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Ram Setu

Farhad Dalal
By-
Farhad Dalal
Rating
2.5 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

It is still a Wednesday but for a change the theatrical releases have started pouring in from yesterday. And with that I finished watching the new Hindi film Ram Setu in a theatre near me. Now I wonder if this was a bit of a miscalculation from the makers of both Ram Setu and Thank God to release their films on a Tuesday instead of cashing in on the long weekend. Most people do not have holidays from today and so the decision to me was baffling. Anyhow, if the films are good then these things won’t matter!

It was a couple of months back wherein we witnessed a sleeper hit out of nowhere – Karthikeya 2 that dabbled with the mythology genre which was not really explored recently in the mainstream. I am a fan of the genre given my love for culture and I really enjoy getting enlightened through such films. I was expecting nothing short from Ram Setu despite this being a lukewarm year of Akshay Kumar. Now that I have finished watching Ram Setu, here are my two cents on the same.

Story & Screenplay

Ram Setu follows the story of an archaeologist who is assigned the task of proving that Ram Setu is a natural phenomenon with no connection to Lord Ram. The story is interesting and was an absolute winner on paper. But it is the screenplay that is a bit of a letdown here. Standing at 140 odd minutes, the length of the screenplay is perfect for a drama like this but it honestly lacks conviction.

I mean no disrespect to anyone, and I myself really enjoy reading about culture and mythology which honestly fascinates me. But I have to call out the writing here which is convenient and something that lacks conviction. I wanted to like the drama, I really did because the concept was excellent and it was a genre that Bollywood hadn’t been dabbling with at all recently. But the writing here was really patchy, almost lazy in the middle.

If you remember the sleeper hit Karthikeya 2 and why that worked as a film was the ambiguity of the subject that added an element of mystery. The protagonist there was an atheist only to be enlightened with the findings. This resulted in many goosebumps worthy moments. But here, the transition of the character of Akshay Kumar from an atheist to being enlightened takes place in such a half hearted manner(that too late in the first half itself) that you aren’t at all convinced about his transformation.

While you are introduced to the protagonist in Afghanistan, in a scene which was fairly well constructed, you needed to spend a little more time in establishing the fact that he is true to his principles. This would have gone a long way in reaping rewards. The drama is consistently watchable as it finds its groove with the introduction of the conflict. But it is the writing that is really patchy and convenient to say the least.

To give you a couple of instances, Akshay and his team are running for their lives only to be intercepted and saved by a group of rebels in Sri Lanka. Now how did the rebels know about their location? We do not know. It is moments like these that should have been ironed out which would have made for a compelling viewing. Another instance being the transformation of the antagonist played by Pravesh Rana. At that point he had killed off two from the group and yet in a change of heart helps Akshay Kumar after the latter saves his life. Every action onscreen has to be justified and this was not. Also, without any official documents, the character of Akshay Kumar lands up in court directly from Sri Lanka which made me question the logic again. I am all for creative liberty but provided it is done well and not rushed.

The drama does get a little listless in the middle wherein there were ample opportunities of tactically inserting goosebumps in the screenplay. The pre climactic fight sequence is unintentionally funny whereas the tone of the drama should have been serious. But the drama is saved by the 20 minute courtroom scene wherein the conviction that was lacking in the writing does kick in. There are some rousing moments even though some may argue that it is straight from a Whatsapp forward. But it definitely creates a stir leading up to the final act which does have an interesting twist before the audience can shout “Jai Shree Ram”. Totally worth it! But overall, I wish the same kind of conviction and intensity was maintained throughout the film instead of a rather rushed screenplay. And a small portion of the teachings of Lord Ram could have been carefully integrated in the drama, something that Karthikeya 2 had done very effectively.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues range from corny to goosebunps worthy in the final act and that is how your emotions roll too. The music is pulsating and definitely creates an impact. The BGM starts off on a slow note but really picks up in the second hour amidst some exhilarating chases that does command your attention. The cinematography and VFX are a bit of a hit and a miss. They score well when the drama is shot in real locations but they really miss the mark when the film completely relies on the latter. The entire water sequence seemed fake and artificial that took away all the impact from the scene that was supposed to give you goosebumps. Director Abhishek Sharma doesn’t go all out with the material at hand. A part of me thought that he was holding himself back which in turn did result in the lack of conviction. Had he gone all out as compared to a half baked approach then the impact of the film would have been better.

Performances

The performances are pretty good too. Girish Sharma as the news reporter is pretty good here and a far cry from his similar role in Dhokha Round D Corner. He was much more restrained here. Pravesh Rana as Bali has his moments to shine as does Nassar. Nushrratt Bharuccha as Gayatri is decent and does a fair job. Jacqualine Fernandez as Sandra is alright but really struggles in emotional scenes, something that I had a problem with as well. The characters seemed to move on very quickly from personal tragedies as well without even an iota of remorse or regret. Satyadev as AP is brilliant here in a character that will be immensely loved and lapped up. He is the pick of the actors for me too who definitely ends up giving you goosebumps. Akshay Kumar as Aryan does a good job too and really impresses in the final 20 minutes. He wasn’t over the top and was well within his character.

Conclusion

Ram Setu has a good concept with good performances but it lacks conviction that ultimately makes for an above average watch. Available in a theatre near you.

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