Review of “Bhootchakra Pvt. Ltd.” – Peaceful co-existence of living and dead.
Director – Haranath Chakraborty
Cast – Soham Chakraborty, Gaurav Chakrabarty, Srabanti, Bonny Sengupta, Rittika Sen, Shantilal Mukherjee
Overall Rating – 3/5
Horror comedy is the least explored genre in Bengali movies and the makers of Bhootchakra Pvt. Ltd. deserve credit for experimenting with this genre going out of safe formula. It is neither too scary nor too funny but overall it is a decent watch with some genuinely funny moments and credible performances by the lead cast.
This is a story about three unemployed friends Amit (Soham Chakraborty), Nimai aka Nimo (Gaurav Chakrabarty) and Bony (Bonny Sengupta). They get access to an ancient machine named Bhootchakra which can be used to communicate with ghosts. It was invented by Amit’s great grandfather. Although the three friends do not know how to operate the machine but they decide to take advantage of people’s superstitious beliefs by posing as ghost hunters using the machine and make some quick money. But while doing this they unintentionally create problem with a politician (Shantilal Mukherjee). In the meantime they get a call from a housewife Ranja (Srabanti) from Shantiniketan who needs their help to solve the paranormal activities going on in her house. Once going there, the trio meets the family where Ranja lives with her father in law , sister in law Khushi (Rittika Sen) and two servants. Also they come to know that Ranja’s husband Nilabha is missing from last two years. Very soon the three friends realize there are something mysterious about this house and to solve that is out of their scope but they still decide to give it a try primarily to earn some good money from the family and secondly they want to stay there for more time as Amit and Bony develop soft corner for Ranja and Khushi. If they will be able to catch the ghosts and solve the mystery and how Bhootchakra will help them in this matter that need to be seen in the theaters.
Mostly horror comedies are never that much scary as the feeling of horror gets diluted with comedy. Here also the same thing has happened. To create scary moments the director has used age old formulas and none of them help to create any spine chilling moment. The comedy is also little louder in most of the part but still there are some genuinely funny moments and dialogues which brings laughter. Good thing about the story is that it is an original concept and it had potential to create good impact if the screenplay would have been written in a better way. The screenplay written by Padmanabha Dasgupta is the weakest thing about the film. It has lots of loop holes many things remained unexplained till the end. For example one will never understand the opening credit sequence of the film which shows a funny chase sequence between the three friends and a gang of smugglers. It has nothing to do with the whole film and why this situation happens there is no explanation of that. The narrative is never consistent. There are two twists in the story, one is before the interval which could have been guessed from miles away and one before the climax which has not been executed in a convincing way. Also the other minus point about the script is the songs composed by Anupam Roy. The songs are good but pops up randomly in most unexpected situations which acts as a roadblock only. For example, there is a song styled as mujra featuring the key players which might have sounded funny on paper while writing but it looks weird in the film.
Haranath Chakraborty is a big name in mainstream Bengali cinema and his biggest strength is that he has always evolved himself with the changing style of film making. His story telling is always relevant with time. Here also he has done a good job but he could have worked better with his technical team related with vfx and make-up which is of very poor quality. One can understand budget is a big constraint for Bengali movies but a good director should be flexible enough to change his narrative to minimize the ill effect of budget constraints. Other than the make-up and visual effects the other technicians have done a good job. Gopi Bhagat’s well captured cinematography, Nafisa Mondal’s authentic production design and Hindol Chakraborty’s good sound design has helped to create the mysterious ambiance around the haunted house. Although Raja Narayan Deb’s background score is repetitive and too loud at some points.
Among the cast, the three male leads have shared a very good chemistry. Soham is in good form with less melodrama which he does mostly in other films. Gaurav Chakrabarty has surprised everyone with his wonderful comic timing. He should do more comedies in future. Srabanti has repeated herself as a sincere young married woman. She has looked convincing and acted well specially in the emotional scenes. Bonny Sengupta is just okay, neither too good nor too bad. Rittika Sen’s performance has scope for improvement. Shantilal Mukherjee is effective as a politician with stammering problem. Paran Bandopadhyay is impressive in a cameo. Kaushik Sen has done a good job but now he should look for different type of characters, he is very much repeating himself in almost similar characters in every film.
Overall Bhootchakra Pvt Ltd has some shortcomings with the script but still it is enjoyable for some funny moments and good performances. It is an honest attempt to do something out of the formula and that effort should be encouraged.