The third remake of Malayalam superhit “Manichitrathazhu,” psychodrama-cum-ghost story “Bhool bhulaiyaa” takes a while to get all its plates spinning but delivers solid entertainment in its second half, thanks to a punchy perf by Akshay Kumar and quality playing by Vidya Balan. First drama by helmer Priyadarshan, who’s made a career out of directing Hindi remakes of Malayalam hit comedies, has performed gangbusters at home and abroad since Oct. 12 release, though non-Indian Bollywood fans may get less from the antics.
Shot in Jaipur in attractive pastel colors, multicharacter yarn has Siddharth (Shiny Ahuja) and archaeologist wife Avni (Balan) returning from the States to the ancestral palace of Siddharth’s uncle, Badri (Manoj Joshi), head of an extended Brahmin family. Palace is said to be haunted by the vengeful ghost of a dancer, and when Avni starts poking around on the locked third floor, weird things happen. Siddharth finally calls in his old buddy, unconventional psychologist Aditya (Kumar), to solve the mystery, which he does in an inventive way. Kumar’s appearance, just before intermission, motors the movie, and the final flamboyant “exorcism” sequence is worth the wait. Title roughly means “Maze.”