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Bhoot (2003)

 -  Horror | Thriller  -  30 May 2003 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,890 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 19 critic

Manjeet Khosla lives with her widowed mom in Bombay, India. She gets married, gives birth to a son, and separates from her spouse. She goes to live on the 12th floor of an apartment ... See full summary »

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Title: Bhoot (2003)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Vishal
Urmila Matondkar ...
Swati
Nana Patekar ...
Inspector Liyaqat Qureshi
...
Sarita
Fardeen Khan ...
Sanjay Thakkar
...
Dr. Rajan
Tanuja ...
Mrs. Khosla
...
Kamla Bai
Amar Talwar ...
Thakker
...
Manjeet Khosla
Sabir Masani ...
Watchman
Rajendra Sethi ...
Patil
Lalit Marathe ...
Dr. Shyam
Peeya Rai Chowdhary ...
Peeya
Rekha Kamat ...
Vishal's neighbor - Old woman
Edit

Storyline

Manjeet Khosla lives with her widowed mom in Bombay, India. She gets married, gives birth to a son, and separates from her spouse. She goes to live on the 12th floor of an apartment building. Thereafter, she has an affair with Sanjay Thakkar, who is the son of the building Secretary. Shortly thereafter, she and her son fall down from their balcony and die. The building watchman testifies that Manjeet was depressed and suicidal. The apartment remains vacant for sometime, and then eventually new tenants, Vishal and his wife, Swati, move in. Vishal finds out about Manjeet's untimely death but keeps this information from Swati. When Swati finds out she is displeased with Vishal, but her anger dissolves quickly. Then Swati starts sleep-walking, leading Vishal to have her medically examined. After she recovers, she claims to see Manjeet in her apartment, as well as behaves strangely. Then the building watchman gets killed by having his neck and head turned backwards. Police Inspector ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

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Details

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Release Date:

30 May 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fantômes  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film broke several rules of Bollywood formula films and was nonetheless successful. There were no songs, it was only two hours long, it was heroine-centered, and it was a horror story, not a love story. See more »

Goofs

When Urmila must climb 12 flights of stairs she is wearing peep-toe sandals with a heel of about 1 inch. But when she enters the flat she is wearing a three-inch heel with straps around the ankle. Similarly, when Rehka first meets Ajay Devgan she is wearing heels. When we see her entering the apartment building she is wearing flat sandals, but once inside the apartment she is wearing another - different - pair of heels. See more »

Connections

Alternate-language version of Shock (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Yeh Sard - Instrumental
Composed by Anand Raj Anand
Courtesy of Super Cassettes Industries Limited (T-Series)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A "spirited" take on the horror genre!
20 June 2003 | by See all my reviews

Prior to `Bhoot', I had seen only 1 ½ Ram Gopal Varma films: years ago, I'd enjoyed watching `Rangeela', a frothy confection with a delightful Aamir Khan and a newly voluptuous Urmila Matondkar (I say `newly' because until then, I only knew of Urmila as the bubbly child actor from the memorable `Masoom'); the ½ film was `Jungle', a movie so gratuitously and graphically violent that I'd walked out of the movie theatre. I have no idea if it was any good. Other than that, all I know about Ram Gopal Varma is that he has a predilection for single-word titles for the movies he directs: `Daud', `Khauff', `Satya', and so on.

Not being a huge fan of horror films, and still smarting from my `Jungle' experience, I began watching `Bhoot' with some trepidation. `Bhoot' translates to either `ghost' or `spirit', so right away, one knows the subject matter of the film. The title and its succinctness act as a caveat to the faint of heart.

The opening scene has an irritable young man, Vishal, searching, rather unsuccessfully, for rental accommodations in the company of an agent. The broker has shown him several less than satisfactory apartments, and the young man's patience is wearing thin. He points to a towering high-rise building nearby and says, `That looks like a fine building! Do you have an apartment available there?' We pick up on the broker's nervousness as he responds, `Actually, yes. But you wouldn't want it.' Vishal insists on seeing the twelfth-floor apartment, which turns out to be huge, even palatial by Mumbai (Bombay) standards, and he cannot understand why the place is still unoccupied. Such an apartment would be snapped up in moments. The broker hesitantly tells him that the previous occupant of the apartment had fallen-or jumped-to her death from the balcony. The pragmatic Vishal retorts that practically all dwellings must have had someone die in them at one time or another, and proceeds to finalize the rental deal. He then moves in with his perky young wife, Swati. With their furniture and belongings, the empty, echoing apartment gets transformed into a comfortable home.

Vishal is a stockbroker, and Swati, a stay-at-home housewife. We gather that they have not been married long; they are playful and romantic, still in the honeymoon phase of marriage. They inherit the previous occupant's maid, so apart from some grocery shopping, there isn't much for Swati to do while she waits for Vishal to return home from work. She sits in front of the TV and channel-surfs distractedly to pass the time.

One such day, the belligerent watchman of the building sneaks into the apartment without knocking and startles her. Swati and Vishal complain to the chairman of the building council, who also happens to be their next-door neighbor. Decrying the lack of good help, the neighbor says there's nothing he can do. As the watchman is a witness in the police investigation of the previous occupant's death, they cannot very well get rid of him. This disclosure comes as a complete surprise to Swati, as Vishal has withheld from her the details of the circumstances in which he came by their new apartment.

With this new knowledge, softhearted Swati, a gamine little thing with a waifish hairdo, starts brooding over the possible circumstances of the young woman's tragic death. Her innate sympathy makes her receptive, a sort of emotional lightning rod, to the unhappiness around her, which triggers off a number of rather alarming paranormal phenomena. At first, she only senses the presence of the woman; then, she catches a fleeting reflection of her in a mirror, and then, the woman starts invading her dreams and even her daytime reveries. With time on her hands and due to her susceptibility, she becomes the ideal receptor for the occult manifestations.

Vishal, at first, is dismissive of his wife's paranoia, her `ghost fixation', and teases her mercilessly. But, as their lives become increasingly hellish and his wife changes to the point of being unrecognizable, he seeks outside help.

It would be unfair to reveal any more, except to say that Ram Gopal Varma has a made a first-rate thriller. I read somewhere that the inspiration for this film was one of Varma's own films; he had watched it again recently and had cringed at the inadequacy of his early effort. `Bhoot', a sort of remake of that earlier film, is his way of getting it right this time, and boy, does he get it right! There is none of the `Jungle' gore; the suspense and the scares are psychological and the result is terrifying. He alternates between a steadicam and a hand-held camera in several scenes to bring an urgency and claustrophobic feel to the apartment. Even in broad daylight, there is a sickly blue cast to the surroundings, which foreshadows what is to come. The truly scary thing is that Varma has managed to take prime Mumbai real estate and turn it into something so sinister, you wouldn't want it for free! The camera follows his protagonists down corridors, hallways, and stairs, and your heart lurches as you worry about them. My only grouse was the silly haunted-house soundtrack, with its creaks, groans, and howls, which starts the movie off. Silence would have been far scarier; Varma catches on soon enough, for the background score gets muted from then on. In fact, the first look we get of the spirit is done in such masterfully throwaway fashion, that we almost wonder if we imagined seeing the apparition. The tension builds insidiously and in barely perceptible increments, until, like its unlucky inhabitants, all we want to do is run screaming from the apartment.

Urmila Matondkar is simply astounding as Swati. With only the barest traces of makeup on her face, she effectively conveys the grisly changes in her character through body language and voice. Her pixie look for this film is inspired: with her short, tousled hair and pert little nose, she personifies `adorable' and `harmless'. What she does with that fragile look is to her credit as an actor. Ajay Devgan is excellent, too, as her tortured husband, driven to his wits' end by the events in their once-happy life together. The supporting players are fine: I have not seen a film in years that has used Rekha's hypnotic voice and eyes to such potent effect. Tanuja does good work in a miniscule role, as does Victor Banerjee, in the role of the psychiatrist called in to treat Swati even as his own daughter lies dying. Nana Patekar, as the investigating police officer, and Seema Biswas, as the maid, enhance the spookiness quotient. Visual effects in Indian films are becoming slicker, and this film benefits from the advances in technology. The tight editing and inventive camera work deserve praise, as well.

Science and the rational world collide with the inexplicable and occult in `Bhoot' in a credible, riveting manner. Ram Gopal Varma can feel proud of his cinematic achievement, and you, dear viewer, had better look over your shoulder.


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