In the movie Boomika, there is a sequence where the character Dharman, a local villager who takes care of this old mansion where the movie is set, talks about how he now understands his grandfather’s laughter, which he used to find weird. The editing pattern of that sequence combined with the background score is too good that if they just cut that scene and promote it as the teaser or trailer, people would have got really excited. But in the movie, this scene just becomes a spoon-feeding sequence. Rathindran R Prasad has some visual sense in his storytelling, but his script is heavily relying on verbal explanations, and hence the fun of us understanding the movie’s political undertone is just not there.
Samyukhtha is a psychologist married to Gowtham, and the couple has a boy. Gowtham has purchased an old residential school property and has plans to convert it into a villa project. For which Gowtham brings his childhood bestie Gayathri, who is an architect. Along with Gowtham’s sister Aditi, all of them decide to visit the property for a night’s stay. But surprisingly, some supernatural things started happening, and these characters are in trouble. The backstory of this supernatural force is what we see in Boomika.
The terrain is the usual one. We have a haunted house, there is a ghost, and the ghost has some unfinished business. So what makes this story any different? Well, it’s an environmental thriller. The ghost in focus is in some way a metaphorical representation of Mother Nature. The issue is that the movie, through its character, literally tells the viewer that the ghost represents Mother Nature. It would have been so lovely if Ratheendran could have played with the viewer’s minds and let them make those comparisons. But what to do? They just want to spoon-feed the audience with all the details and dialogues.
For a good chunk of its runtime, Rathindran treats Boomika as a very usual horror thriller. You have people in the group making stupid comments and doing stupid things (Aditi especially). The plan might have been to show these as the impulsive reaction of these characters, but the end product we get on screen has this feeling of annoyance or unintentional comedy. And finally, when we are given an idea of who the ghost is and what happened with her, there is also this usual pattern in the narrative. The movie would have had a great impact if they had stayed true to the genre by intensifying the trauma through which the characters went through rather than giving these lectures about nature preservation. The cinematography is exquisite. The cross-cutting in some sequences is impressive, but there are moments in the movie where it feels very unnecessary. The background score also has helped the movie in achieving that spooky feel.
In terms of on-screen performance, the only person who gets a character that feels challenging is Avantika Vandanapu as the title character. Her portrayal feels authentic, and you sort of feel for that character. Pavel Navageethan as Dharman was memorable. Everyone else in the film is given characters that have only basic acting requirements. Aishwarya Rajesh as Samyukhta, Vidhu as Gowtham, and Surya Ganapathy as Gayathri deliver this okay performance while Madhuri as Aditi was super annoying (one of those situations where you can’t say whether it was the acting or the writing of the character was the problem).
There is a video with the voice of Julia Roberts as Mother Nature available on YouTube. It basically says how inconsequential humans are for nature and how we need to be more cautious about our actions to survive on this planet. Try watching that video after watching Boomika. Rathindran aspired to attain through Boomika the same sense of fear we would experience at the end of that Julia Roberts video. But sadly, Boomika feels like an overtly explained bland thriller.
The script is heavily relying on verbal explanations, and hence the fun of us understanding the movie's political undertone is just not there.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended