Director: Om Raut
Cast: Prabhas, Kriti Sanon, Saif Ali Khan, Devdatta Nage, Sunny Singh
Rating: 3 moons
“Joh humari behnon ko haath lagayenge unki hum Lanka lagayenge,” says a character in Om Raut’s cinematic retelling of Ramayan. If you’re expecting Adipurush to be a serious affair, then you got it wrong. Credit goes to Bajrang (Devdatta Nage) who breathes life into a CGI-heavy, superficial-looking mythological drama.
Om’s ambitious project skips the backstory and love story of Raghav (Prabhas) and Janki (Kriti Sanon) and rushes straight into Ravan’s (Saif Ali Khan) Lanka after he kidnaps the righteous wife of the Prince of Ayodhya. The director considers his audience smart enough to know the journey of Ram and chapters of the Ramayan. Om avoids getting into what’s written in the Hindu epic. What he does is nosedive into the cinematic aspect, creating an image of the world in which the events followed.
Instead of serving what Ramanand Sagar did over three decades ago, Om makes Ramayan more palatable for the younger generation for whom visual appeal is the best needle to inject a tale into their minds. Giving it an international touch, the flying creatures shown in Adipurush make you believe that it is India’s answer to shows like Game of Thrones. The resemblance is uncanny but the execution is problematic.
Adipurush gets the sentiments right. It allows the audience to scream Jai Shri Ram at regular intervals. Without much ado, the story gets straight to the point and avoids the typical Bollywood-style romance between the lead pair. The chemistry they share is not too mushy and fits the space of the film well.
Here, white is white, black is black. Raghav, a saintly person, has a resting expression on his face throughout whereas Ravan is always angry and frustrated. There’s no human touch given to either. One is God, the other is Demon. Beyond that brief, there’s nothing in Adipurush that makes you connect with their conflict.
As indicated in the trailer, Adipurush relies extensively on CGI characters and ambience. It’s impossible to ignore the fact that Raghav’s face and expressions look VFX made. Raghav’s and Ravan’s biceps are disproportionately created. The antagonist with blue eyes has menace but due to poorly developed ‘Das Sar’ (10 heads), the impact is dampened.
Having said so, Adipurush has its moments visually too. There are sequences that have the potential to leave you spellbound. The songs are beautifully placed and blend naturally with the narrative. Prabhas and Kriti’s song Tu Hai Sheetal Dhaara is melodious and cinematically stunning.
Prabhas took a great responsibility of playing the role of Raghav in Adipurush. While the angelic calmness on his face is admirable his expressionless performance is not. There are a handful of expressions that he gives in a runtime of 3 hours. When Janki, his wife, gets kidnapped, Raghav shows no sign of agony, anger, grief and pain. It seems as if he is reading his dialogues with the help of a teleprompter. That’s also the case with Sunny Singh who is Shesh (Lakshman). There’s no excitement at all in pronouncing those shuddh Hindi dialogues. After a point, he gets lost in the background.
The star performances come from Kriti Sanon, Saif Ali Khan and Devdatta Nage. The actress looks divine and the grace she adds to the character makes it special and strong. Despite being stereotyped, Saif commands attention for his performance. Devdatta is phenomenal with his comic timing.
The dialogues deserve a special mention for being unintentionally hilarious. Especially when Bajrang’s tail is set on fire by Indrajit and he tells him, “Tera Baap Bhi Jalega” after in a funny exchange.
Adipurush is an earnest effort that could have been executed in a better manner.