Vibhooti (Saif Ali Khan) and Chiraunji (Arjun Kapoor) are brothers who try to make a living by posing as exorcists. While Chiraunji actually believes in ghosts, Vibhooti knows it’s all a scam. He’s in this just for the money and for women. Chiraunji feels their late father Ullat Baba, was a great tantrik and they should carry forward his legacy of genuinely helping people. Their father has left a book of spells with them, which is written in a dead language and Chiraunji is forever trying to decipher it. Maya (Yami Gautam) comes searching for them. She’s the owner of a tea estate in Dharamshala. 27 years ago, their father had exorcised an evil spirit from the estate, which has seemingly returned. While Vibhooti looks upon this as a god-given opportunity to milk the rich heiress for money, Chiraunji feels that finally he can put his occult knowledge to good use. They travel with Maya to her estate, where they meet her sister Kanika (Jacqueline Fernandez), who wants to sell their property and move to London. A sceptical Vibhooti knows that there is a human hand behind the ghost sightings. Chiraunji uncovers the key to the book of spells and is searching for a cure there. The truth lies somewhere between both their beliefs …
Director Pavan Kirpalani’s various ‘inspirations’ for the film includes The Exorcist, Evil Dead, The Hound Of Baskervilles, Scooby Doo and Ghostbusters. In fact, the van where they live in and operate from is hugely reminiscent of both The Ectomobile from Ghostbusters and Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. The film starts off as pure comedy and then segues into the horror-comedy genre, with scenes replete with black vomit, walking on roofs and jump scares galore. A little girl mysteriously appears and disappears, roots creep in from windows and ceilings, a ritual gets interrupted … common horror tropes used liberally. Though it’s not the Conjuring kind of horror and won’t make you close your eyes in fear.
The horror part of the film is definitely weak. What the director and his writing team gets right is the comedy. The most hilarious scenes revolve around mock exorcisms where various devices are used to fool the gullible masses. The witty dialogue takes digs at everything from superstition to nepotism. You laugh when the masses are made to chant Go kichkandi go, or when Saif asks for the GST amount to be included in their fees. Jaaved Jaffrey’s character was made to marry a goat seven times and starts bleating like one when he gets afraid. Taken out of context, it all seems extremely silly but works well within the parameters of the film.
What makes the film work is the camaraderie between Saif and Arjun. They come off as brothers who may not see eye to eye on everything but nevertheless love each other to the core and are willing to lay down their lives for each other. Saif is shown to be a motormouth who loves to watch Naagin and has a collection of old Playboy magazines. His constant commentary on everything, especially his younger brother’s naivete is hilarious indeed. Arjun gets to play an honest kind of conman. His decency and do-gooder spirit keeps his elder brother grounded. Yami Gautam plays a hard-working businesswoman who dreams of resurrecting her father’s business and doesn’t have any other layer to her character. It’s Jacqueline who surprisingly gets the better role, that of a Instagram-cazy individual who turns out to have a shrewd brain behind the bimbo act. Thankfully, the director hasn’t invested in a romantic track either between Saif and Jacqueline or between Arjun and Yami. You don’t see them crooning a love song in the picturesque locales.
The actors have done their job for most parts. Saif Ali Khan gets the best lines and his chatterbox act leads you away from the flaws of the film. He’s really enjoying himself as an actor in these off-kilter movies. His comic timing is spot on and he should continue to invest more in comedies. Arjun Kapoor too gets his share of limelight. He’s not playing a brooding character for once and keeps it all light-hearted and fun. He gels well with Saif, feeding off him and providing ample laughs in the process. This is perhaps the most commercial film in Yami Gautam’s career. Her character is pure vanilla at first but later shown to be spirit-possessed and she has essayed both versions nicely. Jacqueline Fernandez is the surprise package and essays her selfish-sister act with aplomb. Let’s hope she gets more meaty roles in future.
All-in-all, Bhoot Police is a clean comedy devoid of potty jokes and sexual humour. It doesn’t scare you much but will certainly make you laugh. It’s set up for a sequel so be prepared to follow the further adventures of Vibhooti and Chiraunji.