For many years, Bollywood did not give the horror-comedy genre a shot. But it sure seems to have caught the fancy of filmmakers in recent times. Director Hardik Mehta tries to blend the two genres in Roohi and succeeds to a large degree. In the film, the three actors at the centre of the plot – Rajkummar, Varun and Janhvi – are in great form and complement each other’s performances. Rajkummar, yet again, pulls off another part that has him playing the small-town guy with coloured hair and a goofy smile. Though his character may have similarities to his role in Stree, he ensures that this one stands out with different mannerisms and body language. But one does wonder if this is one role he is taking on far too many times. Varun shines with his great comic timing and pitch-perfect expressions. The actor pulls off comic parts with a certain ease, and here again, he flaunts his flair for comedy. Whether as Roohi or Afza, Janhvi doesn’t miss a beat. She delivers the chills with as much ease while playing Afza as she does as the timid Roohi. If she displayed promise with Dhadak and drew praise with Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, with this one, she proves that she has got the might and mettle that’ll keep her in the race for long. The film has its share of laughs with references made to moments from iconic films – for instance, Rose “letting” Jack die in the iconic Titanic and the unforgettable ‘palat’ moment in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. The film, written by Mrighdeep Singh Lamba Gautam Mehra, is replete with well-written one-liners, which land smoothly on most occasions. What the film lacks is a deeper narrative. There is a passing mention of what the main characters do with a back story, but very little sticks on in your mind. At over two hours, the film could definitely do with a tighter edit. Apart from all the entertainment, the film promotes the concept of self-love and self-belief, which works to a certain degree, but the ending seems a tad bit convenient, haphazard and lacks the punch that one is fed right from the start. As for the music, the two main tracks – Nadiyon Paar (reprised version of Let the Music Play) and Panghat – that play out during the opening and closing credits are the highlights of the soundtrack mainly composed by Sachin–Jigar and stay in your mind even after the movie is over. Overall, the film remains true to its genre and packs a good dose of entertainment, which makes it worth a trip to the theatre.Read full review
There is a very clear Fukrey vibe to Roohi, in fact there are scenes which will immediately remind you of Choocha and his unhinged love for Bholi, only that there’s a ‘churail’ (ghost) around. And it’s not any ordinary ghost but ‘Mudiya Pairi’ (literally twisted ankles). In and around Bagadpur, which has people speaking several dialects, there’s a tradition of ‘pakdai byah’ (bride kidnapping). Bhawra Pandey (Rajkummar Rao) and Katanni (Varun Sharma) are among the contract goons who get such weddings done. The twist in the tale comes when they abduct a possessed girl Roohi (Janhvi Kapoor) and then fall in love with her as Sharma hilariously calls it ‘the exercise of imlie’. Written by Mrighdeep Singh Lamba and Gautam Mehra, Roohi is totally about spontaneity and a solid beginning. Though both Rao and Sharma are in their favourite zone, but their back and forth and punchlines evoke laughs. The first 15-20 minutes of the film have more spoken words than an entire Vishal Bhardwaj film. Director Hardik Mehta (Amdavad Ma Famous, Kaamyaab) has got his hands on the pulse of the young audiences. He knows when to go for the oneliners and when to use overpowering background score to enhance the charm of a jungle and a funny ghost situation. Because Stree came first, so you might notice similarities but at the core of Roohi lies a lesser complicated idea. The only hindrance is that by the time we reach the point of resolution, almost everything has been repeated at least twice and the viewers are hammered with Choocha and Aaloo (Rao, Ludo) antics. If we avoid nitpicking then it’s actually quite enjoyable, certainly better than the heavy-duty notions hurled at us in the second half. Kapoor’s quickly shifting moods and voice modulations seem funnier than intended. At one point of time, it begins to feel like a split personality film gone completely awry. Thankfully, Rao and Sharma, mostly the latter, know their boundaries and stick to their strengths. Mehta, as director, while working with a convoluted script, creates some praiseworthy imageries, like that of an old lady doing cardio or Rao spreading his arms like Shah Rukh Khan in a silhouette. Such ploys instantly create a light mood where one would be more inclined to appreciate the efforts to create situational comedy. Despite being predictable and some disconnected scenes, Roohi has a tone of its own. It’s very talkative and has one point agenda — word play to the most. You may not remember this 145-minute film for its ideas but you’ll remember it for high entertainment quotient. Just like Hera Pheri, Thank You and Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare, Roohi too establishes an instant connect in spite of outrageous situations and extremely over the top comedy.Read full review
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