Deccan Chronicle

This Rs 500 crore effort is in complete disarray

Deccan Chronicle.| L. Ravichander

Published on: June 17, 2023 | Updated on: June 17, 2023
Strangely the conflict between Janaki (Kriti Sanon) and Seshu-Lakshman (Sunny Singh) is done away with. The Shabri episode is contrived.    Twitter

Strangely the conflict between Janaki (Kriti Sanon) and Seshu-Lakshman (Sunny Singh) is done away with. The Shabri episode is contrived. Twitter

When Om Raut decided to take the tale of Rama to the modern audience, he surely was taking a huge risk. One seat per theatre reservation was not necessary. There are enough empty ones at the theatre. On sitting through the three hours (read on going through the endurance test) the empty seats are well earned. The task undertaken is not easy and not easy for a variety of reasons including some exclusively from the point of view of good cinema. The product is bound to be viewed with high expectations. When expectations are intrinsically high the task in challenging. Add high decibel promos and the expectation quotient only skyrockets. Such task with its assumed risk factor must thus stand up critical if not high scrutiny.

Director Om Raut simply does not measure up to the task on hand. It is not just woefully inadequate but is bordering on being obnoxious. Minutes into the dreary exercise one haunting question is: Is this some kind of a joke? What is the purpose of refurbishing the epic? Is the purpose to keep the core and place it in the context of developed technology? Is it to revisit the poignance central to the Ramayana? Is it at least an attempt to take a look at the epic from a specified angle? Unfortunately, the script falls silent on most of these issues. Yes, it marks a pathetic revisit to the epic, in and around the battle. Does it up its technological skills? Embarrassingly No: In fact, it is a non-starter. The VFX if anything is amateur and gives the viewer a distinct feeling that the filmmaker was overawed by what technology can do rather than what it really does to the epic. Another disparity is the sudden and varying sizes of the characters when viewed in 3D.

The soul of Ramayana is its simplicity – a morality narrated in a linear pattern constantly stressing on virtue and simplicity. Those characteristics with which one associates the epic are conspicuously contrasted by exaggerations and glossing over the moral values imbedded in the masterpiece. The script betrays a visible unpreparedness and sometimes akin to a kid taking ab examination without reading up his syllabus. A comic version would appear to be the source – not any serious form of the text.

The entire three hour "Yuddha Kanda" with a peep into the "Kishkinda Kanda" make for the film. Yes, it starts with Mareecha laying the trap. Strangely the conflict between Janaki (Kriti Sanon) and Seshu-Lakshman (Sunny Singh) is done away with. The Shabri episode is contrived. Even the Vaali-Raghava (Prabhas) is completely robbed of the well-known details. The filmmaker has a furious bat for Ravana’s vehicle – the creature with dentures. A half-hearted attempt at establishing Lankesh (Saif Ali Khan) as a great devotee of Lord Shiva is touched in passing.

A good part of the film is about a war: blurred and chaotic. It appears that this world has Demons, Monkeys (of varying sizes) and Robots – not to mention UFOs. It peters into a poor imitation of the Spider Man, Batman, Captain Americs or the kind. This is such a huge project of wasted opportunities. The caricature of Bajrang (Devdutta Nage) fails to capture the ethos of bhakti and courage. Yes, the filmmaker is entitled to deal with the narrative on his own terms and keep the devotion factor out. However, public action and the marketing suggest otherwise.

Adipurush is not great tribute to the writer or to the persona. It is woefully lost in mediocrity sneaking in to make a quick buck with technology. In an attempt to ape the West, it fails in standard and quality. It further aggravates the challenge by robbing the story of its emotive and moral fabric. The war scenes display hordes of Simiiformes, characters of Brobdingnagian proportions and seeming robots. Missiles with electric qualities are with Lankesh. His son Indrajeet (Vatsal Seth) has his deceptive skill sets and participates in, yet another poorly executed underwater fight.

There is neither novelty nor quality when Raghava overcomes the chiropteric attack. Decades ago, Hitchcock worked on it with signature mastery working in Daphne Du Maurier’s: Birds.

To the pan Indian audience, Adipurush, may offer an iota of novelty. To the South Indians fed on mythological films starring legendary N T Rama Rao, this is a comic strip – and a poor one at that.

Saif tries hard. Blue lenses and cropping heads are poor props. Kriti Sanon as Janaki? Well, it requires more exclamation than evaluation. Steady performances from Sunny Singh and Vatsal Seth are positive products of the desperate search to find something worth taking home.

Ramayan with a faulty Raghava and a tech failing adventure are biggest short comings. Prabhas simply does not have the voice to deliver dialogues that are heavy. His battle-cry is more a squeak. Templates of Raghav and Janaki heading in slow motion leading to DDLJ embrace is some kind of a joke on the naïve audience. His dialogue delivery is flat and his emotions in perfect sync.

This 500crore effort is in complete disarray. Decades ago, when O P Ralhan made Talash and marketed it as the first 1 crore budget film, it failed at the box- office. Is Johar speaking about it said: A fool and his money parts too soon.

About The Author

The writer is a senior counsel of the Telangana high court

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