A production of Karthik Subbaraj’s Stone Bench Films, a large part of Boomika unfolds inside a dark house. When the film opens, a group of people travel towards an abandoned estate situated amidst a vast scrap of land – presumably armed with a contract to build a housing community. They arrive to strange occurrences within the estate – phones function without batteries, the deceased send text messages even as a creepy caretaker appears and disappears at will. Soon, the group is driven paranoid even as they find themselves in the thick of supernatural occurrences – seemingly without cause.

Having premiered on Star Vijay this afternoon, Boomika, directed by Rathindran R Prasad is a grandmotherly tale meant to scare you into behaving well. Prasad, whose Inmai – part of the anthology series Navarasa – chose horror to say that actions have repercussions, employs the same tool and theme in Boomika. This time, out of laudable concern for the environment.

Aishwarya Rajesh is Samyuktha, a psychologist who worries over her speech-impaired child even as she accompanies her architect husband and a couple of others to draw up a plan to rebuild the estate. They uncover the estate’s past; it’s not pretty. They receive strange texts; the sender is dead. They try to run; their car coughs, sputters and collapses. There are no mobile towers to enable connectivity (and their escape). Land phones are dead. Electricity checks out as well. There’s a kid in the midst, and a near-hysterical adult. And so, they choose the only sane alternative available to them: texting back the entity that messaged them. What does it want, really? …Environmental conservation, it turns out.

A young girl creates beautiful art which just cannot be contained. The earth is her medium, and her father her only conservator. The girl, the estate and the earth feed off one another – she’s characterized to be on the autism spectrum, largely shirks company, and expresses herself through art. The director makes her representational of the earth – the eponymous Boomika – working hard to rid the planet of human infestation.

It’s an interesting premise – one that could have flourished with better ideation and production values. The director throws the Permian–Triassic (PT) extinction and Gaia theory at us to support his conjecture of the earth trying to reclaim its space, but follows it up with the spirit of an adolescent girl on a murderous streak, bumping off anyone who tries to clear the land of trees.

Having said that, it’s a clever enough disguise for a lesson, and Prasad also turns it around to ask: who’s doing the haunting now? That’s a thought to hold. As for the spirit on a mission to restore ecological balance, it is a solid first for Tamil screens.

*****

The Boomika review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.