Movie Review: Aatma
Director: Suparn Varma
IE Rating: **
In the initial bits, Aatma pitchforks us into a nice case of thrills and chills. The mother of a little girl is troubled. Her daughter talks to someone no one can see, giggling conspiratorially. Sinister things start happening around this tiny unit, readying us for a solid spooky session. But Aatma soon begins to unravel in ways that lessen that fear, and leaves us with a film that could-have-been.
No time is wasted in setting up Maya (Bipasha Basu) as a young, beautiful mom conflicted about how to tell little Nia (Doyel Dhawan) about her beloved father's (Nawazuddin) fatal accident. We are led up smoothly, after the fact, to a man who was abusive and violent to his wife and extra-loving to his daughter. A pesky classmate who bothers Nia is the first to go; a strict teacher is the next: till then the film handles itself well. Some well-executed sequences make you jump. And then the 'aatma' reveals itself, and from there it's all downhill. An old hag hobbles up with a prophecy, a pundit starts conducting a havan, and other predictbles pop up.
The space for little girls with curly locks who cause strange things to happen is a crowded one in movies around the globe. Dhawan is well-used and mostly effective, and is the high point o>f Aatma. Nawaz breaks through in some strongly-performed scenes but doesn't fit well with Basu, who is her usual svelte self,
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