'Radhe Shyam', which was in the making for years, has finally hit the cinemas today (March 11). UV Creations and T-Series Films have brought out the product, whose budget is claimed to be Rs 300 Cr. Let's find out what are its hits and misses in this review.
Vikramaditya (Prabhas) is an impeccable palmist who can predict the future of anyone with unreal accuracy. He seeks flirtatious, platonic relationships owing to the fact that he believes love and marriage are not written in his fate. But when he meets his soulmate Prerana (Pooja Hegde), he starts to believe that destiny might just be created by one's will. Prerana, a doctor, has her own issues with fate.
The second half is essentially about what moves the two individuals make in their journey to script their own destiny amid a calamity.
Prabhas has effectively (although not flawlessly) portrayed a cheerful, sometimes mildly angry palmist who shows a range of emotions. As the plot becomes meaty, he builds up his performance on a stronger note by showing pain, angst and love in key stretches. For an actor who played a warrior in the 'Baahubali' movies and a trendy don-like role in 'Saaho', he has shown versatility once again.
Pooja Hegde is a middling performer who delivers no memorable takeaways. Granted that she is not known for acting skills. But she could have made the emotional scenes click with right acting. Riddhi Kumar as an archer is fine in a cameo. Bhagyashree gets to be seen in an extended cameo as the male lead's mother. Jagapathi Babu is limited to two scenes, while Sachin Khedekar, Jayaram and Priyadarshi have more scenes in comparison. Murali Sharma is wasted, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Flora Jacob (as Indira Gandhi), and Sasha Chetri are a minus.
Coming to Krishnam Raju, he gets to be seen in three scenes as Vikramaditya's guru. He is just too boring.
Justin Prabhakaran's tunes become a character in their own right in the first half. 'Ee Raathale', sung by Yuvan Shankar Raja and Harini Ivaturi, works like a charm. Sid Sriram's 'Nagumomu Thaarale' is another winner. The Anirudh-crooned 'Sanchari' could have been avoided. All these songs pan out in the first half.
Thaman's background music lacks the appeal that a love story with its share of specificities required.
Cinematographer Manoj Paramahamsa made use of hi-tech innovation to make 'Radhe Shyam' a spectacle. Two scenes were shot using the unreal engine technology but we don't really feel magic. Raveendar, for the first time perhaps since 'Magadheera' and 'Eega', has done a challenging film in multiple ways. His set pieces are not flashy (given the backdrop of 1970s Europe) and they uplift the visual experience to a fair but not great extent.
"Finding your love is a blessing. But to win that love is a battle". This is what the film's trailer said. But 'Radhe Shyam' is no blessing. It's a battle to watch the film that barely lasts 140 minutes!
'The ultimate battle between love and destiny' could well be a misleading tagline. It's more about artificially elevating an ordinary love story using extraordinary language. Just because you say something is a classic or epic drama, it doesn't become one. Mani Ratnam's 'Gitanjali' is a classic but the film didn't use extraordinary language in an attempt at image-building. We, the audience, called it a classic.
Director Radha Krishna Kumar attempts to revive the genre of romantic drama as understood in an orthodox sense. But the scenes play out in a bookish way. It's as if he penned some of the scenes between Prabhas and Pooja Hegde for a routine commercial rom-com and smuggled them into the world of 1970s Europe.
The first half is a total washout barring the interval scene. The hospital backdrop, involving actors like Pooja, Sachin Khedekar, Priyadarshi and Mollywood hero Jayaram, are a huge letdown. The interval bang creates some interest. But post-interval, the graph plummets once again.
The climax portions are on expected lines in terms of visuals. The episode is about a sinking ship and what Vikramaditya does in the desperate situation makes for an unexciting watch. The visuals (courtesy of VFX and cinematography) are decent here.
'Radhe Shyam' feels like a lifeless love story whose scenes are lackluster for the most part. The dialogues lack soul. The conversations never touch the heart. The visuals are good but not worth the hype.
(Our review writer watched the movie at Regal Medlock Crossing & RPX, Atlanta. The hall was full of enthusiastic audiences who came in expecting a lot)