Akshay Kumar breaks controversial new ground in ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’
As Akshay Kumar’s career unstoppably reaches ever greater heights, the thespian of Bollywood cinema continues to display a fearlessness in mastering film roles that not only push his own boundaries as one of Bollywood’s most accomplished actors, but also in challenging the norms and conventions of filmmaking, as well as societal belief systems.
Such ambitions are perfectly observed by his role in Bhool Bhulaiyaa.Under the directorship of the award-winning Priyadarshan and produced by Bhushan Kumar, who hails from one of the Indian film industry’s most respected dynasties, Bhool Bhulaiyaa teams Akshay Kumar with a host of other stars from the crème of Bollywood’s new brat pack.
Filmed against the sumptuous backdrop of Jaipur, Bhool Bhulaiyaa is set in a small village in Rajasthan, which is steeped in superstition and conservatism. Badri (Manoj Joshi) heads a Brahmin family whose ancestral palace is believed to be possessed. On returning from America, Badri’s son, Siddharth (Shiney Ahuja) and daughter-in-law, Avni (Vidya Balan) decide to spend a month in the palace, despite familial objections.
As unnatural events start to unfold and demons begin to surface within the psyche, a motley crew of black magicians and witch doctors are called in to perform an exorcism of the evil spirits. These age-old conventions are challenged by the arrival of a psychiatrist from America, Dr Aditya Shrivastav (Akshay Kumar), and friend of Siddarth, who uses modern analytical techniques to find a resolve. Within the traditional conventions of Bollywood filmmaking Bhool Bhulaiyaa intelligently challenges ancient and deep rooted belief systems that continue to influence large parts of India and the developing world.
It astutely blends thrill with humour as it reveals undiscovered dimensions of human psychology, and introduces the arguments of reason v/s emotion and science v/s superstition. Fulled high with entertainment factor, but also coercing the audience to question pre established moral, social and psychological codes, Bhool Bhulaiyaa is sure to spark debate and controversy, as it argues that there is no such thing as spirit possession, but rather that this is a manifestation of schizophrenia within the human psyche.
In relation to what has been one of Akshay Kumar’s most challenging roles to date, that required a sensitive balance of humour, with the challenging of deeply entrenched belief systems, Akshay comments, “I am extremely excited about this film project.
From a filmic perspective, I feel we have done a wonderful job of creating something that will appeal to faithful and regular cinemagoers, as well as drawing audiences who are interested in seeing how the film opens the floodgates to a whole new dimension of thought and rationale about the human condition and psyche. It challenges pre-conceived notions about sensitive issues and brings into question society’s perceptions of faith, superstition, science and reasoning.”
Bhool Bhulaiyaa releases in the UK and internationally on 12th October 2007.