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quick review:

Aatma has a storyline flatter than Bipasha Basu's waistline. So, you end up having yet another lame horror film, that barely manages to spook you.

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Director: Suparn Verma
Running time: 90 minutes
Genres: Horror
More Movie Info

Aatma - Preview

Aatma - another horror film on the horizon? This is getting a bit much, isn't it? One horror film a week. If there were any room left to be immune to the typical horror movie spook tactics, it'll be taken care of if horror films are released at this rate. I realise, there is a very high chance of Aatma being different from the regular Hindi horror flick though. Hats off to the person who thought of Bipasha Basu and Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a couple! I was stumped at that.

In addition, you did wish death upon Bipasha Basu's character in Raaz 3. This time she's on the other side of the table. She's going to be the typical woman being spooked in almost every other horror film. The angle here is a little different. Other than Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing a spirit, the mother-daughter-father equation sounds extremely intriguing.

The music seems to have garnered mixed responses. Hopefully, the newer elements in the horror genre will make Aatma worth a watch.

Music Reviews:
Apun Ka Choice - "2.5/5"
glamsham - "4/5"
koimoi - "3/5"
Milliblog - "The Haldipur brothers deliver in style in their well-deserved solo soundtrack."
Music Aloud - "7.5/10"

- meeta, a part of the audience

Aatma leaves you with many questions. Why are most horror films all the same? Why are they oh-so-lame? Why do they have to involve an artist who's a child? Are horrified adults too mild? These are not rhetorics, they are genuine questions.

Aatma starts out, right from the trailers, with the premise of a dead dad wanting to be with his child. Aatma stays there pretty much right till the end. There is very little in terms of movement from this baseline. Sure, there are doctors, priests and murders, but they are pretty much predictable. And what's a horror film going to horrify you with, if you know what's going to happen next.

Without that as a support, the audience has to more or less rely on the performances to feel for or against the characters. Nawazuddin Siddiqui does invoke disgust and anger even before he's shown on the screen. However, taking nothing away from his acting effort, those negative emotions are more directly correlated with the characterisation. Again, once it is invoked, it stays put. You cannot but ignore the fact that there was a decent chance of revealing his intentions gradually, thus building the drama to a high. But well, they let that cat out in the promos itself.

Bipasha Basu does the drill of being a very scared, concerned mother. But, she can do only so much if the screenplay has her sleep away from her child who seems to be in fatal danger. At the risk of revealing a little detail, the said scene has Bipasha Basu's Maya sleep with her mom and be comforted by her and the daughter-in-danger is sleeping in another room!

And what about our concern for our child artists? Should any human be put through the ordeal of acting in roles that require them to be possessed and murder people brutally (Doyel Dhawan) - at age 6! And this is not specific to this film, or even just Hindi films, why should any child be put through first giving those performances and then watching themselves on the screen. What kind of a messed up race are we, if we need to use the tenderness of age to entertain us? (I can only hope that the said artists aren't allowed to watch such of their films until they are of age. But, I know that is highly unlikely.)

And the sad part is, it doesn't even spook us. We've seen it so many times over that we are now immune to possessed children. Oh well.

I am nit-picking then when I point out a "Whhaat?" moment, when I see a school teacher sitting on her desk, while teaching - one-leg-over-another in a short skirt! Yeah, petty me.

If I had to pick one positive in the entire film, it would be attempt at mood. The gloomy blues create the right atmosphere, even if it is pretty dark during day time. However, the background music and all the other elements bring the film down to below average.

So, a courtesy tip towards science and God later, the film and your miseries end. Aatma is short, and even if it is certainly not sweet, you thank the writers for small mercies.

- meeta, a part of the audience

39 reviewers(?) - 3 yays 14 so-so 22 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Rahul Nanda, Filmfare : ...In terms of performances Nawazuddin steals the show. Although after his entry he goes missing for a large chunk of the first half his presence is felt even in small scenes. ... full review

Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ... relies purely on the content and, to a large extent, succeeds owing to clever storytelling... full review

Thumbs up, by Raju Nihalani, Rediff : ...Doyel's vulnerability in the school scenes -- where she is unable to respond and retaliate against an irritating classmate and an insensitive teacher -- remind me of Jugal Hansraj in Masoom... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...AATMA does have a new subject to talk about in the horror genre but the same cannot be said about its treatment on the screen unfortunately.... full review

So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Bollywood Hungama : ...At heart, "Aatma" is a custody battle for a child, a "Kramer vs. Kramer", where one of the parents is dead.... full review

So-So, by Deboshree Ghosh, Bollywood Life : ...Do we even need to say anything about Nawazuddin. Make him a thug and he will steal you hearts; make him an apparition and he will vanish like a column of smoke, leaving an imprint on everyone.... full review

So-So, by Ankur Pathak, Desi Martini : ...The biggest problem with Aatma is that it sends across chills in independent scenes which are well crafted indeed and executed with remarkable subtlety; but none of it comes holistically together... full review

So-So, by Rony D'Costa, Desi Martini : ...Aatma is one up on the horrors that Vikram Bhatt and Ram Gopal Varma inflict on us off late.... full review

So-So, by Kritika Deval, fullhyd.com : ...So, there you have it. The beginning, the middle, and the ending, even before the latter two parts occur. All that is left is the scary bits - which are unevenly effective. ... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Dhawan is well-used and mostly effective, and is the high point o>f Aatma.... full review

So-So, by Joginder Tuteja, Indicine : ... Instead of the focus being on the girl being possessed, there are various tangents thrown in as well, most interestingly being Nawaz’s chilling presence that indeed makes you wonder what he would do next.... full review

So-So, by Ashay D, koimoi : ...The screenplay by Suparn Verma is upright and blameless. Yes, there is some melodrama during vibrant scenes but that is excusable.... full review

So-So, by Divya Solgama, MoviezADDA : ...Camera work is good and gives a stylish look to the film. Technically the movie is neat and clean. Editing is fine, but could have been much better.... full review

So-So, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...it's sure to delight those who dislike extreme scares, and might disappoint hardcore horror junkies. ... full review

So-So, by Roshmila Bhattacharya, Star Blockbuster : ...After RGV and Vikram Bhatt (Raaz 3D), we have another filmmaker who has taken horror a few notches up. And that’s ‘brave’ of him... full review

So-So, by Reel Reptile, Upper Stall : ...What sets Aatma slightly apart from the less-than-mediocre horror sagas made in India is the slick cinematography (Sophie Winqvist) and production design (Sukant Panigrahy), a combination of which creates a haunting-lullaby world within a bustling city. ... full review

So-So, by Resham Sengar, Zee News : ...But that does not imply that ‘Aatma’ is an excellent film. Rather it is more apt to say that it is an out-of-the-box film. The scary moments before the interval are more like foreplay.... full review

Thumbs down, by Nikhil Kumar, Apun Ka Choice : ...To be fair, Aatma does start off well and keeps you engrossed for the good part of the first half. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...AATMA doesn't resort to appalling, nauseating visuals. It's low on gore, but high on atmosphere and mood. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, Daily Bhaskar : ...The kid is a helpful trick still. There is nothing more chilling than something sinister brewing in the fuzzy head of an innocent looking child.... full review

Thumbs down, by Nikhil Arora, Desi Martini : ...an atrocious horror film, a total travesty... full review

Thumbs down, by Ameetbhuvan, Desi Martini : ...Director Suparn Verma packs in every cliche possible- from RGV's leg level camera angles to Vikram Bhats flying knives, cheap prosthetics, and even a soundtrack that converts a lullaby into a horror anthem.... full review

Thumbs down, by Tushar Joshi, DNA : ...Performances are strictly average. The always bankable Nawazuddin is reduced to hamming and spewing awkward dialogues.... full review

Thumbs down, by Ravina Rawal, FirstPost : ...For some inexplicable reason, a majority of the scenes open with Bipasha’s back to us. When she turns around, eight times out of 10, she’s wearing a slinky negligee that makes fans in the audience hoot and whistle. ... full review

Thumbs down, Free Press Journal : ...Despite the earnestness evidenced in the performances of the lead players, notably Bipasha, Doyel and Nawazuddin, there is little believability in this enterprise. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...But what does knock you is Nawazuddin's performance. This guy is simply amazing. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the rest of the cast or even of the script.... full review

Thumbs down, by Anupama Chopra, Hindustan Times : ...And at the centre of all this stands a heaving and crying Basu, clad through much of the film in well-fitting nightwear that seems a tad provocative for a woman battling a murderous ghost.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Moments like these are few and far between in this lazy film that doesn't even create the required atmospherics for a moody thriller. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Swati Deogire, In.com : ...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.... full review

Thumbs down, by Fatema H Kagalwala, India Entertainment : ...The lead pair is an unusual pairing, and it isn’t milked to a distinct advantage except evoking the curiosity of watching two very distinct talents pitted against each other.... full review

Thumbs down, by Nandini Ramnath, Live Mint : ...The spirit is willing, but the treatment is weak... full review

Thumbs down, by Shaheen Parkar, MiD DAY : ...ips as the single mom does her bit dealing with a possessed daughter but the melodramatic scenes could have been easily avoided.... full review

Thumbs down, by Karan Anshuman, Mumbai Mirror : ...Although Basu and Siddiqui’s pairing is unconventional, it only works in spurts individually. Of course, Basu has been doing similar roles for a while now but Siddiqui shines in relatively new territory. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Thanks to Nordic director of photography Sophie Winqvist’s energetic camerawork and mood-inducing lighting, Aatma wears a unique look and feel. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Mansha Rastogi, Now Running.com : ...Aatma neither scares you not entertains. Lack of spine chilling moments and wafer-thin of the story totally ruin Aatma's chances. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters : ...Bereft of logic, intrigue or indeed any horror, “Aatma” is an unremarkable film ... full review

Thumbs down, by K N Gupta, SmasHits.com : ... Shernaz Patel as Maya's mom performs well. Tilotima Shome as Nia's class teacher looks attractive.... full review

Thumbs down, by Swati Rohatgi, STARDUST : ... It definitely can psychologically scare you when you don’t know what’s wrecking havoc. However, in case of Aatma, you get to know the entire story in the initial few minutes itself. T... full review

Thumbs down, by Anuj Kumar, The Hindu : ...The gifted Jaideep, as the police officer who apprehends the role of a spirit in murders even before the godman comes into play but does nothing about it, remains a curious cardboard.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

4 readers - 3 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Ishu Bhaskar : Simply Awesome!

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Jake : Catch on DVD for sure

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Nimish C

So-So, by Anup : catch when on tv

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads of murders and brutal ones at that.
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None unless you count Bipasha Basu dressed in short negligees.
  • Concept: A dead father wants to be with his daughter.
  • General Look and Feel: Gloomy blues. An attempt at spooky.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:

Aatma - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Costume Designer:
Art Direction:
Running time:
90 minutes

Comments (10)

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Dunno why Nawaz chose this one of all after his sensational acts in Kahaani and GOW last year! Just hope this one doesn't turn out to be like those Vikram Bhatt comical horror films!

@Anuj it's something different, no? It is not like the Bhatt films, but that doesn't mean it is a good film either. :D


meetu,,,,i dont why are u so rude with this movie,,,,i m not saying that its a good movie but atleast u have chossen 'watch if u have nothing better to do' its better than the recent RGV and bhatt horror movie,,,,if gives a hope that decent horror movies can be made in future of bollywood


@meetu: I highly disagree with your review this time meetu..
Tell me what else u expect from a horror flick?? This was pretty good then vikram bhatt's stupid horror series..
Iam fillowing u from past 2 years but this time I disagree..

@Anup and @Jake the movie was just too flat for me. Hardly anything happened that wasn't expected from the trailers. Not a singly jolted me or gave me the creeps. And like with any horror film which uses child artists to get possessed or possess, it is an instant negative for me.

Ishu Bhaskar

Aatma is an awesome film, extremely well directed. Sound Effects are top of the line. Performances are great too. Good going team aatma


@meetu~ what you want from a horror movie then? and frankly, you're being tooooo rude too this movie.


see meetu I m repeating what I have said earlier,,,,its not a good movie but better then raaz 3 , bhoot return and 1920 evil return,,,,and u have rated raaz 3 as 'watch if u have nothing better to do' ,,,, atleast acting and the atmoshphere is better in this movie,,,,so u are rude to this one

Nimish C

@ Ishu - Thank you for appreciating the Sound Effects. A lot of hard work had gone into designing each & every sound for the film & making sure it blends completely with the Visuals.

@Jake @Anup To each his own. Speaking of which - http://wogma.com/movie/aatma-teho/

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