Do ghosts need make-overs? Do they cry? Do they like aloo ka parantha? Well, if they're featuring in a Bollywood movie, they just do.
Bhoothnath, the latest from the house of B. R. Chopra, is Bhaghban meets Casper the friendly ghost. Except here the ghost is a sixty-plus superstar with chalky make up and yellow teeth.
Bhoothnath's aim in his after-life is to scare people away from his Goa mansion. But his plans fall apart when he makes friends with the button cute Banku who instead of being scared by him calls him angel.
Before you can say boo, Bhoothnath and Banku are giving each other life lessons on winning, losing and forgiving.
I think portrayals of children in Hindi cinema can be divided into before Tare Zameen Par and after Tare Zameen Par.
In that film, Darsheel Safary redefined the Bollywood child star with a performance so acute and piercing that he banished forever those gratingly precocious onscreen kids who populated Hindi films for decades.
Unfortunately debutant director Vivek Sharma takes us a few steps back. Child actor Aman Siddiqui is a confident performer but his character is too clever and too purposefully cute to actually portray innocence.
In one fantasy song, the children even don leather jackets and gelled hair and strut attitude like a motor-cycle gang of mini-me's. These are children who have never known a moment of vulnerability or ache. It's jarring, not cute.
Despite this, there are some endearing moments in Bhoothnath. Parts of it are fun and a few scenes have emotional depth. But post-interval the film goes into flashback mode recounting Bhoothnath's abandonment by his son, who basically dumped his parents for the good life in America.
Vivek, who also wrote the film, reiterates the Karan Johar line that it's all about loving your parents but the heavy-handed melodrama snuffs out the little fun there is in the film.
Amitabh Bachchan infuses charm into his angry old ghost but Bhoothnath feels too pat and calculated to work as a sparkling fairy tale.
Eventually, then it just about makes it to an average mark. But in a season of terrible films, that counts for something. See it if you must.