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ApunKaChoice » Article » Movie Review: 'Aatma' doesn’t spook you
 

Movie Review: 'Aatma' doesn’t spook you

'Aatma' starts off well but fizzles out in thin air
By Nikhil Kumar
Fri, Mar 22, 2013 14:45:00 GMT
 

The ApunKaChoice movie review of Aatma. In the times when the talk of women empowerment has gotten shriller like never before, one could hardy envisage a prospect worse for a married woman than to be haunted by the ghost of her abusive, hot-tempered now-dead husband.

For a man alive and abusing, you can go to the cops, to the relatives, to the neighbours for help, or, worst comes to worst, handle the scumbag yourself. But what if the wretch is nothing but an evil apparition? Well, you run to an exorcist who will in all likelihood conduct an elaborate havan to send the demon back to the dead. Or better still, you can invoke another dead to tackle the monster. Dead versus the dead! Whoa! Possibilities abound. So there, in Aatma director Suparn Verma had a fertile pitch to play with ideas, and come up with a film that breaks the shackles of the genre so typified by the horror brand of Vikram Bhatts and Ram Gopal Varmas.

Aatma has Bipasha Basu playing Maya, a protective mom to a six-year-old Nia (Doyel Dhawan). She’s had a bitter divorce from her abusive husband Abhay (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and even won the custody of her daughter. Abhay’s now dead, but Maya hasn’t revealed that to Nia.

Then, strange things begin to happen. Nia’s bullying classmate and stern teacher are killed in mysterious ways. Worse still, Nia begins communicating with her father, not knowing it’s just the ghost who’s come back from the dead to take her to netherworld.

To be fair, Aatma does start off well and keeps you engrossed for the good part of the first half. The pitch is queered by none other than Suparn Verma himself. What could have been a path-breaking supernatural thriller is reduced to a collage of scare gimmicks like lights going off, chairs rocking on their own, telephones ringing and the usual ghost-in-the-mirror stunt. The writing is plain, shallow and quite predictable. Even the performances are humdrum.

Bipasha Basu, the new face of horror for Hindi films, can perhaps look scared and spooked even in half sleep now, and even though she professes that Aatma gave her sleepless nights, rest assured nothing remotely close will happen to viewers. Nawazuddin Siddiqui does try to inject menace to his character, but frankly, the ghost of Wasseypur still seems to haunt him and you almost half anticipate his Abhay to yank out a gun and go rat-tat-tat. Giving credit where due, Nawaz does shine in a courtroom scene when he has an emotional outburst. From the sidelines, Darshan Jariwala, Jaideep Ahlawat and Shernaz Patel offer no more support than the tacky script allows them.

Yet, Aatma isn’t all bad. At times the movie adopts the form of a mood piece. Then, in a fluky moment Sophie Winqvist’s camera and Verma’s vision groove in to give you a stray shiver down the spine. But for the most part, Aatma is ho-hum.

Rating: **
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