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Bhaagamathie movie cast: Anushka Shetty, Jayaram, Unni Mukundan
Bhaagamathie movie director: G. Ashok
Bhaagamathie movie rating: 2 stars
The story of Bhaagamathie, starring Anushka Shetty, is nothing like what was suggested by the filmmakers through the theatrical trailer and the nightmarish posters. It was supposed to keep the audience on the edge-of-the-seat with a spine-chilling backstory of the central character Bhaagamathie, a ghost from the past century. It was supposed to send the shiver down our spines while we witness the horrors suffered by the characters that wander into Bhaagamathie’s territory. Instead, we get a blown-out version of Tamil film Pizza. And shades of all horror movies that have been made in the South Indian film industry thus far.
The mere mention of Bhaagamathie bungalow, as one character puts it, makes even grown-ups wet their pants. The legend has it that Bhaagamathie murdered people, who dare to enter her palace compound as part of her voodoo. However, a top police officer, played by Murali Sharma, thinks that is exactly the kind of place he wants to lock-up Chancala (Anushka Shetty) and investigate her in connection with a scam.
Chancala, a disgraced IAS officer in a murder case, had worked as a personal secretary to a minister, played by Jayaram. The conscience of Jayaram’s character and his record is so clean that the central government feels threatened and wants to frame him in a corruption case. Or so director G Ashok wants us to believe. But we have seen enough movies to understand where the film is taking us.
The biggest problem of Bhaagamathie is it gets predictable after a point. All the build-up from the beginning of the film leads to the moment where Bhaagamathie reveals herself, wrapped in a red saree and with antique jewellers, mouthing the punch line that has become a big hit on the internet, ‘Bhaagamathie Adda.’ It’s interval, you guessed it. And the narration goes into a free-fall from there on. The film later wades into a sociopolitical territory forfeiting the horror theme in the middle of the second half. The theme that helped the film to fill up cinema halls in the first place.
Chanchala is on a mission to avenge her fiance Shakthi (Unni Mukundan), who was taken from her by a few corrupt minds in the society. They also frame Chanchala in the crime. The film does little to make the audience care about Shakthi and what happens to him. Apart from the fact that he is a conventional hero character with a degree from Australia and has given up lucrative jobs to work for the welfare of people in his village. (I yawned twice already). The moment Ashok, who has also written this film, takes Bhaagamathie out of the equation, the film turns into a snooze-fest.
Ashok does manage to creep us out using the tried-and-tested tropes of the horror genre in the beginning but mostly I was left squirming in the seat as I felt I was drowning in the hollowness of the narration. The only character that had my attention was Bhaagamathie but it was also rendered empty due to Chanchala’s revenge scheme.
Chanchala has cliche written all over her. She is a naive good soul that suddenly turns treacherous and whips up a master plan that fools the CBI, science and technology. Anushka lifts the mood with the loud burst of her performance as the possessed woman but her Chanchala character is a letdown. Thaman’s loud background score made me cower than scenes that were supposed to be giving me nightmares.
The main drawback of Ashok’s narrative is he gives up the suspense part of the story very early on. The ‘big twist’ and the film as a whole package may have entertained us much better, if only Ashok had held onto the suspense until the end