Roohi Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Varun Sharma, Janhvi Kapoor, Manav Vij, Alexx O'Nell
Roohi Director: Hardik Mehta
Where to Watch: In theatres
The appeal of horror comedies has picked up of late among the Hindi-cinema audience despite Mehmood
saab's Bhoot Bungla having hit the bull's-eye way back in 1965. For some reason though, the industry did not or didn't feel like cashing in on its success, despite the South industry making merry with these types of films, especially over the last three decades or so. It wasn't until years later that another horror-comedy of repute emerged in Bollywood with Bhool Bhulaiyaa in 2007, and then, too, it took another six years before Go Goa Gone energized the sub-genre, followed by Stree, another five years later, whose blockbuster success really made the audience sit up and yearn for more horror-comedies. So, now, three years later (would've been two if not for the lockdown), the producer of Stree, Dinesh Vijan, returns with Roohi, the next installment in the same horror universe, also starring the leading man of Stree, Rajkummar Rao, along with Janhvi Kapoor and Varun Sharma. So, does it manage to have the same impact? Sadly, it doesn't even come close. So, are you excited about what to watch this weekend or what to watch this week and wondering whether Roohi is worth the trip to the theatre? Scroll down for my full Roohi review...
What's it about
Bhawra (Rajkummar Rao) and Kattanni (Varun Sharma) are in the business of kidnapping girls in their small town to get forcibly marrie did to the boys and their families interested in making those girls their brides. When they pull off the same stunt with Roohi (Janhvi Kapoor), they get way more than they bargained for this this time, they kidnap not one, but two souls, with the second being the spirit (chudail), Afzana, living inside Roohi. Things come to a head when both Bhawra and Kattanni fall for Roohi and Afzana and need to race against time to respective love interests.
Check out the Roohi trailer here... VIDEO
Varun Sharma is delightful in Roohi, elevating even the most mundane dialogues and pedestrian writing with his sheer talent for humour and that impeccable comic timing we've grown so fond of. Other than him, the film has a few good scares coupled with some genuinely funny moments, but they're smattered far and wide. Four other aspects that do their bit to keep us remotely engaged are the sound effects, production design, Amalendu Chaudhary's camerawork and Ketan Sodha's enthusing background score. Plus, the makeup done on Janhvi Kapoor in her Afzana avatar is well on point, so kudos to that.
Without mincing words, Roohi is pretty dull for long stretches, with a very uneven screenplay, which also has more than its share of confounding moments and plot points that would prove hard to follow even for the most attentive of viewers. Moreover, for some absurd reason, Rajkummar Rao's accent and diction keeps fluctuating to represent several states of North and Central India, and the language of his dialogues is such you may seek subtitles as if you're watching a foreign film. Janhvi Kapoor, for her part, has two notes — whimpering and cowering as Roohi and screaming and growling as Afzana, that's it. However, what really drags the movie down is the evident lack of both horror and comedy for a horror-comedy. Additionally, the transition of falling in love for both Bhawra and Kattanni is too sudden and inorganic, and the climax of the film, coupled with it's clear agenda-driven writing, would leave you scratching your head over the sheer preposterousness of it all. As for the editing...let's just say it seems that Huzefa Lokhandwala went on sick leave the moment post-production began.
If Dinesh Vijan and Maddock are really serious about creating an exciting horror universe that could last for several years and films, then Roohi is quite a misstep in that direction as it not only undoes a lot of the goodwill created by Stree, but also adds more pressure on Bhediya, coming next, to rectify the errors and bring things zooming back on track. I'm going with 2.5 out of 5 stars.
2.5 out of 5
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