Movie Review: Roohi- 3.5/5

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STORY: Two small-town boys, Bhaura Pandey (Rajkummar Rao) and Kattanni Qureshi (Varun Sharma), are stuck with Roohi (Janhvi Kapoor) under strange circumstances. She seems to be a simple, demure girl, but they soon realise that she has another side to her ‑ her “ghostly” personality, Afza. Bhaura develops feeling for Roohi, and Kattanni falls for Afza. With a strange romance brewing between the trio, Bhaura wants to get rid of Afza, while Kattani wants to make sure she lives on so that he can romance her. Their crazy attempts to find a solution to their problem leads them into strange, but comic situations, where they encounter bizarre characters. What happens next forms the crux of the story.

Review: 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.

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.

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