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Monday, January 30, 2023

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Phone Bhoot movie review: Katrina Kaif-Ishaan-Siddhant movie is painfully not funny

Someone must have thought that this one rule idea – two guys having fun and playing games with a sizzling feminine mind – was worth making. If someone shook and stirred, not in a good way at all, while suffering through the unbearably unfunny’Phone Bhoot‘, may I please say that the first person was wrong. So, so wrong.

Gullu (Ishaan Khatter) and Major (Siddhant Chaturvedi) are crazy horror fans. We know this because their bachelorette aisle, which some interior decorator has had some fun with, is littered with crazy lights, weird masks, and scary red-eyed figures. As money-making ideas go, going after ghosts isn’t insanely original: Remember the still downright hilarious Hollywood comedy “Ghostbusters” and its sequel? But it’s one thing to lift an idea, it’s quite another to turn it into a movie with the necessary cleverness. And laughs.

The appearance of Ragini (Katrini Kaif), who soon reveals that she is a ghost on a mission, sinks the film even before it even gets off the ground. Kaif has shown she can do it when she gets a well-written part: remember ‘Zero’, where she was the only thing worth watching? Here, in devious leather, boots and fringe, she gets some cheap lines that could have flown if their delivery wasn’t so flat. And that infects the movie from start to finish.

Whenever other characters show up, you awaken hope. There’s Jackie Shroff as Atmaram, an evil black-robed monster who lures poor dead creatures who want ‘moksha’, only to fool them into eternity. There is Sheeba Chadha, as a wild-eyed, ‘ulte-pair-wali chudail’, who speaks Hindi with Bengali accent. Unfortunately, her makeup is better than her scenes.

Before you wonder why Bengali, let me tell you that the writers are clearly pushing for national integration, with Gullu spitting Tamil, Major a little Punjabi (there’s even a luscious grey-haired ghostly creature breaking into a ‘bhangra’). There is a gathering of ‘bhoots’ in fancy dress in an underground cave, career and caving. Shroff is the only one in the joke, tapori starts speaking and calls his henchmen ‘bhidu’, when he’s not laughing mockingly and spinning a staff that shoots green beams of light.

Somewhere struggling under this mess must have been a movie. But the one we get is a wrong number.

Phone Bhoot Movie Cast: Katrina KaifIshaan KhatterSiddhant ChaturvediJackie ShroffSheeba Chaddha
Phone Bhoot Film Director: Gurmmeet Singh
Phone Bhoot Movie Review: 1 star

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