Roohi seemed like a solid next step –a bigger budget, A-list starsand a world that had already been successfully set up by director Amar Kaushik and writers Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK in Stree.

This had the potential to be all sorts of sparkling. Instead, Hardik’s distinct sensibility has beenflattened out by a film that wants to juggle many balls –horror, comedy, feminist messaging, a love triangle, a b romance –but ends up dropping almost all of them. Like Raj and DK, Roohi writers Mrighdeep Singh Lambaand, Gautam Mehra also go back to folklore.

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Roohi Movie Details:

DirectorHardik Mehta
ProducerDinesh Vijan and Mrighdeep Singh Lamba
Screenplay ByGautam Mehra and Mrighdeep Singh Lamba
Style ByHorror Comedy
Story ByMrighdeep Singh Lamba
Duration2 hours+
CinematographerAmalendu Chaudhary
EditorHemanti Sarkar
Manufacturing FirmMaddock Movies
Launch date17 April 2020

Story Line:

Once again, we are in small-town India. Once again, there is a chudail – she is a mudiya pairi, which means her feet are backward. Rajkummar and Varun Sharmaplay Bhaura and Kattanni, childhood friends who occasionally dabble in pakdai shaadi. They kidnap women and force them into marriage. One day, they pick up the wrong girl. Or girls. Roohi also contains within her Afzaa, who is described as Lady Hulk and Godzilli.

At one point, Bhaura says about her: Woh ladki hai, koi dual sim ka mobile thodi na.

what’s his? breakfast, lunch & dinner

Why? Because who eats this, she uses this.


Truthfully, I didn’t understand why Roohi has come to be like this. Incidentally, the small town is fictional and the dialectswe hear are a liberal mash-up of many states. But that is the least of this film’s problems.

The film tries to continue in the tradition of feminist horrorforged by films like Pari, Stree and Bulbbul. Mrighdeep and Gautam use Roohi’s story to deliver a messageof self-acceptance and finding your inner strength.

The ending is terrific. I suspect it’s the reasonwhy the film was made. But to get there, we must endure a screenplay that borders on incoherence –there are tantrik babas, exorcism, passages of loveand longing, a smiling foreigner shooting a documentaryand a villainous boss, played by Manav Vij, who seems as dazed by the plot as we are.

Snatches of Hindi film songs are used to create comedy –at one point, Sagar Jaisi Aankhon Wali plays –and of course, there’s the DDLJ palat scene. Implanting a visual from The Exorcist on one of Hindi’s cinema’s most iconic romantic momentsis perhaps the most innovative joke in this film. Rajkummar and Janhvi got their parts with gusto.


Roohi Movie Review:

Rajkummar tries to make Bhaura different from Vicky in Streebut the Chanderi ka Manish Malhotracasts a long shadow. And Bhaura has so little to work with. His get up – the highlighted hair, heart pendant, which matches his red shoesand his denim jacket which has zalzala emblazoned behind –seems more thought through than his character.

The writing also trips up Janhviwho is convincing in both avatars but trapped in scenes that lead now here. And I think Varun’s unique brand of comedyis starting to feel tired. The actor really needs to stretch beyond the expressions which have made him famous.

There are flashes when you see the film that Roohi might have been –so, early on in the film, Roohi is demolishing these platefuls of food, a little detail that just gets lostin the cacophony. The idea that Kattanni falls in love with a chudail also had delicious possibilities –I wanted to know what enables him to see beyond her bloodthirsty exterior.

But none of this emerges. What you get is three characters circling each other in a forest. And that gets dull pretty quickly. Roohi is playing at a theatre near you. Don’t forget to wear a mask!

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