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Child's Pose

  • Ankur Pathak

    Ankur Pathak (50 DM Points)

    Desimartini | Updated - September 21, 2014 8:43 AM IST
    3.0DM (387 ratings)

    Verdict - Bipasha Basu shines in the role of a single mother haunted by her dead husband.

    AatmaWatch trailerRelease date : March 22, 2013

    Director Suparn Verma has always been an ambitious filmmaker. From his debut in Chal to the delightfully outrageous Acid Factory, his films burst with strong themes but it is the execution that has left us majorly underwhelmed. A more accomplished filmmaker would have rendered the aforementioned films a much nuanced treatment.

    Aatma, clearly one of his better works, suffers from an approach that looks as if the director is trying too hard to shock and is in a tearing hurry to close the film. His ideas are in the right place and much of it is quite novel as far as the horror genre in Indian cinema is concerned, yet the film falls short of the breakthrough that it could have been.

    The biggest problem with Aatma is that it sends across chills in independent scenes which are well crafted indeed and executed with remarkable subtlety; but none of it comes holistically together. It seems that the scenes were drafted without much contextualization, and this hampers a generic sense of continuity. Thus, one horror set piece after another feels more like a deliberate extension, rather than it all flowing seamlessly. This is funny because the film has some very sharp transitions, and is also photographed with the tension that an atmosphere of such a film would demand. Even the background score is always minimal, and many scenes nearly silent, never exageratted for effect.

    Thus it all boils down to how much emotional investment you make in the film's story which is essentially about a delicately unstable mother-daughter relationship. This aspect of the film is well-rounded and themes of domestic violence leading to psychological nightmares and a mother's fractured relationship with her daughter come across sensitively as well as our believable. Bipasha Basu is earnest in her performance and her trauma is something that we come close to understanding, and even sympathizing. And so is Nawazuddin Sidiqque as the jilted husband with sociopathic tendencies.

    The best bit that can be said is that at no point does the film look comical or induces unintentional laughter. If you are willing to forgive these shortcomings, you may shock yourself with Aatma.

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