Bhooter Bhobisyat, the original Bengali satire that forms the basis of Gangs of Ghost, was funny and rooted in a context all too familiar- the crumbling edifices of older times, physically in the havelis of Bengal and metaphorically in the cultural value systems that are disappearing faster than you can spell the word disappear. Gang of Ghosts transports this story into Mumbai- a broken old haveli in Mumba to be precise- and adds a completely unasked for layer of messy cheap excess typical of bollywood to spoil what was a genuinely poignant film.
A bunch of ghosts are hauled up in an old haveli in mumbai since their original homes are not exactly hospitable. From different eras and backgrounds, they form a motley bunch always sparring and longing for material possisions they so craved for when alive. Telling their story to a producer is a script writer, who aims to shoot his very story in the same haveli as them. What happens next is the crux of this farcical mess that shuns subtelety and nuanced comedy for crass in your face nonsense.
Save for Mahie Gills wonderful act as a female KL Saigal none of the cast evoke any sympathy or affection. Anupam Kher as the buck toothed head ghost of sorts is the most irritating of the lot, followed closely by Sharman Joshi who i have no idea why was in the picture anyways. Director Satish Kaushik force fits retro like songs at every turn and twist in the film, diluting the essence and subtext of the original film. Not one delicate story strings from the bengali version is allowed to remain the same here, over powered by cheap innuendos, sad lines and desperate physical comedy.
One did not wish for much when the trailers for the film came out. One however did not also expect things to go so wrong since the original was watched and enjoyed muchly. Sadly, this is not a patch on Bhooter Bhobisyat. The original is available on you tube with subtittles. Catch that instead, save the money on the hindi one.view less