Bhaagamathie Is A Scary Mess

Bhaagamathie (Telugu,Tamil)

Starring: Anushka Shetty,Asha Sarath,Unni Mukundan

Directed by: G Ashok

Rating: 1 ½(one  and a half stars)

The Bahu too has her Baahubali. Perhaps not in  the same  league as  Prabhas , but Anushka Shetty has a  fan following of her own. She has a certain screen presence  that is reminiscent  of Vidya Balan . Though not a very accomplished actress Shetty manages to hold her own when given  a script to call her own.

This, sad to say, is  not one of those occasions.

Disastrous to the  point of being an embarrassment Bhaagamathie tries to mix and match disparate genres with as much success as  sprinter P T Usha  sparring with tennis player Sania Mirza is a game of mixed sports with audiences cheering for neither.

The film tries to blend horror and social comedy  and ends up being neither this nor that.In fact at many plot points when the director attempted to scare  us I found myself trying to smother my laughter as diehard members of  the Anushka Shetty fan club tried to  stare me down. But soon enough even they were fidgeting in their seats, as appalled by  the narrative’s  absence  of goal and gall as I  was .

This is not a  film. This is a misadventure. Or a Miss Adventure,tailormade for its heroine,that has turned into a Mess Adventure.

Much  of  the depleted distorted ambiguation in the drama unfolds in a haveli that has seen better days.Do, I might add, has the dramatis personae,all of whom scamper around pretending to look frightened when all they really want to do is giggle at  the absurdities . While the  director’s intentions—to create a sense  of foreboding in a routine environment—comes across in half-hearted spurts, the supporting cast is completely in awe of the leading actress.Barring Asha Sarath who plays the bossy power-woman one  more time with authority , the rest of the cast has been clearly instructed to look wonder-struck every time Anusha Shetty passes by.

Ironically she  delivers a performance of burnt-out  burlesque, posturing in fear and surprise and sometimes in romantic rapture(with co-star Unni Mukundan )  as well. None of this is convincing. Her ‘Kanchana’ act reminded me of Vidya Balan in Bhool Bhulaiya, and  of course Shobana in Manichitrathazhu. But where  is the fire? All that we see in Bhaagamathie is the smoke.

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