Director MG Srinivas, popularly known as Srini, is a die-hard fan of Shivarajkumar. In Ghost, he ups the style quotient of his leading man. The Kannada superstar sports a sleek hairstyle, wears blue contact lenses and an elegant outfit. Srini also shapes Shivarajkumar’s character as a larger-than-life personality. As a result, Ghost becomes a solid fanboy experience that also manages to be the actor’s best outing since Tagaru.
The film begins with two political parties at loggerheads with each other due to the privatisation of a jail. The city is then reeling with tension when a gangster (Shivarajkumar) holds the jail hostage with former CBI officer (Prashant Narayanan), a prominent personality, in his custody. City commissioner Chengappa (Jayaram) is given the job to take control of the situation.
Shivarajkumar, back in his most successful avatar of a gangster, takes on the role with aplomb. Called ‘Ghost’, he effortlessly gets into vigilante mode as Srini doesn’t miss a chance to celebrate his terrific screen presence. Those who found genuine whistle-worthy scenes missing in Shivarajkumar’s previous Kannada films will be pleased with Ghost, while those who discovered the actor’s on-screen swag in Jailer might enjoy his big moments. The de-ageing of the veteran actor is another indulgent yet honest fanboy tribute from Srini.
Cast: Shivarajkumar, Jayaram, Prashanth Narayanan, Anupam Kher, Archana Jois
Runtime: 134 minutes
Storyline: A dreaded gangster takes hostage of a prison, and a cop arrives to stop the criminal from executing his plans
But once you move past the protagonist of Ghost and focus primarily on its story, the film comes across as a lost opportunity; Srini’s screenplay oscillates between being layered and incomprehensible. In some places, you admire the cleverness of writing, while in others, you are bewildered by the absurd nature of the twists. The surprises in the plot appear conveniently to suit the hero’s pursuit, as most of them are illogical otherwise.
Also, the non-linear screenplay of Ghost is overstuffed, so much so that not many scenes linger in one’s mind. Sure, the fast-paced narration doesn’t allow you to take your eyes off the screen, but the transitions are so abrupt that you rarely get time to process the proceedings. If this is the kind of cinema you wish to watch — wherein entertainment overshadows an organic experience — Ghost is worth your money.
Arjun Janya’s background score blends well with the film’s breakneck speed. Among the action sequences, one involving handcuffs stands out. Meanwhile, actor Jayaram, who has dubbed for himself in Kannada, somehow manages to exude superb energy into a caricaturish character.
The film leaves you with a slew of unanswered questions which Srini has an opportunity to answer in the sequel of Ghost. Thankfully, the director doesn’t force the concept of Srini-verse (involving his sophomore film Birbal) in this outing and goes easy on the idea.
A heist thriller with a fixed timeline in Kannada after a long time feels like a welcome change. Ghost is a film that deserves appreciation for its attempt; not so much for its result.
Ghost is currently running in theatres