Arre and MX Player presentation Official Bhootiyagiri is a breezy entertainer.
First and foremost since the backstory is kind of carry forwarding from earlier seasons (Official Chukyagiri and Official CEOgiri), two years gap is enormous, and there is no quick reminder about what and whys (Umbrella and analogue)
The story opens with disgraced jailed CEO Dilawar Rana (Sumeet Vyas) pulling off another start-up coup with inmates.
He gives a lot of quirky home truths (most jailbirds are under-trials) throughout the season. On the way back when his stepbrother Cash (Pranay Manchanda) tells that their father (Mohan Kapoor) has passed away, he balanced the happy (getting rich) and sad(losing your old man) emotions quite well. Typical Sumeet Vyas for you, always on the mark.
Full credit to the writer and director Vishwajoy Mukherjee for never going OTT, everything is very subtle yet compels you to ponder.
Dilawar’s shock at seeing his dad alive was even more cathartic. His stepmother reads him the riot act, he will have to turn around their flop hotel property in return for sorting his legal mess.
So he and ex-wife Mallika (Eisha Chopra) move to the haunted hotel, which was once his childhood home. The sole help warns them about the children ghosts running around, but he dismisses them. The horror element, while being an essential part of the narrative, never took centre stage with his family problems (mother issues) always coming on top.
Dilawar then hires a good looking receptionist who was more a psychic. Cash flips for her.
Being a smart CEO, the former decides to turn adversity into advantage by offering guests haunting experiences. For a while, it works, but then guests lose interest and only seem impressed by the kid horror game.
Dilawar does not like it for he had not pulled those stunts and blames the only guest in the hotel for trying to make his hotel haunted.
In between, Mallika gets pregnant, but she is not sure how Dilawar will react. He also finds out that Cash had hidden something and cuts away from him.
The hotel is unable to repay its loans and is about to go under the hammer…no further spoiler alert, do watch the series to find out what happens next? The narrative also dwells on the perpetual class conflict, with the plebeians always resenting the privileges of the patricians.
We were very impressed by Sumeet’s very restrained performance, Eisha and Pranay were equally good.
Carefree Mohan Kapoor had just one major scene, but the father-son heart to heart conversation touched a chord somewhere.
The ending was interesting. But sometimes you do wonder if you are watching a horror or a family drama given the various subplots.
Hope other web series follows the same template. It could have been reduced into horror and sex fest like several others, but here it was more a smart mind game.
Maybe given the comic drama format, the makers lowered the spooks and chills.
One other big dampener was the slow pace. Hook points could have been better. Run-length of each should have been 15 minutes each instead of now 20/25 minutes.
Last but not the least, the in-branding placement (online gaming and rice) was also well weaved into the narrative and did not seem forced. Learning for many others who turn web series into billboards at times.
We would rate if 3 out of 5. Watch it for Sumeet.