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Roohi Movie Review: Tried too hard to en cash the success of Stree but failed miserably

Modified On: 11 March 2021 | Reviewed By:

Roohi had a promising premise but it indulged in encashing the success of Stree but becomes gimmicky and failed to match the uniqueness of the former film.


Director: Hardik Mehta | Music Director: Sachin-Jigar, Tanishk Bagchi, Badshah

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Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Janhvi Kapoor, Varun Sharma, Manav Vij, Alexx O’Nell, Sarita Joshi

Director: Hardik Mehta

Bollywood never had a film that decoded the horror-comedy till 2018. Stree starring Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor paved the way for makers to try this genre which has the potential to be a commercial success. The makers of the film come up with Roohi in 2021 which was earlier called Roohi Afza. But in spite of taking this genre to next level, the makers just wanted to encash the success of Stree.

The story revolves around in Bagadpur, which has people speaking several dialects, there’s a tradition of pakdai byah (bride kidnapping). Bhawra Pandey (Rajkummar Rao) and Katanni (Varun Sharma) are among the contract goons who get such weddings done. The twist in the tale comes when they abduct a possessed girl Roohi (Janhvi Kapoor) and then fall in love with her as Sharma calls it the exercise of imlie.

There’s something up with Roohi. The two fellows soon discover that she is a shape-shifter, switching from a whisper to a roar whenever she feels like it. There was potential to this idea: a woman is never just one thing or another. She has as much right to be many entities, as anyone else. But the film squanders it with great determination and tasteless jokes.

Janhvi Kapoor, who is well cast as the tremulous Roohi, has a tougher time. Chained and submissive for half the narrative, Kapoor is poorly served even by her ghoulish side. Apart from a changed appearance and a deep voice, the all-talk-no-action Afza scares only the easily frightened Bhawra.

Rajkummar Rao has been over similar territory in the 2018 movie Stree. Directed by Amar Kaushik and written by Raj & DK, Stree dished out ample servings of humour in the course of a story of yet another woman who wasn’t who she claimed to be.

Varun Sharma has been brutally trapped as typecast,  One of the co-writer Mrighdeep Singh Lamba who is the maker of Fukrey has taken the Chucha to Roohi's world and changed the name to Katanni.

The film seeks to subvert genre conventions and venture into the terrain of feminist rebellion. It delivers a reasonably passable first half - it is enlivened by Varun Sharma's comic timing - but then meanders into a post-interval stretch that limps around in circles until a bizarre twist in the climax sends us home scratching our heads and wondering what on earth has hit us.

Mehta made the National Award-winning documentary Amdavad Ma Famous a few years ago and followed it up with the endearing Kaamyaab, which incidentally landed in our midst a week before cinema halls were shuttered last year. Producer Dinesh Vijan, who co-produced Stree, was behind Angrezi Medium, the last film to hit the screens before the coronavirus lockdown began.

Roohi is the first Hindi theatrical release in well over a month. The question is does it have the force to pull audiences back to the multiplexes. Unlikely. It certainly isn't the vaccine of hope and delight that filmgoers, starved of big-screen entertainment for a whole year, need at this hour.

The climax of the film is a disappointment, its the reason why Roohi becomes a gimmick to encash Stree. It's okay to escape from this horror and fight with the real i.e Covid19.

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