Roohi

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Somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of Roohi’s screenplay, is a feminist flick waiting to be exorcised from the body it is trapped in. But writers Mrighdeep Singh Lamba (who earlier directed Fukrey and Fukrey Returns) and Gautam Mehra take so long to get to the point they wish to make, walking us through a long and convoluted plot along the way, that their subversive intent is completely lost.

On the path to the finale, Roohi is lifted at intervals by a sense of humour and by the comic timing that actors Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma are blessed with. It is so stretched and flimsy though, that these flashes of fun are just not enough. Besides, the woman-friendly messaging is contradicted by the manner in which the female ‘lead’ is confined to the sidelines through most of the proceedings on screen. Yeah yeah, the ending gives her more agency than most Hindi films grant their heroines, but that is not sufficient compensation for the lack of substance in the writing of her character.

Roohi begins with Bhawra (Rao) and Kattanni (Sharma) introducing a foreign journalist (Alexx O’Neil) to bridal abductions in their Uttar Pradesh town – women here are routinely picked up by contract kidnappers, we are told, and handed over to the families of men interested in marrying them. This horrifying practise is portrayed as something women don’t quite mind, but if you think Roohi means to trivialise women, ultimately you will find out that is not its objective.

Release Date: 11 March 2021
Genres: Horror. Mystery
Cast: Hardik Mehta

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