Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Review: Gatham (Amazon Prime)

Gatham promises smart storytelling but delivers little original content, writes VINAYAK CHAKRAVORTY.

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Telegu film Gatham starts off looking like a basic psycho thriller. A young couple is stranded in the middle of snowed-out nowhere when their car breaks down on a highway. A stranger stops, says he lives nearby and offers them shelter for the night. Once at his place, the couple realises all is not quite normal about the stranger or his cabin in the woods. Unfortunately, writer-director Kiran’s narrative build-up seems cliched in its effort to create the creepy atmospherics, to the point of being cheesy.

- Advertisement -


  • Starring: Bhargava Poludasu, Rakesh Galebhe, Poojitha Kuraparthi
  • Directed by: Kiran
  • Rating: * * * (three stars)

That is also where the spin about the storytelling lies. The cheesy approach is deliberate, you gradually realise, to maximise the impact of what’s in store post interval.

Gatham tells a deceptive story. It is difficult to discuss storytelling merits or drawbacks without giving away spoilers, though we could stick to what the narrative shows in the build-up stage.

READ MORE: Review: V (Amazon Prime)

The stranded young couple is not on a happy jaunt down the highway. The guy Rishi (Rakesh Galebhe) has lost his memory in an accident, and his girlfriend (Poojitha Kuraparthi) is driving the couple to meet his father. Rishi is prone to twisted, at times gory, nightmares. The stranger (Bhargava Poludasu) doesn’t live alone, it turns out, but with a younger man he introduces as his son. The son, it is evident right away, is a pervert.

These are plot points dropped gradually in the early hour, to give hints about what is actually happening. Essentially, the story reveals just that many plot points early on, as is needed to tease the audience into guessing whether Rishi and his girlfriend are indeed in peril.

In form and appearance, Gatham tries to be like a polished Hollywood thriller, though it ends up looking like a Hollywood thriller of the nineties. The idea must have seemed brilliant conceptually, but writer-director Kiran and team could have done a better job translating it into the language of cinema. For, once you get a hang of the smart storytelling style, you start realising there is actually very little original content in this script.

film poster gatham
Source: IMDb

Yet, that too wouldn’t matter if there were no loopholes in the narrative. Gatham is based on a short film the director made a while back, and in trying to stretch the concept to a full-length feature format, flaws get introduced.

For instance, the location is a scenic backwater of the United States and yet random Indian characters pop up everywhere. More bizarre, all of them are fluent in Telugu. The foreigners in the story — especially the women — play out certain stereotypes that Indian cinema cannot seem to shake off even after all these decades. One fails to understand the need to base the storyline of an Indian film in the US for no reason, when it could as easily have been set up against an Indian backdrop (one felt the same way watching Nishabdham a few weeks ago).

But there is an urge to create and entertain with something unconventional, which redeems Gatham. The film is backed by some IT professionals in the United States and involves mostly greenhorn cast and crew, and you spot the sort of sincerity only newcomers reveal. The cast overall is far from convincing, but then that has hardly ever been a drawback for a film that mixes well its kills and chills.

Vinayak Chakravorty, IANS

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s life

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Ep 6: The Indian LGBTQ+ community in 2020

  It’s been two years since the world’s largest democracy repealed the draconian Section 377 which used to allow discrimination against homosexual people. Only this...

Latest News

wagah border ceremony

WATCH: Attari-Wagah Border Ceremony on India’s 72nd Republic Day

  It's always a sight to behold - watching the daily military practice between Indian and Pakistani forces at the Attari-Wagah border, made special on...
President Joe Biden

Huge relief for spouses of H1B workers in the US

  "Withdrawn". A single word on a thick bureaucratic file on the seventh day of the Biden administration delivered a huge win for spouses of...
kamala's way biography by dan moraine

Book Review: ‘Kamala’s Way’ by Dan Morain

  Just how did the daughter of two immigrants in segregated California became one of this countrys most effective power players? Through the human touch,...
farmers protest, delhi, red fort, flags

Farmers rage in Delhi on Republic Day

  On the morning of Republic Day, farmers were warmly welcomed in Delhi. As pictured below, tractors and cars carrying groups of protesters were showered...
Jeet Ki Zid movie poster

Review: Jeet Ki Zid (Zee5)

  It's easy to like Jeet Ki Zid. The show talks of patriotism and valour, it celebrates will power to triumph against all odds. Importantly,...