Director: Satish Kaushik
Cast: Sharman Joshi, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Anupam Kher, Mahie Gill, Asrani, Saurabh Shukla, Yashpal Sharma
A remake, even if it is official, is sometimes lost in translation. Bhooter Bhabhishyat in Bangla, directed by Anik Dutta, was original and fresh. Satish Kaushik makes of it a pastiche which is neither here nor there: not ghastly, or ghostly, enough to be interred, nor good enough to be praised, just a thing that limps along.
Parambrata, reprising his role from the original as an ad filmmaker, shows up at a mansion which is a bhooton ka basera. Sharman Joshi plays a writer who has a story full of ghosts, and who is dying to make a film of it. The two chat up a gaggle of ghosts a yesteryear heroine overdoing the nasal twang, a Sikh Army man, a buck-toothed zamindar, a British overlord, a Jat rock musician, a lovelorn girl in a mini-skirt, and so on.
These bhoots rub up against each other in a medley which includes all manner of heard-before film industry insider jokes, a couple of item numbers, a super-rich builder, his dead wife, and a lecture on the ills of urbanisation: when greedy land-grabbers ruin peoples dwellings, they become ghosts, and finally even they have no place left to hang up their shingles.
The trouble with this gang of ghosts is that it is all on the surface, and all so dreary. The loud decibel is used to hide the listless pace and gags: the idea of a Spookbook instead of Facebook could have gone somewhere, but Kaushik makes little of the occasional smart possibilities of the script, opting instead for tired laughs. A ghost that farts Why not
The stinging satirical tone of the original was its hook. This Bhootiyapanti, as its called in the film, keeps looking for one.
Women cry as they enter a room to attend a briefing by the Malaysian government regarding the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at a hotel in Beijing. (Reuters)