Director Sujeeth creates an unreal world that seems fake and jarring in the major portion of run time
Clearly to be seen- the film is an impressive attempt on cashing on the popularity of Baahubali star. And why not? But is the film impressive? Clearly not. The trailers made the film seem to contain a conventional story line laden with an overpowering use of VFX. What you discover after watching Saaho though is that it is partially true. In actuality, it even stoops down to levels manifold. In a film that’s touted to be the greatest action thriller ever made on a whopping budget of INR 350 crores, there is hardly anything to look forward to. Effort is what you salute- for one, but that is never enough when just 15 mins into the film, you start asking the makers questions on why they made you watch this.
Somewhere in Waaji city in Somalia, Roy (Jackie Shroff) is a dreaded criminal with even more cunning members including Devraj (Chunky Panday) and Prince (Mahesh Manjrekar) and father Prithvi Raj (Tinnu Anand). Only after Roy dies in an accident, the hunger for his money begins. The vault where his money is has to be opened through a black box which is hidden in Mumbai. Not just the hunters of Roy are after the black box but a wicked thief named Shadow too is after that. The case has to be solved by Ashok Chakravarthy (Prabhas), the intelligent police officer and his aide Amritha (Shraddha Kapoor).
Sujeeth’s story could be better in all terms. The story right from the time it’s being set in title credits gets complex and confusing. Things are spoilt for you further down the line during the initial build up of the premise where parallel tracks run. You do have a respite when you find some sense later on though but it is the story and the idea that needed to be stronger to give the film the much needed freshness.
While you try to be actively invested and interested all throughout, the loose screenplay isn’t able to hold you tightly. Eventually, it is all reduced to the age-old cat and mouse chase formula. But this, only if you look at the film from a unidirectional perspective. There are also layers to the plot, but you get lost in them so much so that it gets not only tiresome but excruciatingly painful.
Wish you could credit the minds of the film making team for not letting your attention deflect. Alas! The songs come in as unnecessary breathers only adding to the length of the film- which stands at 174 mins. In a film like this, the basic story involving a robbery is only a trivial element. What it is surrounded by is a futile and extravagant ode to male heroic image and a pretentious attempt of symbolism, meaningless characterization, and building up of a parallel world seemingly for connotative purposes, which doesn’t bear fruits.
The film has been crafted for theaters as it has the visual grandeur. But it is all ruined. The illogical nature of the film is still tolerable but the scenes at many junctures are mere humbug and evoke intense laughter instead of genuine emotions.
To be able to absorb it in, you might have to surrender completely to the narrative and take it in whatever is offered. This is however too much to ask for from even film buffs. The film also falters because of this, if the mass appeal is concerned.
Prabhas in his charm is unbeatable. He strikes a chord with you the moment he appears for the first time. For the Hindi audience, it will also be an actual change (a positive one) to see him in an avatar very different from his Baahubali image. When it comes to Hindi dialogues, it’s a slight setback. The audience here will have to give it to him for playing out of his comfort zone for at least speaking and dubbing them all in his own voice. But what good does it do?
Shraddha Kapoor has a strong role and she justifies it with the acting skills well. But as an audience you might find it difficult to connect to her character given Kapoor’s fragile and vulnerable persona. No matter how hard you try, you aren’t able to accept her as the physically strong woman she is otherwise portrayed.
Neil Nitin Mukesh is average and could have done much better in the role he is in. Murali Sharma has layers to him and he is fantastic.
Jackie Shroff in a brief role is very good. Mahesh Manjrekar, another fine actor is utterly wasted in a character written shabbily. Chunky Panday gives hardly anything substantial despite having tried hard. Arun Vijay is good in his boundaries.
Prakash Belavadi is good but you have seen him in better avatars. Mandira Bedi is also given a character written with half heart.
The songs are hit among the youth. But during the length of the film, they seem to be a waste of time, totally. The score by Ghibran is poorly composed and doesn’t fit in the frame of the screenplay. It is majorly loud and out of tune.
Madhie’s camera plays wonderfully all across the canvas of the film painting it with splendor and richness. But the plot is the only weak link. Also, especially during the action sequences of the film, it is the skilled camerawork that does the job of giving you a high. Production design by Sabu Cyril is amazingly and stylistically done. The sets, mostly VFX, and also otherwise give the film a feel rarely seen before.
Editing by A. Sreekar Prasad is razor sharp and the film is cut immaculately. But since you are so fed up with the lousy content, you don’t pay heed to the non-linear editing at all. Also, for some, it may also get confusing. The overall narrative structure is still to be looked for.
Why should you watch the film? For the effort? Yes. For the content? No. For the performance? Not really. For the charm. May be. To pass time? May be. For the grandeur? Doesn’t really matter much to the audience. With so many inclinations towards the downward slope, take a call yourself.