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Aatma is the journey of a single mother Maya Verma who finally starts her life afresh with her six year old daughter Nia but as Maya starts to pick up the pieces of her life, strange things starts happening around her. Maya's six year old daughter Nia starts to speak to her dead father. Maya initially feels that she has created an imaginary father to fill the gap in her life but slowly Maya's life starts to fall apart and the reality gets darker till she starts to doubt her own sanity. Aatma is a psychological thriller set in a supernatural framework. It is about the inheritance of loss, a tableau of conflicting emotions played against a diabolic backdrop.Written by
An unusual mix of good scenes, bad scenes & a fresh theme adapted for an Indian horror film.
The first look of AATMA and its interesting trailer attracted many lovers of the horror genre since those 2 minutes promised a lot new or fresh in terms of content, supported by an unusual star-cast featuring Bipasha and Nawazuddin together. The trailer worked hugely because at last we had a novel plot here, showcasing a father's soul coming back to the world in order to take her loving daughter along to the other side, post his untimely death. And this very new thought incorporated in an Indian Horror film, moving ahead of all those clichéd plots actually appealed to many.
However revealing the gist of the review in just one line, AATMA's trailer was much more exciting and thrilling than the complete film itself and you are not going to find that promised innovation, freshness or path breaking execution of the 'Father-Daughter" theme in the film as expected. In other words, its well edited trailer actually revealed it all in advance, killing the surprise element of the film, due to which it fails to hold you for long even in its short duration of less than 100 minutes only.
AATMA comes to the point right away as it begins and then offers some reasonably good scenes in its first half particularly the sequences involving the girl's school and Bipasha's torture. Another one featuring Bipasha and Nawazudin sitting in front of the judge for their final divorce hearing makes you sit straight as an indication of something exceptional coming in the later reels. But sadly, from here on the director takes on the same rotten & seen before path once again with all repeated scenes of a possessed girl (reminding you of RGV's BHOOT RETURNS), the victim doctor, surprised relatives and a tantric coming in the house to fight with the spirit in a routine manner.
As a result, all the novelty in its theme of a "Mentally sick but loving father" adapted for the first time in a Hindi horror film gets lost in this tedious kind of execution by director Suparn Verma, who could have turned it into something great, making it with an out of the box mindset for a change. Thankfully he doesn't bow down to the usual 3-4 song compulsion linked with this particular genre and offers a crisply edited project along with a decent cinematography & background score. Yet despite of all these positive elements, the end product is not even close to what was being expected from him after an impressive trailer.
Another major point which goes against the film is the less emphasis given to the character of Nawazudin, whom the viewers wished to see more after his recent worth watching performances in few award winning films. The script keeps its main focus on Bipasha instead, who is just fine in his emotional portrayal of a helpless mother without any visible variations in her scenes in both the halves. On the other hand, Nawazudin tries his best to come up with an effective performance but the talented actor is not given enough well written scenes to showcase his skill as desired. Moreover, this was a complete mismatch tried by the casting director to add some more value to the project which in turn backfired hugely.
The small girl, Doyle Dhawan is appealing in some scenes and forcibly acting in the others with her eyes repeatedly making a contact with the people behind the camera (while shooting). Ideally all these scenes should have been replaced with the other shots on the editing table, but probably the director didn't have much choice and had to keep the same ones only in the final print as it seems. In the supporting cast Shernaz Patel over-reacts in few of her scenes, Darshan Zariwala has nothing much to do, the Inspector tries hard to justify his badly written role and the English teacher is just perfect in her short appearance in the first half.
Adding to the weak points of the film, it has a big problem of continuity break in its various shots like Bipasha still doesn't know about the death of her daughter's teacher in the school itself even post intermission, there is no reasoning or serious investigation shown for the various killings happening at different venues and that one Police Inspector who keeps behaving like a psychic all the time, right from his first scene itself in a very funny manner. Moreover the climax of the film also remains ineffective completely with Bipasha re-appearing in a designer jeans and top as the angle to meet her grown up daughter quite weirdly.
Further its high time for the Hindi film-makers to realize that if they are offering a less than 100 minutes film to the viewers then it needs to be shown in one go without the normal interval of say 10 minutes. Because its simply not justified to witness a break at mere 45 minutes after sitting on your seats, which obviously brings in some negativity in the theater as I felt visibly looking at the faces of my fellow viewers.
In all, yes AATMA does have a new subject to talk about in the horror genre but the same cannot be said about its treatment on the screen unfortunately. So you might enjoy it more in your home theaters at a lesser cost and without any immediate interval as such in just 45 minutes.
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