Bhaagamathie Tamil Movie
Nine years back when Anushka made her foray to join the "female-driven" antagonist bandwagon in Telugu with "Arundhathee", it was like a breath of fresh air. Even Anushka herself would have certainly felt the change, especially with the sort of mindless roles that she was doing until then. Her role as an awe-inspiring princess in Arundhathee was not only path-breaking but made filmmakers reiterate and take note of the fact that a good director can even mould a masala heroine stereotype into one that is extremely aspirational.
Since then Anushka has come a long way, but with some mixed results. Though a majority of her films could be termed as either runaway hits or blockbusters, she was largely not spared to play the "dumb blonde" kind of a role once in a while. When Bhaagamathie's trailer was played, my eyes lit up and was curious to find out whether it was another spin-off on "Arundhathee".
The movie is about a political party trying to taint the character of Eswar Prasad (Jayaram), perceived to be the most "honest" and down-to-earth minister within the party. He has also earned the trust of the people with his righteousness. They try to knock him down with the aide of his ex-secretary Sanchala (Anushka), who is jailed for killing her husband. In order to carry out the proposed "interrogation", they choose the haunted bungalow of Bhaagamathie (?!). Then the proceedings take some unexpected twists and turns until the real culprit gets revealed at the end.
The problem with Bhaagamathie was the narrative. The plot was intriguing. The prospect of a prisoner being held hostage by a ghost is something that could be scaled to being a horror comedy. But the comic sequences were largely slapstick and weren't able to scale up to something memorable, like a Chandramukhi. In fact, the bungalow had so many semblances of Chandramukhi and there was even a snake that was showcased. The scares weren't convincing enough and these days when we're being treated to at least a couple of horror movies a month, these just don't satiate our hunger for horror.
The plot as such had far too many flaws and believability issues. Especially towards the climax when the dots are being connected, it begs for logic. The first and foremost would be on why was the prisoner taken to Bhaagamathie's bungalow of all places? The director shouldn't have faltered on such a basic premise on which he tries to build his narrative.
Also, the covering up of the villain was a bad job. We could sense the culprit in the first half and so the twists don't really count. Also, the Telugu lip sync at various places brings in a sort of alienness at times.
The movie was an amateurish attempt at leveraging Anushka's ability to pull off larger-than-life roles. They failed due to a flawed script and on top of it, a stale narrative.