Reet Thakur (Kiara Advani) along with another traveler Ruhaan Randhawa (Karthik Aaryan) travels to her hometown to marry her fiancée when she discovers that her sister loves him. Unwilling to marry, Reet plots to get her sister married to him by faking her death. When the family gets suspicious of her being alive in the mansion, Ruhaan covers her identity by giving a false idea that he has the ability to see the unseen that coincides with the reappearance of Manjulika’s spirit that was imprisoned in one of the rooms of the mansion for eighteen years.
The first thing that the audience must understand is that Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is not the continuity from Priyadarshan‘s Bhool Bhulaiyaa, the 2007 big hit that achieved cult status. Nor the film needs to be compared with it. There are a lot of emotions the fans attached to the original work due to the memorable roles of Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan, Priyadarshan’s typical comedy, and Pritam‘s music, especially the title song.
Akshay’s role going to Karthik also raised eyebrows including mine because I felt it was too risky to hand over this role. The role was made for Akshay and vice versa. Not sure if any other actor would have done justice. The only similarity in the casting was Rajpal Yadav‘s memorable role of Chhote Pandit played again.
Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is the reimagining of the original story with some smart elements in writing that makes bring back Manjulika but I think the writer fails to conclude the story for preferring to sensationalize the climax. Some portions of humor were silly and lame but some were funny. Karthik did a fair job in his capacity but nowhere close to what Akshay did. That element was badly missing.
The wisest decision in making this film was signing Tabu for Manjulika, a role that Vidya perfected in the previous film and gave her her first shot at recognition as a promising actress that later on shaped a wonderful acting career. Who else could have played this difficult role other than Tabu? Tabu is senior to Vidya in age and career so I was concerned about the character’s strength and body language but I later realized that this is a different Manjulika. And I must pause my review and express that I was hypnotized at Tabu. She looked so young and beautiful for a 51-year-old actress. And unsurprisingly an excellent performance.
Was the second part necessary? I think it is not about the need. There is no harm if the director reimagines the whole story to go in a different direction. If I do not assume this film to have any respective link with the previous film, it may look acceptable to some extent. For me, this film keeps reminding me of the former which is a sentimental form of judging the current film. Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is an entertainer and this is what clicking here.
I have done blogging my own version of Filmfare for seven straight years. Since the late 1990s, I have observed and got annoyed on many occasions when I witnessed the prestigious awards show of Filmfare losing its credibility. Therefore, I have been managing to scrutinize and make my own list of honors who, I believe, deserved the most and need to be recognized.
Since 2014, I have been passing my annual report of Bollywood’s best every year. My Bollywood’s best had 21 categories that are segregated into three different sections which are musical (5), technical (10), and major (6) sections. This time, I have added one more category in technical that is ‘Best Makeup & Hairstyling’. I felt that is the need of the hour as things have changed and improved in the Hindi-film industry.
And yes, the industry is changing, in a sense that the new generation of writers and directors, a collective group of veteran actors and new artists, are trying to do new and attract the audience in the industry. Just, for example, Kajol picked a pretty different film last year, Tribhanga. Akshay Kumar, out of the equation, played a supporting role in Atrangi Re which is quite not his thing. Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi, with all the highly talented ensemble cast, got the critical acclaim it deserved. A few years ago, this wasn’t possible due to a large inclination towards mainstream cinema. But now we observe flexibility and the audience is willing to try innovative.
MY BOLLYWOOD’S BEST OF THE PAST YEARS
Those who want to read my previous annual reports of Bollywood’s best, click on any of the following links:
For music, I keep my options open and there is no limit to the number of films because quality work in music can happen in any film. But besides music, I chose the following Hindi films released last year under my scrutiny to judge for all the categories:
So how do I work myself as a film critic honoring in the blogs every year?
I judge and pass my reviews of the selected films.
After watching each and every selected film, I make notes about the plusses and minuses, and further note down in what categories these films qualify.
From this year, each of the 22 categories will have a maximum of 5 nominations and for the first time in eight years, I will now rank my nominations. No more ‘Other Notable Works’ or ‘Special Mention’. If I feel I need to write a few lines in any category, I will.
After I am done with honors, I will write down the total number of nominations and wins submitted in my report as stat fun.
MY BOLLYWOOD’S BEST OF 2021
The wait is over…
Allow me to honor Bollywood’s artistic and technical excellence in 2021 according to Sami Naik.
There can be no better scene than dramatizing this horrifying part of pre-independence history. This scene was kept on wait after two hours well spent on developing the story and Udham’s character in entirety. The intensity and provocation of that bloodshed were extremely detailed. This scene was deliberately shot violent. The graphic detailing of this three-minute scene full of gunshots and painful cries was more savage than what Lord Attenborough showed in Gandhi. It was a scene that boiled the emotions and broke the hearts. Udham’s commentary about his fury for this incident all this time made his case.
2nd. Sardar Revisiting her Lahore House (Sardar Ka Grandson)
3rd. Sandy Loses Her Child (Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar)
4th. Arjun Thakur Recovering from Vomitting (Dhamaka)
5th. The revelation of Maanvi (Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui)
Vicky as Sardar will be remembered as one of the best performances in Hindi cinema for this new decade. You feel pain when his portrayal agonizes. There is much discomfort to watch his rage and hatred for British Imperialism and he has perfected that genuity you want to watch in the films about Indian freedom against the British. His tense courtroom scene of justification and in a lengthy struggle of saving many lives after the massacre are the best examples of Vicky’s notable performance.
Parineeti has to be the most improved actress of the last year who gave not one but two brilliant performances. But this role, she had the grip. When a role for a woman in desperate help or seeking freedom from her misery requires a solid actress to perfect it, talented actresses like Aliya Bhatt, Taapsee, and Bhumi are coming to your mind. So Dibakar chose Parineeti and gave her the platform. You observe her when she loses her child, when she gets scared on a lot of occasions, or when she tries to escape the rape attempt. A marvelous display of mental and emotional acting.
Sardar Udham is one of the best directed Hindi films I have watched in recent years. Shoojit’s presentation makes me wonder if Sardar Udham actually is an Indian film. It is some accomplishment. The courtroom scenes, Sardar speaking about freedom alone in the park, Sardar’s quest for O’ Dwyer, and most significantly, the horrifying Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and its extremely lengthy aftermath are the bullet reasons why I feel that Shoojit has set the standards and raised the bar of directional artistry too high.
2nd. Manjari Makijany (Skater Girl)
3rd. Seema Pahwa (Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi)
4th. Bugs Bhargava (Nail Polish)
5th. Gitanjali Rao (Bombay Rose)
Believe me! Honoring the best film of the year is the most challenging judgment. And being a film critic, it is my responsibility to make a decision that supports the purpose of being the best. Milestone focused on the struggle of a broken man in the wake of tragedy; while Nail Polish highlighted a complicated criminal case. Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi was a family drama but with a real-feel dramatization. Sardar Udham shows the darker side of the freedom fighter. All these films had elements that have been watched before but were extraordinary films.
Skater Girl is a totally different rhythm and beat that sparks attraction to its audience with a fresh direction, and a catchy screenplay. A story about a village girl who finds her heart in skating after two foreigners introduce skateboarding is a genuine love story to filmmaking.
The writers spent one year getting the feel of the village and creating the characters that stamp some quality portrayals. And this is exactly why Skater Girl looks so real and close to life.
2nd. Sardar Udham
3rd. Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi
4th. Nail Polish
TABLE OF MULTIPLE WINS & NOMINATIONS
MULTIPLE WINS & NOMINATIONS
Silence… Can You Hear It?
Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi
Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar
The Girl on the Train
Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui
Sardar Ka Grandson
Bhuj: The Pride of India
Thank you for reading my annual Bollywood honors report. I will return with a new report next year. Share your opinion below. Stay safe.
Vishu (Dhanush) and Rinku (Sara Ali Khan) end up in a forced marriage that results in Vishu’s breakup with his girlfriend. Rinku was married to him so that she can stop dreaming about her lover’s return. Just when Vishu develops emotions for her, Rinku’s boyfriend surfaces.
Believe me, I am aware of the plot that I am writing to you and that has occurred millions of times in this industry. But the story gets interesting after wasting one hour of your precious life. So you may take it this way that the plot of Atrangi Re is interesting but the execution is outrageous.
While you begin to watch this film, the direction and the leading performances look spot on but somewhere in your heart tells you that there is something really wrong with the film. The film lacks the heart, all the hard work of Sara Ali Khan and Dhanush looks wasted because the script is not doing any justice. Just like the whole wrong sentence should be rephrased for a better meaning, the story deserved a better screenplay. Especially the second half is meaningless, overstretched, and lost. Instead of coming to the conclusion, we are wasting our time watching cheesy humor.
What impresses me about Dhanush is that he chooses the right role where he really fits in the story and does a better job. And his acting is upgraded for sure and you can judge that by observing him when he is laughing-gassed to get married. This is the first time I watched Sara Ali Khan’s performances and she really has some acting skills at this early phase of her career. Yes, she was reminding us of Jab We Met‘s Geet, in fact, the whole film was like Jab We Met crossing the path with Raanjhanaa.
I think the biggest plus of this film is A.R.Rahman‘s score. This has to be his best work since Raanjhanaa. Melodious and soulful. Even if a few songs were ordinary, that old beat was just right there. On so many occasions, his background score was disconnecting me; especially when Vishu and Rinku are getting married.
Overall, I wish I would say that Rahman’s music saved the day but Atrangi Re, despite two above-average performances, is a disappointment. Even the presence of superstar like Akshay Kumar didn’t help nor was he utilized.