Bhaagamathie is a perfect example of a film that starts in one vein and ends in another. Borrowing elements from films like Manichitrathazhu (1993) and The Usual Suspects (1995), it narrates the story of a murder convict and former IAS officer Chanchala (Anushka Shetty) who is locked inside a haunted mansion by the CBI so that they can question her about a minister (Jayaram) who they think is corrupt. With shades of the horror genre evident in the cinematography (jump scares) and the background music, the film situates itself on a plot that is crooked at best. Why would CBI choose such a location even when they don't want publicity? The contrived nature of the plot plays against the purpose of the film as the discerning viewer is already fed up with convenient storytelling. However, if you ignore this nature, Bhaagamathie can turn into a passable affair as pretty-faced Shetty leads the show with her subtle performance, supported heavily by the electrifying Jayaram. The first half manages to create a setup that you will expect more from in the second half, but unfortunately, it dilly dallies around for long before expediting the wrapping process. At the end, there are just one too many twists and turns for one to follow, giving you a feeling that Bhaagamathie is more of a cheap thriller than a horror film. If you have nothing better do and love either of the actors I mentioned, then this is a watchable film. Otherwise, skipping wouldn't hurt. TN.
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