Bhoot (2003)

Ramgopal Varma - Director / Salim/Sulaiman - Music

N/A - Lyrics / Running time: 1 hours 55 minutes

Own it!

I know that I said in the text on the Latest page that from what I had seen, all of the movies of India were musicals. I'm sorry to say that this is in fact not the case. The truth be told, I've actually seen three movies of Indian origin that had no elaborate song and dance numbers. Those films were (in no particular order) Monsoon Wedding, Ek Hasina Thi, and today's item of scrutiny, Bhoot ("Ghost" in English).

A few things are worthy of notice in today's selection. First, as I've just mentioned, there are no songs. Not one. I got about half an hour into the movie before that dawned on me. "We've passed the twenty minute mark. Not many of these make you wait that long to get dancing." Also of note, look at the running time up there! Yes, that is a "1" in the "hours" field. When you cut out the songs, it seems you lose close to 45 minutes of running time. I also pondered the significance of Urmila Matondkar being the leading lady in two of the three non-musical Bollywood movies I've watched, but we're getting a little nit-picky by that point. It's too bad though, because Urmila is one heck of a dancer. Last but not least, this is the first movie I've covered that I'll file under the genre of "horror." You might be thinking that Dhund - The Fog might also qualify for that genre, but instead you'll find it listed under "really bad."

As discussed in the intro to Dhund - The Fog, there is a fairly common practice in Bollywood to "borrow" plot devices/elements/storylines from other works. While this is not a direct remake of another film, Bhoot draws heavily from two fairly recognizable sources. The first of which would be The Exorcist, wherein a young girl is possessed by the devil. Here, the victim is not a pre-teen, nor is the spirit the devil, but we do have a spiteful spirit inhabiting an otherwise sweet and innocent person and making them do things that they are not usually known to do. The other source of inspiration would be the thriller The Sixth Sense, where a young boy can see the spirits of the dead and communicate with them. I don't know about you, but I'll take Urmila in that role over Haley Joel Osment any day of the week.

We have a few repeat performers here, so let's look at our cast.

First and always foremost is the lovely Ms. Urmila Matondkar. Ms. Urmila has made two prior appearances here at Army of Monkeys, in Mast and Rangeela. I've not made any attempt to hide my liking of Urmila's work. She's good in everything I've seen her in, and have no reason to doubt this will continue. Bhoot is a little bit of a departure for her from the other films she's done, as she portrays a tormented and eventually possessed housewife. However, she does it very well, as you'll hopefully soon see.

Next up is Ajay Devgan, who has been seen in Taarzan - The Wonder Car as Raj's father, and as the wickedly fun bad guy Angre in Khakee. He's not playing a bad guy this time, and he doesn't get to kill anyone either.

The final repeat appearance is one I'm fairly excited about. We herald the return of Nana Patekar, last seen as the despicable, deplorable, demented, devious, devilish, and dastardly Vishwanath in Agni Sakshi. I swear, I've only hated a few villains in these Bollywood films, and Vishwanath was right at the top of the list. However, this time he is playing a police inspector. Also noteworthy is that he's a police inspector that doesn't beat the daylights out of the people he is questioning.

One last addition - our friend Norjahan (oops I mean Jan!) has written in with this little bit of trivia: "By the way! Since you like trivia, here's one for you. :) Tanuja (Mrs. Khosla in Bhoot) is...*drumrolls* Kajol's mother. Hope you didn't know that one already. ;)" I was not aware of that Jan, so thanks for letting me know!

For this outing, we have on the roster:

Vishal (Ajay Devgan) - Very successful and important professional guy. I couldn't quite tell if he was a lawyer or an architect, but he does wear a tie every day. Perhaps not the most sensitive to his wife's problems.
Swati (Urmila Matondkar) - The wife of Vishal. She doesn't feel quite at ease in her new apartment, and has a little trouble convincing Vishal that things are not what they seem.
Liyaqat Qureshi (Nana Patekar) - The police inspector called upon to investigate some odd happenings in Vishal and Swati's building. A little quirky, but he always gets his man. Or woman. You pick.
Sarita (Rekha) - A specialist in the paranormal. She's able to speak to the dead, which will come in handy tonight. She's also got a pretty intense personality, so brace yourself for some aggressive staring.
Sanjay (Fardeen Khan) - Thakkar's son, and a bit of a problem child. Ignore those hands on his neck in the picture there, they are not important. Nope.
Dr. Rajan (Victor Banerjee) - A psychologist that is called in to help diagnose some of Swati's problems. We all need a little help now and then.
Mrs. Khosla (Tanuja) - Manjeet's mother. I don't have a lot to add there, so we'll leave it at that.
Bai (Seema Biswas) - The skittish and superstitious housekeeper. She was the maid for the previous tenants, and seems a little... off. She also loves the taste of the end of her finger, and gnaws on it every chance she gets.
Thakkar (Amar Talwar) - The superintendent of the apartment building where Vishal and Swati live.
Manjeet (Barkha Madan) - She's got a bad case of "fallen off a building," but it is not contagious. She seems upset about being dead, and does her best to let others know how she's feeling.
Watchman (Sabir Masani) - The doorman at the apartment building. I'm not going to call him "lazy," but there are several million other people who would.

Urmila sees dead people. All the time.

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