'Gatham', directed by indie filmmaker Kiran Reddy based in the US, is premiering on Amazon Prime Video. Made over two years, the film is a psychological thriller. The sub-genre is quite popular in Hollywood. The writer-director has made a true-blue genre film. Is the film worth a watch? Find out!
The film is set in Sierra Nevada, among other locations, in America. As the film opens, we are introduced to a clueless younger named Rishi (Rakesh Galebhe), whose memory of the past has been erased by a head injury. He heads to a distant place with his girlfriend Adithi (Poojitha Kurapathi) to meet his father to know more about his past.
On their way, when their car breaks down, they seek the help of a stranger named Arjun (Bhargava Poludasu), whose son Harsha (Harsha Prathap) is a complete jerk. The Rishi-Adithi duo spends the night at Arjun-Harsha's place fearing for their lives. By the next day, Rishi comes to know that there is more to it than meets the eye. What is the reality? Can he remember his past? Who is the villain? Who is the victim? Answers to these questions are found in the nearly an hour-long second half.
As performances go, it is Bhargava Poludasu who is better compared to Rakesh Galebhe. Harsha Prathap is understated. Poojitha Kurapathi is not only good-looking but also shows potential to carry off roles in mainstream commercial entertainers. Lakshmi Bharadwaj is seen in a short role. Thirumudi Thulasiraman is superb, while Raghu Gopal makes the cut.
Made on a shoestring budget, the film uses its limited resources optimally. Manojh Reddy's cinematography leaves no stone unturned to give the best. Sricharan Pakala marshalls his immense talent and proves that he is the go-to guy for thrillers. 'Kshanam', 'Goodachari' and 'Evaru' are part of his filmography and he adds 'Gatham' to his impressive list.
The film rises above its limitations to tell a fairly engaging second half. The trauma of a father is brought out in a touching way. This adds dramatic heft to the proceedings.
The psychological drama aspect is interesting to sustain the audience's interest till the climax.
At 101 minutes, the film rightly avoids even montage songs.
The element of crimes against women has been shown without resorting to usual cliches.
The scenes involving the villain and his father carry a fear of dread.
Is there a reason why Rishi doesn't try his best, like any adult would and should, to get out of Arjun's dangerous place? If yes, it was not made clear. If no, it's laughable.
It's hardly unconvincing that a key character's mind starts working with astonishing clarity and quickness when he has to investigate something. Revealing more would give away a spoiler.
There was enough scope for the villain's character to be shown as making an effort to save his skin. Somehow, his character becomes docile.
For all its demerits, 'Gatham' is an important indie film that has the potential to be a career-altering movie for director Kiran Reddy and a few others associated with the movie. This year has seen unremarkable thrillers like 'Nishabdham', 'Penguin' and 'V'. 'Gatham' is a whiff of fresh air both relatively and otherwise.