The very title of the film Aata suggests a game, and the film does unravel a game of sorts in the second half, but loses steam as it reaches its logical conclusion. M S Raju tries to bounce back after a fairly disastrous Pournami, but unfortunately fails to keep the audience captivated with Aata.
It's the story of a boy, Sri Krishna (Siddharth), who has grown up on movies; his father (Sarath Babu) operates the projector in a small theatre.
Sri Krishna eats, sleeps and lives movies, rattling off dialogues from films and imitating action sequences when he ought to be going to school. He's so obsessed that he wants to do the good things the heroes do on screen in real life. He also wants to romance a girl if he finds one, which his father does not want him to do.
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He gets his opportunity when he bumps into Satya (Ileana D'Cruz) in another town. Satya is being chased by goondas. Sri Krishna rescues her and takes her on a journey across the river at her behest. The inevitable happens -- he falls in love and she tells him she has a boyfriend. Slowly, though, her feelings change. Then, a flashback reveals it all.
An effort is made to build up the screenplay (by Raju) of this wafer-thin story, which deals mainly with rivalry. The narrative takes some time to move forward in the first half. The second half has all the action, but somehow does not grab the attention of the viewer. Too many unnecessary songs distract the narrative. There is an attempt to keep suspense alive, but this too falls flat. The film is sprinkled with humour to facilitate the presence of comedians like Brahmanandam and Sunil.
Also, the climax seems in sync with real life, unlike the rest of the film. Ironically, this seems a forced rather than natural end, even though the end treads a slightly different path.
Siddharth and Ileana are true to their characters and their earnest and good performances are perhaps the saving grace of the film. Siddharth is particularly good as the naïve yet smart Sri Krishna. He has done a good job of dubbing his own lines.
Munna looks somewhat menacing as the villain. Sarath Babu does not have much of a role.
The comedians do what is expected of them.
Devisri's music is just about okay; only the title song is hummable. Producer M S Raju seems to have lost his golden touch; director V N Aditya seems to have taken his cue from Raju and created a routine film.
The expectations were high for Aata since it came from a production house known for hugely successful films like Okkadu, Varsham and Nuvastanante Nenuoddantana. However, Aata is quite a dampener.