Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007) was one of several remakes of Fazil’s Malayalam blockbuster Manichitrathazhu. The Hindi version amped up the comedy factor and was led by a hammy Akshay Kumar playing a channel between the temporal and spiritual realms.

Kartik Aaryan confidently steps into Akshay Kumar’s shoes for the spiritual sequel. Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 revolves around yet another ghost who has been imprisoned in a room in a mansion somewhere in Rajasthan. Punished for dabbling in black magic, Manjulika lurks behind a heavily padlocked door, waiting for her opportune moment.

She has occupied the whole third floor, a character complains in a typically Mumbai-style manner. The spirit is inadvertently let out of the bottle by Manjulika’s niece Reet (Kiara Advani), who fakes her death and takes refuge in the now-abandoned house. Ruhaan (Aaryan), who has met Reet during a vacation, pretends to be a medium in order to help Reet carry out her deception. Do I have a sixth sense or a sick sense, he wonders.

Like Whoopi Goldberg’s character from Ghost (1990), Ruhaan (Aaryan) actually does have the ability to see dead people. Meanwhile, nobody notices Reet, who is hiding in plain sight. Among the sceptics is Reet’s aunt (Tabu), who has a disabled husband and a secret of her own.

Tabu in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (2022). Courtesy T-Series/Cine1 Studios.

The menagerie includes characters played by Rajpal Yadav (a holdover from the first film), Sanjay Mishra and Ashwini Kalsekar. Convinced that Ruhaan is faking it, the trio engages in a series of contortions to expose him, some of which are not as funny as anticipated and only serve to stretch the running length.

For the most part, director Anees Bazmee and writer Aakash Kaushik ably ladle out a familiar mix of mild scares and broad buffoonery, which is topped by a twist. Led by an aptly cast Kartik Aaryan as a cocky showboater, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 moves along on its hero’s insouciance, Tabu’s screen presence, and patches of entertaining comedy. The portly Potlu, played by child actor Samarth Chauhan, is the most spirited member of the extended cast.

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (2022).

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Fazil on his classic ‘Manichithrathazhu’: ‘Everything came together to make the film happen’