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Phone Bhoot Review: Katrina Kaif Is a Delight to Watch, But Ishaan Khatter Is the Show Stealer

By: Sonil Dedhia

Edited By: Shrishti Negi

News18.com

Last Updated: November 04, 2022, 14:06 IST

Mumbai, India

Katrina Kaif, Ishaan Khatter and Siddhant Chaturvedi in a still from Phone Bhoot.
Katrina Kaif, Ishaan Khatter and Siddhant Chaturvedi in a still from Phone Bhoot.

Phone Bhoot U/A

2.5/5
  • 4 November 2022 | Hindi
  • 2 hrs 16 mins | Horror Comedy
  • Starring: Katrina Kaif, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ishaan Khatter
  • Director: Gurmeet Singh
  • Music: Tanishk Bagchi, Rochak Kohli, Mikey McCleary, John Stewart Eduri

Phone Bhoot review: It is a delight to watch Katrina Kaif return to the big screen. She seems to be at ease throughout the film.

In times when the OTT platforms are serving a lot of trash in the name of being realistic and visceral, here comes a horror-comedy that literally tells us to push logic into a corner and take a ride that is mostly amusing, mildly frightening. Phone Bhoot is the latest in Bollywood’s ongoing flirtation with the horror-comedy genre.

Director Gurmeet Singh, along with his writers Jasvinder Bath and Ravi Shankaran Raj, delivers what their zany promos promised, but only in the second half of the film. Pre-interval, the film is tedious and will surely test your patience.

Two jobless, good-for-nothing horror-film addicts Major (Siddhant Chaturvedi) and Gullu (Ishaan) under immense fatherly pressure to find work, hit upon the idea to float a unique ghost-capturing service when they meet a female spirit, Ragini (Katrina Kaif) who makes their business a success but in return asks them for a dangerous favour which they are compelled to honour. On the other hand, there is Atmaram (Jackie Shroff) who along with his Rahu and Ketu plans to salvage Ragini’s plan.

Want to celebrate the crunch-popcorn Ramsay Brothers horror movies of yore? Then you’ve come to the right place. The film is dedicated to cringe 90s horror films that we saw in Bollywood. Be warned though. You really have to love the matinee madness and go rah-rah at the homages to the classics including a lot of pop culture references like Raka, a zombie like statue who Gullu and Major refer as their god, a Tamil ghost who is scared of superstar Rajinikanth and a chudail (played by Sheeba Chadda) who is named Chikni Chudail. There are various references from Excel Entertainment’s (producer of the film) previous outings like Fukrey and Mirzapur and even a tribute to Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.

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Singh tries creating a universe where one of the two lead protagonists’ prides in the believers. It being the one stop solution for ghosts to attain moksh. The film provides an opportunity to consistently mock at the genre. Phone Bhoot of course doesn’t go so far, but it’s quite evident that the comedy dominates the horror in this film to a large extent and that it’s a self-aware piece that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

It is only after Jackie Shroff’s entry that it takes a hilarious turn. Shroff is in his ‘Bhidu’ mode and effortlessly doles out one punch after the other. It is his pitch-perfect performance that makes the writing livelier.

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Among the lead cast, Ishaan is clearly the show stealer. Despite multiple one-liners and punch lines, the film would have fallen flat had it not been Ishaan who plays Gully with a winning confidence. On the other hand, Chaturvedi struggles to lend support to Ishaan’s rakish charm. Post Gully Boy, the actor had a rather lacklustre run and Phone Bhoot adds to it.

It is a delight to watch Katrina Kaif return to the big screen. She seems to be at ease throughout the film, cracking one-liners with enough confidence. She brings in a certain charm to her character.

I wish the first half of Phone Bhoot made me laugh, and the second half which is outrageously quirky was plotted more cleverly. The film hurtles towards a messy climax and that is where the problem lies. Overall, this is a film that will tickle every palate but if you want to destress from the entire week’s workload, you can give it a shot.

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first published:November 04, 2022, 13:31 IST
last updated:November 04, 2022, 14:06 IST