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Bhaagamathie Review

Josh /
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait for OTT
You really, really need to love Anushka.

Nah, that's not propaganda we're peddling because of any newfound love for Anushka or such. We're just saying, to be able to be thoroughly entertained by Bhagmathie, you'd better be in love with Anushka.

G Ashok's trilingual (Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam - which explains why all those non-Telugu actors show up on screen) horror-thriller offers very little apart from its lead's loveliness. It isn't that he doesn't try. It isn't even that he fails. He just doesn't quite succeed.

Take that plot, for example. It's like those goofy gifts we wrapped as kids where the recipient peels a layer off to find another layer under it and then peels it off to find yet another and so on, and twenty layers and much amusement later, out comes a Mango Bite (ah, Mango Bite...!).

Only, with Bhagmathie's plot, about twenty layers and some tedium later, out comes the big reveal. And it has no bite.

As is the case with such peelsy plots, we can only give you the first couple of layers, which involve an honest minister (Jayaram), a case of stolen idols from ancient temples, and a Chief Minister who wants the honest minister out. So a CBI officer (Asha Sarath) is assigned to dig up dirt on the minister, in which process she decides to interrogate a jailed IAS officer (Anushka Shetty) in a place that's neither public nor private - a haunted palace of a queen called Bhagmathie.

Yes, the first couple of layers look interesting, which is why we sincerely sat through the film. And also because the scares are kinda nicely done. The producer spent money, and the director made sure it was spent well - the art direction, make-up, sound design, cinematography and such are all a certain degree of competent, which make you sit through the movie - only to slowly realize that the investment was probably not worth it.

Also because Bhagmathie actually tries to be a thriller and not a standard issue horror-comedy, the easy laughs don't come, and G Ashok hasn't (yet) got the craft to work a full-fledged thriller. There are still the few good laughs, few good moments and few good scares, and good as they might be, they are few.

We couldn't be particularly concerned about the generally decent but nothing-extraordinary performances, but we'd like to mention that Dhanraj can be an intense performer. Comedian or no, he has the gravity to hold a frame, and we wish he was given more to do - not just in this film but in general, too.

And no matter her loveliness, Anushka still is a few nautical miles behind Nayantara when it comes to shouldering films and having them work. The latter's recent solo outings like Dora and Aramm (a Tamil film where she plays an IAS officer) are likeable whether or not you like Nayantara. Or maybe she's just choosing the sweet scripts. To like Bhagmathie, though, you'd better be in love with Anushka.
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Bhaagamathie (telugu) reviews
Rating is quick and easy - try it!
  • Cast
    Anushka Shetty, Jayaram, Unni Mukundan, Asha Sarath, Murali Sharma, Dhanraj, Prabhas Sreenu, Vidhyulekha Raman, Thalaisaval Vijay, Ajay Ghosh, Madhu Nandan
  • Music
    S Thaman
  • Director
    G Ashok
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
Hari on 27th Jan 2018, 12:25am | Permalink
peelsy plot. ha..that's a good one :)

Josh on 28th Jan 2018, 8:59am | Permalink
Haha.. thanks, Hari :)
The Common Movie Goer on 26th Jan 2018, 11:46pm | Permalink
Damn it, Josh! You had to remind me of Mango Bite, huh? Have to agree with Anushka not being a powerhouse performer. Long way to go before she becomes a Sri Devi. One of your shorter reviews, I assume?
Josh on 28th Jan 2018, 8:58am | Permalink
I used Mango Bite here because of the bite joke in the next paragraph. The actual joke had Nutrine Aasay :D

I didn't have much to say, man. Film's boring although it's put together decently. Anushka looks nice. I really wish Dhanraj was hired for a well-written role. There.

Anushka isn't going to go very far, in my opinion. I find her emoting inadequate in the 'powerful' scenes. She holds back like a star-kid. In her comfort zone though, she's very pleasant to watch.
Hari on 28th Jan 2018, 8:31pm | Permalink
I too find Anushka very limited in emoting. BTW, why do our writers/directors keep making actors and actresses shout at the top of their lungs? Absolutely gets on my nerve every time.

Josh on 29th Jan 2018, 7:21pm | Permalink
That's the exact scene I was referring to. The 'powerful' scene with the red robe draping.

I have an analogy for the shouting thing. It's basically like adding extra kaaram to the curry because you're unsure about how to make it well. The kaaram masks and, for the more visceral, entertains.
Sarathi on 26th Jan 2018, 7:31pm | Permalink
Thokkem kaadu. Dora parama dabba cinema. Chetha. Thikka lechindi. English lo Vengence the dog ani cinema vachindi. Aa concept meeda dora theesaaru. Nayantara anushka iddaru goppa actressem kaadu. Stature and looks wise Anushka gives a royal look.
Portuguese Man-of-War on 26th Jan 2018, 8:45pm | Permalink
Nayantara is an award-winning actress.
TJ Reddy on 26th Jan 2018, 7:20pm | Permalink
Josh did you watch Aval? I felt it was super strong on the technical front even if the story was predictable. The presentation made it very likable.
Josh on 28th Jan 2018, 8:52am | Permalink
I didn't, man. Movie watching is a luxury of late. I was Bengaluru last week and I didn't even catch Humble Politician Nograj.

I did get the good presentation part from the reviews. I wish I could say the same about Bhagamathie. But it's a poor thriller more than a well-executed horror film.
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