Roohi: Ending Explained (In Detail)

Is Roohi freed of Afza at the end of the film? Who do Bhawra and Kattani end up with?
Roohi: Ending Explained (In Detail)

When Stree (Amar Kaushik, 2018) released, it did so without much fanfare or expectation. Yet another small-town film that starred Rajkummar Rao, who is to that milieu what Ranbir Kapoor is to troubled young men, it had one advantage: a snazzy trailer. But the genre had been anything but satisfying in the eleven years that had elapsed since the release of Priyadarshan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007). The negligible expectations worked in Stree’s favour as it drew near-total critical acclaim and great footfalls. It also set up the possibility of a sequel (which is currently in production), and producer Dinesh Vijan proceeded to fashion the enterprise into a universe, one among the many that are the reigning flavour of the season in Mumbai.

The other well-known film of the Maddock Supernatural Universe is the 2022 Varun Dhawan-Kriti Sanon-starrer Bhediya (also helmed by Kaushik), but between the first and third lies Hardik Mehta’s Roohi, one of the first Hindi films to release theatrically during the lull of the Covid-19 pandemic. Starring Rajkummar Rao, Varun Sharma, and Jahnvi Kapoor in leading roles, the film is written by Fukrey director Mrighdeep Singh Lamba and Gautam Mehra, and produced by Vijan and Lamba.   

Two Professional Abductors, One Possessed Woman

Two young men from Bagadpur – Bhawra Pandey (Rao) and Kattani Qureshi (Sharma) – work as professional abductors, kidnapping unsuspecting women and delivering them to men who wish to marry them. The enterprise does not concern itself with the consent of women, and nor do Bhawra and Kattani, at least not until they come across Roohi (Kapoor).

They are successful in kidnapping her, but when the prospective groom’s family suffers a loss, the kidnappers are forced to detain the victim in an abandoned workshop until such time the groom and his family are out of mourning. While the trio are stuck together, the men discover that Roohi is possessed. While her spirit side – known as Afza – frightens Bhawra, it earns Kattani’s affections, thus commencing a love quadrangle involving four personalities.

Trouble in the Woods

Roohi’s father (Rajesh Jais), who has been searching for her, files a police complaint about her disappearance, asserting that she is, in fact, possessed, which is what caused a family to rescind their decision to seek her as a bride for their son the previous year.

Bhawra and Kattani, meanwhile, are ordered by their boss Guniya (Manav Vij) to get rid of Roohi, but with one being attracted to her and the other to Afza, they disobey the instructions, causing Guniya to send more men their way. These men are beaten back by Afza, causing all parties much distress.

Running out of options, Bhawra and Kattani seek out an elderly lady (Sarita Joshi), who tells them to get the spirit married to a married man, which would make her his mistress, but also force her to leave Roohi’s body. Bhawra thus marries a dog on camera, hopeful of tricking the witch.

The Twist

Guniya arrives before the ceremony, bent on seeking revenge for his downed henchmen, but the rituals proceed despite his presence, and Afza has almost married a willing Kattani when the old woman shows her the video of Bhawra marrying the dog, thus making her believe Bhawra is the one she must marry. Roohi stops her just in time, and decides to marry Afza herself, preferring to embrace the many strengths Afza possesses and lead a life as two souls in a single body with similar ambitions rather than spirits competing over the same vessel.

Roohi ends with the titular character leaving Bhawra and Kattani behind, and with the old woman disappearing, suggesting that all her actions were actually a means of supporting Roohi and Afza’s union rather than helping the men, helping Roohi and Afza gain a sense of independence from a group that seek to keep them subjugated. There is also a suggestion of looking beyond the singular, narrow idea of marriage occurring only between women and men. Roohi embraces the avenue of same-sex marriage, albeit in a manner that does not actually depict a relationship between two women. Roohi’s act of marrying herself also suggests the refusal to put her fate in the hands of men of any kind; she would much rather put that trust in herself and take her chances in life.

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