BHOOTHNATH (2008) Reviews and overview

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Bhoothnath – translation: “Lord of Ghosts” – is a 2008 Indian Hindi horror comedy feature film directed by Vivek Sharma from a screenplay co-written with Sudhanshu Dube. It is a loose adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost.The movie stars Amitabh Bachchan, Juhi Chawla, Aman Siddiqui, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Rajpal Yadav and Shah Rukh Khan.

A sequel, Bhoothnath Returns, was released on 11 April 2014.

Moving into a new house, a family witnesses an unfriendly ghost who wants to drive them away from the house. However, he befriends a little boy who changes his outlook forever…

“Nath’s ghostly powers don’t make much sense or have any consistency—the near-tragedy occurs through an inability he displays nowhere else—but the highly handsome, 65-year-old Bachchan truly is magnetic onscreen. And the early musical number with pint-sized kiddies rumbling like it’s West Side Story meets ‘Beat It’ is just a hoot.” Frank Lovece, Film Journal International

“Newcomer Siddiqui and living legend Bachchan develop good chemistry, as the young Banku helps turn the curmudgeonly old spirit into Bhoothnath the friendly ghost. And there are some good visual effects here. But the film lacks the imagination and a semblance of a real plot needed to create the desired magic.” Paul Dhillon, The Georgia Straight

“With some witty special effects and the seasoned performances of the A-list stars, Bhoothnath works best when it focuses on the spooky antics between ghost and humans.” Anil Sinanan, The Times

Bhoothnath never finds a comfortable balance between broad comedy and the bittersweet relationship between Nath and Banku, each of whom fills a void in the other’s existence. The musical sequences are largely forgettable, with the exception of a schoolyard-standoff number in which Banku and his classmates imagine themselves as ghetto gangstas” Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide

“Amitabh Bachchan plays the grandfatherly ghost, Bhoothnath, who won’t let anyone stay in his house even though only his spirit can inhabit it. His comic timing is as impeccable as ever. Not to worry, Amitabh fans – the funny faces, the angst of a person who is worried for someone close, the grief-stricken eyes at the memory of a painful event – all are very much there…” Without Giving the Movie Away

Cast and characters:
Amitabh Bachchan … Kailash Nath aka Bhoothnath
Shah Rukh Khan … Aditya Sharma
Juhi Chawla … Anjali Sharma
Aman Siddiqui … Aman “Banku” Sharma
Satish Shah … Principal J.J. Irani
Rajpal Yadav … Anthony
Priyanshu Chatterjee … Vijay Nath
Shaana Diya … Shaana, Vijay’s wife
Neena Kulkarni … Nirmala Nath
Delnaaz Paul … Jojo’s mother
Aashish Chaudhary … Rohan
Nauheed Cyrusi … Tina
Amit Behl … Doctor
Achyut Potdar … Temple Priest

Bhoothnath was released in India by B R Films on 9 May 2008 and was a semi-hit.

At the time of writing, Bhoothnath is available for streaming on Netflix USA and UK.

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