More comedy than
scary, it’s a tepid remake of many old Ramu films, including Vaastu Shastra.
The plot: It begins with a note from the
director: ‘Some people can’t wait to get new houses. Some houses can’t wait to
get new people.’ Just as you sit up to watch something different, all that you
get to see is old ghost in new 3D technique. Unabashedly relying on the drawing
power of the 2003 hit Bhoot, to which
Returns has no connection, horrifying
changes happen in the Awasthi family when Tarun Awasthi (JD Chakravarthy), wife
Namrata (Manisha Koirala), son Taman, six-year-old daughter Nimmi (Alayana
Sharma) and servant Lakshman move into a new bungalow where there’s already
someone else in residence – an eerie invisible presence called Shabbo. And
there’s Tarun’s sister Pooja (Madhu Shalini) who has also dropped in to stay
with the Awasthis, to flash the mandatory leg or two.
The Awasthis are trapped – Shabbo is angered when Lakshman suggests that they
conduct a pooja in the house to drive away the ghost, the cops are tiresome
when little Nimmi goes missing and they can’t get out of the house which seals all
The good: The sound designed by Vikram Biswas
is apt (even if it’s used for no reason in most places) and special mention may
be made about the silent patches in the background score by Sandeep Chowtha,
which add to the eeriness of the film. The performance by child artiste Alayana
Sharma is worth noting.
The bad: Get this right, this film is not one
bit scary despite the 3D. All that Chakravarthy and Manisha Koirala have to do
is look tense, scream and screech at the invisible ghost lurking around their
house. The camera is very brutally honest and you can catch Manisha’s wrinkles
whenever her close-up comes up. JD Chakravarthy (long after Satya), still has to polish his diction
and accent. Awasthi cannot be a coffee-drinking Southie.
Thankfully, you are spared the blood curdling scenes and the odd cat-n-owl
in the screenplay and the story is told in a linear fashion. But it brings on
titters more than jitters. Mercifully Madhu Shalini does not overact like she did
in her mentor’s earlier turkey Department,
though hers is a superfluous role that could have easily been dispensed with.
The music by Salim-Sulaiman makes you wonder why they have they lost their
touch because you walk out of the theatre without recollecting even a single tune.
Ram Gopal Varma should stick to making entertaining films like Rangeela and spare us horror films which
look like weak comedies. And he has the gall to announce Bhoot 3?
Returns is not the return of Ramu for sure. The old loyal audience won’t
return to the theatre to lap this up.
– Jyothi Venkatesh