Cast: Janhvi Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Varun Sharma
Director: Hardik Mehta
Roohi has a very definite Fukrey vibe, in fact there are scenes that immediately remind you of Choocha and his unhinged love for Bholi, only that there is a ‘churail’ (ghost) around. And it’s not an ordinary ghost but ‘Mudiya Pairi’ (literally twisted ankles).
In and around Bagadpur, where people speak different dialects, there is a tradition of ‘pakdai byah’ (bride abduction). Bhawra Pandey (Rajkummar Rao) and Katanni (Varun Sharma) are among the contractors who arrange such weddings. The twist in the story comes when they kidnap a possessed girl Roohi (Janhvi Kapoor) and then fall in love with her, as Sharma hilariously calls “imlie’s exercise.”
Written by Mrighdeep Singh Lamba and Gautam Mehra, Roohi is all about spontaneity and solid beginnings. Although both Rao and Sharma are in their favorite zone, their back and forth and punchlines evoke laughter. The first 15-20 minutes of the film contain more spoken words than an entire Vishal Bhardwaj film. Director Hardik Mehta (Amdavad Ma Famous, Kaamyaab) has his finger on the pulse of the young audience. He knows when to go for the one-liners and when to use an overwhelming background score to enhance the jungle charm and funny ghost situation.
Because Stree came first, so you might notice similarities, but the core of Roohi is a less complicated idea. The only hindrance is that by the time we reach the point of resolution, almost everything has been repeated at least twice and the viewers are hammered with antics from Choocha and Aaloo (Rao, Ludo). If we avoid nitpicking, it’s actually pretty fun, certainly better than the heavy notions thrown at us in the second half.
Kapoor’s rapidly changing moods and voice modulations seem funnier than intended. At some point, it starts to feel like a split personality movie gone completely wrong. Fortunately, Rao and Sharma, usually the latter, know their limits and stick to their strengths.
Mehta, as a director, while working with an intricate script creates some commendable images, such as that of an old lady doing cardio or Rao spreading his arms like Shah Rukh Khan in a silhouette. Such tricks immediately create a light mood in which one would be more inclined to appreciate the efforts to create situational comedy. Despite being predictable and having a few separate scenes, Roohi has its own tone. It’s very chatty and has one agenda item – pun for the most.
You may not remember this 145 minute movie because of its ideas, but you do remember it because of its high entertainment quotient. Like Hera Pheri, Thank You and Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare, Roohi makes an instant connection, despite scandalous situations and extremely over-the-top comedy.
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