‘Atithi Bhooto Bhava’: Cast & Crew
Director: Hardik Gajjar
Cast: Pratik Gandhi, Sharmin Segal, Jackie Shroff, Simran Sharma, Prabhjyot Singh, Divinaa Thackur
Available On: Zee5
Duration: 1 Hour 53 Minutes
‘Atithi Bhooto Bhava’: Story
Srikant's (Pratik Gandhi) life turns upside down when he bumps into a middle-aged ghost Makhan Singh (Jackie Shroff) who claims to be his grandson from his previous birth. Things take an even more comical turn when the ghost seeks Srikant's help to meet his long-lost love. To add to the woes Srikant’s live-in girlfriend Netra (Sharmin Segal) believes in the love story of Makhan. Together they all venture out on a road trip to find Makhan’s long-lost ladylove. Will they be able to find her? Will she still be alive? Will this love story teach Srikant-Netra some lessons in love? Well, for all that you’ll have to watch the movie.
‘Atithi Bhooto Bhava’: Performances
Jackie Shroff is the star of the show. Despite the fact that he is playing a ghost, it’s his performance that is the most believable. Ironic, eh? Shroff’s child-like innocence added with his antics, his guffaws and the one-liners of life lessons are all that stay with you after the film’s over.
Don’t know why Pratik Gandhi signed up for this movie. He is a star performer in almost all his projects whereas here he is way below average. There are scenes where it feels like he is purposely hamming just to feel scared of a ghost rather than actually feeling it from inside. In some places, even his dialogue delivery is too paced for the viewer. Opposite a stellar performer like Shroff, his act should have automatically gone a notch higher, but it didn’t. The entire performance feels like Gandhi is trying too hard to break away from his serious roles and do a quintessential romantic hero character. Sadly, he fails!
Sharmin Segal made a great first impression in ‘Malaal’. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of her act in ‘Atithi Bhooto Bhava’. She tries to be that frustrated girlfriend who’s trying to make a man out of her wayward boyfriend, but her act comes up much less impactful as a character than it should have been. The fights that she has with Gandhi don’t feel believable for a couple living together for over four years.
‘Atithi Bhooto Bhava’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects
The writing by Shreyes Anil Lowlekar, Pradeep Srivastava and Aniket Wakchaure is the biggest soft spot of the movie. There are sequences that are too cliched and stereotypical. Like a Sardar ghost, sitting and watching Akshay Kumar’s ‘Singh Is Bling’ or a ghost living in banyan tree tops or a ghost getting stuck to you if you pee in front of a banyan tree – all just cater to the commercial aspect of the film, which honestly, doesn’t work.
Hardik Gajjar’s direction is patchy, to say the least. Just to make sense of the illogical sequence of events, he has specifically put a dialogue where Segal asks Gandhi, ‘Are you trying to find logic in this?’ Which is what pretty much everyone watching the film was doing. Why would a ghost need to open the car door to come out, but he doesn’t use it when sitting in? To add to the logic-less sequences, there are open-ending scenes which don’t have any meaning. Why does the Halwai in Mathura be able to see the ghost? Why keep that entire sequence of going to Gandhi’s best friend’s home while on way to Mathura? No closure is given to even that boyfriend’s character who has been in love for years with Gandhi’s best friend.
However, where Hardik Gajjar salvages his directorial sensibilities is the last shot of the climax. The way he has visualised and shown the ghost finally meeting the love of his life is brilliant. It’s a masterpiece, and it's surprising that no one before thought of showing a ghost sequence ending like this. It was the perfect culmination of the story. Just that climax salvages all the shortcomings that Gajjar had done before.
The music of the movie by Prasad S is also great. It’s a romantic album filled with numerous love tracks and you’ll invariably start humming one or two by the end of the movie. However, there are too many of them in the film, and Gajjar should have kept a couple of them in the screenplay and used the rest in just the jukebox for online consumption.
The cinematography by Madhu Vannier wasn’t able to capture the beauty of Mathura in its full glory. When you’re showing a Holi sequence in Mathura, you’re missing out by not making every sequence look colourful. Also, the entire sequence of Gandhi and Segal in their home looked a bit too fake to be realistic. The house, the setting, and the feel of the home didn’t make proper sense, and Vannier could have set up the home location better so as to make it look more authentic. To add to that, the movie is a road trip film, and there’s barely much happening on the roads. Check out ‘Piku’ or ‘Tripling’ or any other road trip films or shows, and they would invariably have sequences where there is banter inside the car or the car stops on the roadside and then there is a heavy banter. That gives a feel to the entire trip. Sadly, Vannier missed out on showing the fun of the road trip altogether.
Satya Sharma’s editing could have chopped off numerous sequences here and there, which were absolutely unnecessary. Sadly, that would have made the movie a 25–30-minute presentation. The entire sequence of going to Gandhi’s best friend’s house while en route to Mathura was not needed at all.
‘Atithi Bhooto Bhava’: Can Kids Watch It?
Jackie Shroff manages to salvage the film with his child-like enthusiasm. However, it’s sad to see Pratik Gandhi come up with such a below-par performance. Overall, Hardik Gajjar has managed to come up with an average romcom which barely gives you any twists except in the final scene of the movie, but by then it’s too late to hold onto the audience’s interest. Only if you’re a Jackie Shroff fan watch it, otherwise Avoid. I am going with 1.5 stars.