Director: Vivek Sharma
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Aman Siddiqui, Juhi Chawla, Shah Rukh Khan
Storyline: Boy befriends ghost and they learn a thing or two from each other.
Bottomline: A delightful start to a kiddie-movie franchise
Dear kids who grew up on Jaadoo – the alien,
Of course, you need re-orientation.
After all, you possibly can’t tell your kids the ‘When-we-were-little’ story with ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ in it without having them laugh at you at the end of that sentence.
If ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ was a life sentence, ‘Krissh’ was death.
So quick, thank God, the B.R.Chopra clan and Vivek Sharma for giving us ‘Bhoothnath,’ the only decent mainstream attempt at fantasy fare for kids from Bollywood in recent times.
Here’s a ghost who does not have to use his superpowers to fight evil Mogambos and save the world.
Hell, he does not even use it to help the kid cheat in sports.
And though there are plenty of visual effects in the film, thankfully there is no abuse of computer-generated animation as Sharma keeps it effectively brief and uses effects only when extremely necessary.
Vivek Sharma’s Bhoothnath, the friendly ghost, is the kind your parents would approve of because he says exactly the same things they would want to tell you… And, he also happens to be the kind kids like you would love because he is like you.
The cool thing about Bhoothnath is that the ghost with superpowers is not a superhero. One moment, he’s as flawed and mischievous as the boy and the next, he’s the loving, caring, grandfather-figure who helps him understand right from wrong.
This is the kind of stuff that could’ve become outright preachy but thanks to Sharma’s maturity and sensitivity in handling the narrative, the film works beautifully well with the right dose of mischief and moral instructions.
Grown-ups are likely to groan at the melodrama towards the end but if you are a child and/or a sucker for sentiment, you will love the way Sharma employs drama to touch upon lessons of unconditional forgiveness, understanding the place you call home and what it stands for.
Traditionally, the young have always most connected to the old, sharing an impulse and innocence they completely relate to each other. With nuclear families becoming the norm in recent times, the link between generations seems to have broken and kids are growing up lonelier than ever before.
Here’s a film that once again builds that bridge and celebrates the old-world charm.
Bhoothnath has everything going for it as a franchise for sugarcoated moral science for kids.
Aman Siddiqui is a natural, immensely likeable (Admittedly, I find 95 per cent of all child actors annoying). Bachchan churns out one of his best ever, one that will haunt. Even the support cast of comic characters is incredibly memorable… a drunk (Rajpal Yadav) who’s often the target of Bhoothnath’s pranks, a best friend-rival for the kid, a Principal (Satish Shah) who steals lunch from the kids, an adorable Mommy (Juhi Chawla makes a super comeback) who makes cooking look like a workout and there’s Shah Rukh Khan in an extended cameo.
Can’t wait for Bhoothnath and Co to come back and remind us what ‘Jaadoo’ really used to mean before Hrithik Roshan happened.