and her screen presence is solid but she does falter once or twice with her comic timing. Jackie Shroff is hilarious and delightful as the villain, who is a spoof of every horror villain ever.
Phone Bhoot is a promising film. It is a smartly written but not quite so well-executed effort that has its pros and several cons as well. It is a decent addition to the growing horror comedy genre in Bollywood. It's not quite Stree in terms of hilarity and innovation but it's not as bad as Roohi either.