Early on in Aatma, a cop investigating the murder of a young boy, says: I have a bad feeling about this. He took the words right out of my mouth.
Aatma is an exercise in extreme parenting. An abusive husband, Abhay played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, gets a divorce, dies but comes back as a ghost so he can take his little daughter with him. The mother, Maya played by Bipasha Basu, fights back with the help of psychologists, pundits, an amulet and a friend, who offers priceless advice. She tells Maya to keep something sharp under her pillow so that her recurring nightmares will stop.
Aatma is stilted, predictable and like most Bollywood horror films, unintentionally funny. You know that anyone who crosses Abhay will die so the only suspense is how it will happen. Director Suparn Verma reworks the usual horror movie tricks – so a character’s reflection in the mirror behaves differently from her, bathrooms are especially ominous and there’s even an old toothless crone who seems to have dropped in from a Vikram Bhatt film. And at the center stands a heaving and crying Bipasha Basu, mostly wearing nightwear that seems a little a too sexy for a woman getting over a bad marriage and battling a murderous ghost.
It’s impossible to be scared by any of this. I’m going with two stars.