Cast: Bipasha Basu, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Doyel Dhawan, Shernaz Patel, Mohan Kapoor
b! Says: **
If horror movies are your cup of tea, 'Aatma' seems a good bet, what with a spooky child artist, an eerie background score and other scare staples. However 'Aatma' offers nothing that is original and after a while, the predictability of it all begins to grate on your nerves.
Maya (Bipasha Basu) is a single mother who finds out that her daughter Niya (Doyel Dhawan) talks to her dead father Abhay (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) regularly. After complaints from her school teacher pour in about Niya's lack of attention during class, and curtains flying & doors shutting of their own free will, Maya thinks that getting psychological help could be a good option. She finds out that a dead father’s undying love for his daughter has forced him to come back as a spirit to take his little girl away. Maya then spends the rest of the movie trying to keep her daughter away from her abusive husband's spectre.
To say that the performances are a disappointment would be unfair. Bipasha Basu makes for a convincing mother and Nawazuddin, whose acting prowess we are already well aware of, manages to do justice to the small part he has been given. Doyel Dhawan does a decent job as the spooky little girl, reminding us of Nimmi played by Alayana Sharma in ‘Bhoot Returns’.
It is the run-of-the-mill plot that works against ‘Aatma’. The use of formulaic elements such as dark eye make-up and black lips and the forced inclusion of tantriks in the cast spoil the fun, making the movie less intelligent than the trailers promised. Dramatisation is kept to a minimum and there are some frightful thrills, however you're struck by a constant sense of deja vu since most of the plot devices seem recycled.
We'd recommend ‘Aatma’ strictly to fans of the genre.