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Trailer Review: Can Kartik Aaryan’s ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ Outshine The Original? The First Look Suggests Otherwise…

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

The trailer for the Bhool Bhulaiyaa sequel is here and, predictably, comparisons to the original have already been drawn, whether its for Kartik Aaryan’s ability to match Akshay Kumar’s performance or Kiara Advani to be as scary as Vidya Balan possessed with Manjulika’s spirit in the original.

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 stars Aaryan, Advani, and a miscast Tabu, and promises to be a horror-comedy, like its predecessor. In the movie, Aaryan plays the role of a medium who accidentally lets the spirit of Manjulika out in the world to possess Advani and create general havoc. While we believed Manjulika had gotten closure at the end of the first movie, turns out she still has a lot of vengeful anger and is back to her terrorising ways.

1993 Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu has inspired many remakes over the years, including the 2007 Akshay Kumar-starrer Bhool Bhulaiyaa. While the original Malayalam film heroes the female protagonist of the movie, the subsequent remakes shifted the focus to the male savior in the story, be it Rajnikanth in the Tamil remake Chandramukhi or Kumar in the Bollywood version of the movie. Kartik Aaryan as ‘Rooh Baba’ seems to be an addition to this as well.

Another reason why fans are skeptical about the film is that it has replaced director Priyadarshan with Anees Bazmi, who doesn’t have the best track record with comedy films lately, especially sequels of fan-favourites (Welcome 2 deserves to be forgotten, please Lord!). In fact, the movie is another addition to Bollywood’s penchant of creating franchises out of popular hits without any thought of expanding the universe. Here, all the popular elements from the first film are co-opted seemingly without any narrative requirement.

Despite a few good examples like Tumbbad, Bollywood has generally lacked good movies in the horror genre. So expectations from Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 are not very high in terms of delivering the scares, especially with the CGI-heavy trailer. As far as the laughs go, the trailer doesn’t look very promising there as well, with cringe-worthy jokes littered amidst shots of Aaryan grooving to a remix of ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Raam’. The 2018 horror-comedy Stree, starring Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, and Sharddha Kapoor, has set a decent template of what horror comedies can be like.

Whether or not the upcoming movie will surpass expectations and deliver a solid horror-comedy cannot be decided until the movie releases on May 20, 2022. You can watch the trailer right here: