Phone Bhoot movie review: Katrina Kaif-Ishaan-Siddhant film is painfully unfunny

Someone must have thought this one line idea — two guys having some fun and games with a sizzling female ghost — was worthy of being made. As someone shaken and stirred, not in a good way at all, while suffering through the excruciatingly unfunny ‘Phone Bhoot‘, can I please just say that first someone was wrong. So, so wrong.

Gullu (Ishaan Khatter) and Major (Siddhant Chaturvedi) are mad horror fans. We know this because their bachelor pad, which some interior decorator has had fun with, is dotted with crazy lights, weird masks, and scary red-eyed figures. As money-making ideas go, going after ghosts is not madly original: remember the still flat-out hilarious Hollywood comedy ‘Ghostbusters’ and its sequels? But it’s one thing to lift an idea, it’s quite another to turn it into a film with the requisite smarts. And laughs.

The appearance of Ragini (Katrina Kaif), who quickly reveals that she is a ghost on a mission, sinks the film even before it has taken off. Kaif has shown that she can do well if given a well-written role: remember ‘Zero’, where she was the only thing worth looking at? Here, in slinky leather, boots, and bangs, she is given some cheesy lines that could have flown if their delivery was not so flat. And that infects the film from beginning to end.

Whenever other characters turn up, you raise your hopes. There’s Jackie Shroff as Atmaram, an evil black-robed monster who lures poor dead creatures who want ‘moksha’, only to fool them till eternity. There’s Sheeba Chadha, as a wild-eyed, ‘ulte-pair-wali chudail’, who speaks Bengali accented Hindi. Sadly, her make-up is better than her scenes.

Before you ask why Bengali, let me tell you that the writers are clearly pushing for national integration, with Gullu spouting Tamil, Major a smattering of Punjabi ( there’s even a lush grey-haired ghostly creature who breaks into a ‘bhangra’). There’s an assembly of ‘bhoots’ in fancy dress in an underground cavern, career and cavorting. Shroff is the only one who is in on the joke, getting to speak tapori, and call his henchmen ‘bhidu’, when not flashing snarky smiles and twirling a staff that shoots green rays of light.

Somewhere struggling underneath this mess must have been a movie. But the one we get is a wrong number.

Phone Bhoot movie cast: Katrina Kaif, Ishaan Khatter, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Jackie Shroff, Sheeba Chaddha
Phone Bhoot movie director: Gurmeet Singh
Phone Bhoot movie review: 1 star

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