Bhool Bhuliayaa 2, the standalone sequel to Priyadarshan’s 2007 iconic horror-comedy Bhool Bhulaiyaa, takes forward the legend of Manjulika, a Bengali classical dancer who was murdered. Actors Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani talk about the comforts and pressures of starring in a sequel, the weight of audience expectations and how to make a familiar concept fresh.
Bhool Bhulaiyya 2 is a spiritual sequel. Kartik’s last film Dhamaka, was a remake of a Korean film, Kiara’s biggest hit, Kabir Singh, is also a remake. As actors, does that give you a sense of security in terms of box office? Why is there so much of this repetition?
Kiara Advani: I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. It does give you a sense of security. It works both ways. Before the trailer of Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 came out, we were prepared for a section of the audience to naturally compare it to the first movie with a magnifying glass. But we also felt like since it was part of such a cult franchise, the audience would looking forward to whatever they know. It’s got its pros and cons. The original film has some weightage, but at the end of the day, this one is a different take on the spooky world. It’s a fresh story, so how the film does rests on this film itself. People will see what this film has to offer. Eventually, they’ll look at it as a fresh film.
Kartik Aaryan: Being a sequel to a big franchise film does add value to a film, but whether it ultimately works or not depends on the film itself.
But does it give you comfort as an actor when you’re choosing projects?
Kartik Aaryan: I’ve rejected a lot of sequels that have come my way. So it has to have that connect. As an actor, I should also feel like there’s something to this story.
Kartik, you’re also doing the Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo remake. That’s a very famous, much loved character. How do you make that your own?
Kartik Aaryan: I don’t feel that pressure. I’m not thinking about doing exactly what was done in the original. I loved working with my director, Rohit Shetty, and I’ve enjoyed every bit of shooting Shehzaada with him. He’s like my brother and the way he’s given his all to this film, I don’t think any other director who would be able to do justice to it. He’s added in own ideas, his own elements and I think that when the film comes out, it will have its own identity. Not to take away from what Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo has. It was a beautiful movie and Allu Arjun performed so well in the film. We are all his fans. But when it comes to Shehzaada, there are certain areas where Rohit wants to do something different and he’s given his own spin to it, which I really like. So there’s no added pressure. It’s a new film for us and we’re enjoying it.