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Hindi movie Adipurush review
In India’s cultural and social milieu now, it is tough to review a film like Adipurush which, as everyone knows, is a straight retelling of Ramayana. The reasons are not hard to see. Adipurush is based on Valmiki Ramayana and takes no liberty with either the characterisation or the narrative. The Hindu epic is what most kids are souped up on, and multiple variations, both in book and celluloid forms, are also available.
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In the event, why Adipurush got made makes for an interesting question. One of the reasons could be an urge or fascination to tell the timeless story of the Hindu God to the modern generation in idioms and forms that they are most comfortable with — technology. That this might have been director Om Raut’s plan can be gauged by the fact that Adipurush spends a lot of time on the battle — between Lord Ram and the arch-villain Ravan — mounted as if it were a fight sequence in a superhero franchise.
It is a perfectly legitimate artistic exploration to try and present the saga as an action extravaganza, which works among the young set. But the problem for Adipurush is the fact that the VFX-based action set pieces don’t really come together. The film’s computer graphics are tacky for a film that is said to be among the costliest in terms of budget. They don’t have that X factor you would want in such ambitious ventures. Ironically, the absence of technical finesse robs the film of its heart and emotion. Adipurush is mostly focused on the Yudh Kanda, and when the sci-fantasy of the battle scenes flounder, the film loses its core.
For the record, the film starts off with Ram’s (Prabhas) banishment to the jungle from Ayodhya for 14 years. He sets off to the woods with his wife Janaki (Kriti Sanon) and Lakshman (Sunny Singh). The story quickly arrives towards the final year of his sojourn in the forests. It is when the king from Lanka Ravana (Saif Ali Khan) abducts Janaki alias Seetha. The rest is about how Ram, Hanuman (Devdatte Naga), and the vanara sena annihilate Ravana and bring back Janaki.
Prabhas is earnest as Ram/Raghav. The Hindi voice of Sharad Kelkar for him is appropriate. But the character of Ram needs more than earnestness. Saif Ali Khan as the evil king Ravana is much more spirited. Kriti Sanon, as Janaki, looks the part with adequate beauty. Sunny Singh, as Shesh (Lakshman), has nothing much to do on screen. Devdatta Nage as Hanuman is energetic.
The music is by Sanchit and Ankit Balhara, while the songs are by Ajay-Atul. The latter comes out better.
On the whole, the Ramayana adaptation has no new perspective to offer. This is not a big problem in a film tailored to the commercial market. But the shoddy technical effects are the biggest bummer. An epic as an e-pic must be on point with its computer imagery, right?
An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.