Official Bhootiyagiri review: Sumeet Vyas shines in this engaging horror-comedy
Official Bhootiyagiri review: Sumeet Vyas returns as the smart CEO Dilawar Rana who is trying to turn a haunted hotel into a profitable venture. He soon realizes that it is ghosts from your past that are most terrifying.Updated: May 16, 2020 13:32 IST
Cast: Sumeet Vyas, Vishwajoy Mukherjee, Eisha Chopra
Director: Vishwajoy Mukherjee
Making a horror comedy is a delicate business. For this genre to work, it must deliver quality horror and quality comedy. Sumeet Vyas, who has dabbled in the genre for the first time with Official Bhootiyagiri, has ensured it never becomes crass or a caricature, delivering both thrills and laughs.
Watch Official Bhootiyagiri trailer here
Being a victim of Bhoot Part One and Ghost Stories, I am wary of the desi horror offerings on the OTT platforms, but the makers successfully manage laughs in Official Bhootiyagiri without offering us a laughable script. Horror comedy is a tricky subject and after watching Alt Balaji’s Booo Sabki Phategi, I thought spending a night at a haunted house would be better than watching yet another horror show, on a digital platform. Fortunately, Official Bhootiyagiri on MX Player has restored my faith.
Fresh from the success of Official Chukyagiri and Official CEOgiri, Sumeet’s Dilawar Rana walks out of a real jail into a metaphorical one -- the house where he spent his traumatic childhood. Branded a fraud in public for a crime committed by his stepbrother Cash (Pranay Manchanda), Dilawar must barter his freedom in exchange of converting a loss-ridden, haunted hotel into a profitable venture. He puts the CEO in him to work, but in his attempt to provide a scary experience to the visitors, he ends up treading on the ghosts of his past that are far more frightening than the supernatural variety. The series turns into a personal journey where he accepts and comes to terms with his past.
The show opens on a high note with Sumeet showcasing his business skills even in jail. His voiceover is the real gem that keeps the five-episode series breezy. Even before the viewer can settle into Official Bhootiyagiri, Sumeet is done with a fruitful classroom session on business acumen of people behind the bars, secret behind a successful startup and the massive number of undertrial prisoners in Indian jails. But the party soon gets over as he gets on to the real task at hand. In a diligent effort to add weight to the story, the following episodes seem to fizzle out in comparison to the brilliant start.
Official Bhootiyagiri is much more just the mystery of a haunted hotel. As Dilawar exorcises his inner demons, the thread slows down the pace of the show, without diluting its essence. The rest of it becomes a slightly dull journey of the cast and the viewer figuring out the real ghosts and the ‘official’ ones. If the writer could have saved a bit of their word art for later, Official Bhootiyagiri could have matched the success of Sumeet’s successful Tripling series.
Emotions are everything in India and Sumeet’s character realises their importance well in time. One scene needs mention – an apologetic brother sending a servant in a “Sorry bro” tee to Sumeet’s character wearing a tee with “Welcome Back Bro” written over it. It’s been a popular trend of communicating feelings through T-shirt slogans in web shows and the makers couldn’t let go of the opportunity. But the forced brand promotion hurts the most, a little subtlety would have been welcome.
If the writer could have focussed on the funny one-liners as promised in the beginning, it could have been a win-win deal. But they definitely deserve a pat for successfully giving us the message of making peace with the circumstances, something that we all need to do as we accept and live with the new normal.
(Author tweets @ruchik87)
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