Horror comedy has a genre is becoming increasingly popular in Bollywood with almost five films lined up in this year. The success of Stree showed us how the audience is responding well to movies that are part-scary and part-funny, but Laxmii proved to be a total dud. Roohi, Hardik Mehta‘s latest horror comedy might just revive the genre, depending on how the audience responds to the film. Produced by the makers of Stree, Roohi does not hold a candle to the earlier film, but is mildly entertaining nevertheless. It stars Janhvi Kapoor in the lead as Roohi, who has been kidnapped by two small-town men Bhaura (Rajkummar Rao) and Kattanni (Varun Sharma) on the orders of their boss Guniya (Manav Vij) who runs a bride kidnapping business. While they wait in the middle of a forest for her upcoming wedding, Bhaura falls in love with Roohi. But he gets more than he bargained for in Afza, the frightening spirit that resides within Roohi. Afza is the spirit of a woman who wishes to be married and must fulfil her desire before the next full moon, or both Roohi and her could perish forever. While Kattanni falls in love with Afza and wishes to marry her, Bhaura must do what he can to free Roohi of Afza and marry her himself.
Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma make a fantastic pair
While Roohi was supposed to be a love triangle, the pair that stands out is Bhaura and Kattanni. Played by Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma, the duo has nailed the small-town accent and behavioral characteristics that are required from their characters. They also make a fantastic pair and share a lot more screen time with each other than with Janhvi Kapoor’s Roohi or Afza. The boys are funny and their over-the-top gimmicks are some of the film’s best moments. The best dialogues of the film are also reserved for them and they deliver them perfectly. In contrast, Janhvi Kapoor seems more subdued and does not make quite the impact in either of her roles.
Too scary, not too funny
While we expected to be falling off our seats in laughter like we did in Stree, Roohi is not that kind of funny. The dialogues are witty and the actors are hilarious but overall, the movie only elicits a few laughs. On the other hand, Afza packs in quite a few scares with her unpredictable appearances, which take you by surprise. The scary scenes are well done and even Janhvi’s sombre performance does not weaken their impact. Her look is certainly frightening so make sure you hold on to your seats throughout.
Subtitles seem necessary
A lot of Afza’s dialogues sound raspy and incomprehensible. Even Manav Vij adopts a hoarse voice for his role, making his lines difficult to understand. If you’re not used to Hindi (especially North Indian Hindi), you might miss out on a big chunk of the film but the story is still pretty simple to follow. Check if your theatre is playing the movie with subtitles.
WATCH OR NOT:
Roohi is a fun watch with family or friends. It requires you to suspend your disbeliefs and enjoy it for his bizarre storyline and entertaining performances. Catch it in theatres while you can because Afza’s scary demeanor deserves no less.