Rating: 3 out of 5.

“Idiots!” – I must have exclaimed at least 20 times if not more, while watching 2022 Horror-Comedy ‘Phone Bhoot’ that follows the antics of two horror fanatics who refuse to grow up and live off their dads’ money. But the “idiots!” was usually followed up by a laugh or snigger.

Directed by Gurmmeet Singh, ‘Phone Bhoot’ stars Ishaan Khattar and Siddhant Chaturvedi as childhood best-friends Gullu and Major who are both obsessed with horror films, ghosts and live in a house that looks like a mini-horror museum. The boys try to make money out of horror-themed parties, events and what not, with zero success, but when the beautiful ghost Ragini (Katrina Kaif) enters their life, she convinces the boys to start their own desi ghost-busters business. Jackie Shroff plays Aatmaram Shastrashakti, a evil villain who deals with ghosts and seeks to eliminate the new competitors in his field.

If you aren’t a Ramsay Brothers’ fan, you won’t appreciate most of the ridiculous stuff unfolding in the movie, but as someone who’s watched ‘Veerana’ at least ten times, ‘Phone Bhoot’ was right up my alley. The flick is also laden with a thousand Bollywood pop culture references, from Jackie’s ‘Trimurti’ to SRK’s ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gam’, slivers of popular dialogues and scenes find their way into the script. There was a brilliant little dance sequence where Katrina Kaif and Ishaan Khattar recreate the hook steps of Kamal Haasan-Manisha Koirala’s song ‘Telephone Dhoon Mein’. In-fact, a bunch of songs are peppered throughout the movie and weren’t too annoying because they are well choreographed and all three lead stars can dance. Ishaan Khattar is joyfully expressive and fluid in his movements and might remind some viewers of a young Shahid Kapoor.

A lot of ‘Phone Bhoot’ makes no sense, some of the humor is meant for ten-year-olds, but the script is also laden with sexual innuendoes, so it isn’t exactly kid-friendly either. Majot is a bit of a creep who says things like “you’ve broken my trust and lust”, while Gullu is a scatter-brained genius. Both actors are hilarious as obsessive horror fans and Katrina’s Ragini gives them the push they need to do something with their life. The climax in comparison to the rest of the film was lackluster, boring and overstretched. Regardless, I’d give it brownie points for all the loud laughs it managed to get out of us (’twas a family movie night pick).

Watch the film on Prime Video if you are a fan of the horror-comedy genre. It’s a 6.5/10 from me.

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