“Atithi Bhooto Bhava” is defined by two things: one is the curse of beautiful background music being used to romanticize what are arguably bizarre situations. And the second thing is, why did the makers try so hard to make it a musical? It takes a special kind of laziness to waste talents like Jackie Shroff and Pratik Gandhi, and the movie does it well. Their commitment and earnestness could just not float the sinking boat that came from this awful script. “Atithi Bhooto Bhava” follows the story of Srikant, referred to as Sri, as he sets out to reunite the ghost of Makhan with his childhood lover. Yes, you read that right. Let us see how that happens.
Srikant And Netra’s Journey To Mathura
“Atithi Bhooto Bhava” starts with Makhan, a 16-year-old boy, trying to write a letter confessing his love to Manju, but he cannot get the words for it. His grandfather encourages him and tells him that it is as important to express as it is to love. Having gained some courage, Makhan makes his way to confess his feelings to his lady love. It is the festival of Holi, and she is right in front of him. But before he can get the words out, he gets the news that his grandfather has suffered a heart attack. Makhan cannot express his feelings to Manju as he leaves to check on his grandfather.
Cut to 2021. Srikant, who is a standup comedian, is living with his girlfriend, Netra, who is an air hostess. After he messes up her breakfast that morning, the two of them have a fight about how Sri always takes Netra for granted. Later that day, Sri’s friend, Sucharita, tells him that he needs to smarten up and start paying more attention to Netra. Heeding her words, he prepares a surprise for her, but it goes wrong when it turns out that he has forgotten Netra’s birthday. That night, he gets completely drunk and relieves himself under a tree on his way home. And this sets the story in motion. The tree is home to the ghost of Makhan, and he immediately recognizes Sri as his reincarnated late grandfather. As luck would have it, Sri is able to see and hear Makhan. The latter is beyond happy and asks Sri what he is supposed to do now that Sri has contaminated his resting place. Sri is drunk and tells him to come over to his place for the night. Having received the invitation, Makhan is happy and follows him home. The next day, when Sri realizes that he has brought home a ghost, he is at his wit’s end. Luckily for him, Netra finds out that he is, in fact, telling the truth when Makhan catches her mid-fall. After talking to him, they understand that he wants to meet his girlfriend, Manju before he leaves the world, and they must help him get to her. The couple makes a plan to go to Mathura with Sucharita to reunite the lost lovers. But the journey proves to be a lesson for all the passengers. When they stop for dinner, it comes out that Makhan is not completely aware of the whereabouts of Manju. He just knows that she used to live in Mathura in 1975. After his grandfather’s death, he left the place and became a truck driver and lost touch with her. Sri is understandably furious and starts wondering aloud whether Manju is even alive after all this time, for which he is berated by Netra. She tells him that he has always taken her for granted, and she is tired of it. Reuniting Makhan with Manju means a lot to her because this is an earnest example of what one can do for the person they love, in contrast to Sri, who has constantly neglected their relationship.
The next day, after the fight, they arrive at Sucharita’s house. Her father seems somewhat disappointed that Sucharita was not born a boy and constantly talks about how handsome he is. Later, the girls ask his wife whether she ever gets annoyed by him. She replies that she doesn’t think about it too much and that the path to true love can only be found when you learn to accept and tolerate certain aspects of people. This reminds us of when “Bojack Horseman” says that “if you can find someone who you can halfway tolerate, you grab them and never let them go.” From more recent memory, even Sima Taparia aunty says that one will only get 60–70% of what they want. How do we end up romanticizing the bed of compromises that relationships must supposedly be based on?
‘Atithi Bhooto Bhava’ Ending Explained- Does Makhan Find Manju?
The group makes their way to find Manju next, but they come to know that she no longer lives at her old house. Makhan asks to be taken to his old house. Once they reach there, Sri is reminded of the memories of his past life. On the other hand, Makhan breaks down as he feels that he has hit a dead end. They decide to go to a breakfast place where someone recognizes Sri and tells them to go to a temple. Once they reach that point, they find Manju. Sri reads her the letter that Makhan had written for her all those years ago. Manju is touched, and she feels Makhan’s presence around her. Both of them make their way out and embrace. When Sri and Netra turn around, they see that Manju has passed away. The lovers are reunited in death after having waited all their lives.
We have to say that we were not fans of the ending. A boy who could not forget his childhood love all his life but did nothing to meet her or express his feelings for 40 years is suddenly hell-bent on telling her how he feels. And the girl grows up to be an old woman who still wears pigtails as if time hasn’t progressed for her at all. The moment she meets Makhan, she dies. We couldn’t believe that this was passed off as romantic. Wouldn’t it have been much better if they showed her as having lived a full life and then just smiled at Makhan’s letter after all those years, in memory of the love that could have been? The current ending was just messed up, and no amount of beautiful background music can convince us otherwise.
Final Thoughts: Where Does ‘Atithi Bhooto Bhava’ Falter?
Bad dialogues are fast becoming the Hindi film industry’s number one curse. Be it “Brahmastra” or “Atithi Bhooto Bhava,” no matter the budget of the movie, the dialogues seem to have taken a vow to be awful. What was the point of the whiskey-beer-lemonade analogy? Why did anyone think that the standup bit of Srikant was actually funny? And why did they make Sucharita so unfunny despite her being a standup comic as well? The music is wonderful but very badly integrated into the storyline. And we really don’t want to hear another outdated logic about why and how people should compromise in relationships. But as for “Atithi Bhooto Bhava” itself, it felt choppy and rushed in bits, especially the fight during dinner. We have already established that we hated the ending, but even the character development of our main leads was inconsistent. We felt that this had the potential to be a better movie. But the effort was missing, which is sad because not that much of it was required to begin with. The cast is talented, and for now, we just wish that they get the better scripts that they deserve because this just wasn’t it.
“Atithi Bhooto Bhava” is a 2022 Drama Romance film directed by Hardik Gajjar.