After the blockbuster success of Baahubali 2, Anushka is back with Bhaagamathie, directed by Ashok. Horror, as a genre, is not new for the leggy lass, since the talented actress had already proved her mettle with Arundhathi.
Sanchala (Anushka), is a former IAS officer, who is now a prisoner. She also happens to be the personal secretary of Eshwar Prasad (Jayaram), an honest political minister. A CBI team, takes Sanchala to a private haunted bungalow, to investigate about Eshwar Prasad. What happens in the haunted bungalow and what Sanchala tells the CBI about Eshwar Prasad forms the rest of the plot.
Bhaagamathie is not an out and out horror/thriller. It has more layers to the story, that unveil towards the end. But the film takes an outdated formulaic route that doesn’t offer any new experience to the audience. Still, the twist in the climax might be surprising for a section of the audience, who might have expected an exorcism-type ending. The dialogues are rather old-fashioned, and the writing team could have worked better on that.
Bhaagamathie also fails to captivate the audience at the majority of places and doesn’t excite you, even when an important twist is revealed. The first half is almost full of Sanchala’s exploration into the haunted bungalow, and the jump scares associated with it. Adding to the downfalls, there are quite a few logical loopholes, left unanswered.
Anushka scores comparatively better, as Bhaagamathie than Sanchala, with more power and intensity. But, the scope for Bhaagamathie is lesser. Jayaram has a meaty role to perform and showcases his versatility with subtleness. However, the character lacks detailing and a strong base. Other than Anushka and Jayaram, other characters do not leave any major impact.
Cinematographer Madhie experiments neatly with his angles and frame compositions and is a valuable addition to the technical crew. Thaman’s Bhaagamathie theme is pulsating and gives a good boost. The artwork needs a special mention, and the interior design and structure of the bungalow are impressive. The sound design supplements the film’s screenplay on a positive note. Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao’s edit lacks crispness.
Ashok has definitely not wanted to present a full-fledged horror film, and his ideology is appreciable. With a fresh treatment to the screenplay, the director could have scored big, and Bhaagamathie would have made a broader impact.
Verdict: Bhaagamathie has its moments but could have been better with a stronger plot!