Telugu film Gatham attempts to create a Hollywood-style thriller, but leaves no lasting impact
“Every human being has a bit of a psychopath in him. But only a few bring it out and you’re safe as long as you maintain distance from them…Unless they knock on your door.” These lines appear on screen at the onset of debutant Kiran Reddy’s Telugu film Gatham.
Thus, the audiences are prepared for a psychological thriller that’s about to unfold. And it does. A young man named Rishi (Rakesh Galebhe) loses his memory after an accident, and sets out to meet his father – accompanied by his girlfriend Adithi (Poojitha Kuraparthi). But while on the road, their car breaks down and they come across a stranger named Arjun (Bhargava Poludasu) who offers them refuge for the night. But soon it’s revealed that the host has insidious intentions, and puts the couple under house arrest at his remote cabin amidst the woods.
Up until here, the story resembles that of a usual Hollywood thriller – couples stranded in an isolated place, facing the ever popular villain: the psycho stranger! But as the story progresses we see that it is not what it seems, and the victim may not always be the victim. To keep the review spoiler-free we’ll not divulge the story further.
Set in the US, the film proceeds at a breakneck pace — after the first 30 minutes. And that is where it goes all haywire. Too many plot twists come flooding by, most of which are surrealistic. It seems like the world the filmmaker creates is in a different realm altogether – where almost everything seems possible. It stops making sense after a certain point.
Now, coming to the ensemble – the protagonists try to make their characters believable but it lacks depth. Galebhe acts well, probably the best in the cast. Poludasu has his moments, but at times he looks confused – and not sure whether that was in reel or real life! Kuraparthi could have been a lot better as it seems like she’s unfazed by all the horrifying incidents taking place around her.
Manojh Reddy’s cinematography is Gatham’s strong point. Though the indie film is a work by newcomers, the visual aesthetic looks like that by a team of pro. The makers haven’t shied away from using trolley shots, and why not – the scenic beauty demands so! Snow-capped hills, dense forests, narrow stretch of roads – all these have been captured well by Reddy. Also, there is one particular car chase sequence which is quite well-shot and executed.
The film seems to draw a lot of its inspiration from Hollywood. The setting definitely has several resemblances with American thrillers. But that’s more visually, whereas as far as the story goes – inspiration seems to come from Bollywood – more like an Abbas-Mustan film!
The background score of the film is average. The thrill factor in Gatham could have been heightened had there been a strong background score – adding up to its suspense and breakneck speed.
The dialogues in the film are dull, at times laughable. The characters often switch to English (no accent, thankfully) but the lines are not strong, and thus fail to express the inner turmoil, anguish and conflict that each of them is going through.
In the first half, the film evokes discomfort and a sense of entrapment – as the characters seem to be under house arrest. But as the story progresses, our discomfort disappears. Rather, we are left feeling nothing – the film speeds up without letting us process the incidents. Somewhere, this also stunts the growth of emotional quotient in the film.
Overall, Gatham is forgettable and leaves no impact. But it’s a good attempt and can be watched at leisure.
- Gatham is streaming on Amazon Prime Video
(Cover Image: Credit – Amazon Prime Video)
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