By Prerana Panja
Bhoot: Part one – The Haunted Ship is a 2020 Hindi language film directed by Bhanu Pratap Singh. The film opened to mixed reviews at the Box Office and did moderately well. It found it’s second release on the OTT platform, Amazon Prime Video and that’s where I had the opportunity to watch this film.
The director takes inspiration from a true incident that happened in Mumbai. The film can be classified under two categories, a psychological thriller and horror. Bhoot starts out promisingly with the iconic Dharma intro tune being modified into a creepy, goosebump-inducing subversion as a mouldy ship door creaks open.
The film follows Prithvi, a shipping officer, played by Vicky Kaushal as he investigates this abandoned cargo ship, “Sea Bird” that is stranded on Juhu Beach. Prithvi who himself has lost his wife and daughter to an unfortunate accident is shown to be suffering from what appears to be PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The story starts out with a clip of 3-year-old Meera on her birthday being celebrated on the ship as her father is the captain. This sets the precedent for the film well and keeps the audience interested and curious as to the significance of it.
As the story progresses and Prithvi continues to investigate the ship, the director constructs a few great jump scares which you anticipate but still scream. At one point Prithvi is shown going into the ship alone at night and I personally wanted to reach into the screen and tell him “what were you thinking?!”. The screenplay in the first half is stellar. Midway through the film, we come to know that Prithvi has been prescribed medications for his PTSD and the hallucinations but he purposefully doesn’t take them, stating that he doesn’t get to see his wife and daughter otherwise. The directors plays this point incredibly well to the point that the audience is forced to examine if the ship is truly haunted or is Prithvi simply hallucinating.
The set-up is solid for a horror movie. The digital effects where the characters are thrown against walls and flung across rooms are very convincing. The cinematographer, constructs a dark and gloomy atmosphere which is sure to send shivers down your spine.
However, the screenplay starts to feel sloppy and repetitive in the second half. Some scenes will make you feel like they are exact replicas, such as the scene where Vandana (the captain’s wife) attempts suicide by jumping off the ship and Amar, an ordinary seaman saves her. This scene will remind you of the scene from Titanic where Jack saves Rose. Another such scene is where Prithvi, his friend Riaz, Prof. Joshi and Vandana go searching for Meera on the ship and Vandana pleads for her daughter’s life but is killed in an instant by Amar’s ghost. This move seemed quite abrupt.
When the credits roll, a dark figure is shown moving around in Prithvi’s house which further raises curiosity in the audience. All in all, Bhoot is worth a watch and the despite the sloppy second half I have high hopes for when the second part releases.
Check out the trailer for the film here: https://youtu.be/ELcRnZ3kP08
The film is available for viewing on Amazon Prime Video.