A damaged marriage and a child caught between parents with irreconcilable differences – that’s the premise of ghost thriller Aatma.
One day the little girl Nia starts talking to an invisible being, who she claims is her father. This troubles her mother Maya (Bipasha Basu) especially as she knows that Abhay (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is actually dead. Suddenly anyone who upsets or berates Nia is eliminated, one by one – a young classmate, a stern teacher, etc.
Director-writer Suparn Varma creates an engaging structure for the plot till this point, after which you begin to see the same thrills and tricks oft used in Indian supernatural/ horror films – a pundit, a creepy old soothsayer type woman, the child being possessed, a lucky charm that fails to do its job till the climax point. From here the writing fumbles and leans on clichés. Plus there are only a couple of real jumpy moments.
Bipasha Basu is largely too perfectly groomed to denote being harrowed by the ‘aatma’. She is especially weak in the emotional scenes. Siddiqui brings some spark as the menacing man in her life but is given very little to really sink his teeth into. Child actor Doyel Dhawan puts up a pretty decent performance.
Aatma is dull and lacking spirit.