Saaho Review

Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor as ace cops Ashok Chakravarthi and Amritha in “Saaho.” (Shraddha Kapoor/Twitter photo)

U,V, Creations and T-Series Films present “Saaho”

Produced by: V. Vamshi Krishna Reddy & Pramod Uppalapati

Directed by: Sujeeth

Written by: Sujeeth, Abbas Dalal & Hussain Dalal

Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Tanishk Bagchi, Mohamaad Ghibran, Guru Randhawa & Badshah

Starring: Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Arun Vijay, Chunky Pandey, Tinnu Anand, Lal, Vennela Kishore, Evelyn Sharma, Mandira Bedi, Mahesh Manjrekar, Prakash Belawadi, Tanikella Bharani, Supreeth Reddy, Devan, Sharath Lohitsawa, Duvvasi Mohan, Ravi Varma & others

MUMBAI— You win some. You lose some. Prabhas, poor soul, has joined the ranks of names as illustrious as (in Mumbai) Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan (among others) who can be conned into doing sure-shot disastrous behemoths they should have steered clear off by miles.

A monstrous action (and violence too) extravaganza sans soul and substance, it makes a case for some plastic emotions. A girl, now ace cop Amritha (Shraddha Kapoor) is an orphan, having lost her parents in a mishap indirectly caused by her. A street boy is adopted by a huge don named Roy (Jackie Shroff) and must now avenge his dad’s murder. Roy was no saint: he is a ruthless criminal and so, the whole exercise of an excess of destruction (people, cars, edifices, restaurants and in fact entire skyscrapers) to avenge the killers of this man (who were also criminals and at best double-crossers) is emotionally vacuous.

We have a cop team headed by Shinde (Prakash Belawadi) who appoints an ace cop with a past named Ashok Chakravarthi (Prabhas), who chooses his team to crack the case. Oh, we forgot, there is a little “black box” hidden in a Mumbai locker that has the keys to thousands of crores of hidden money. Ashok chats up a notorious crook (Neil Nitin Mukesh) who seems to be one step ahead. Later, a perplexed Shinde realizes that the crook and Ashok are not what they seem.

Love has obviously blossomed between Amritha and Ashok and, post-interval, the two seem to be enjoying a break somewhere in a mystical land replete “with food and babes” as Ashok’s trusted lieutenant David (Murli Sharma in what must be the longest role of his career) puts it, but Amritha is actually still at work, trying to get Ashok with the black box. Duty first, cutie later.

There are wheels within wheels everywhere, and soon Roy’s loyalists, including his now-revealed son Vishwank (Arun Vijay) become the “good guys.” But until the very end, it is an orgy of senseless destructions, swords slashed, bullets fired in the head, cars and trucks somersaulting or on fire, and skulls being smashed.

The sad part in this VFX-heavy mess is the waste of some truly talented actors led by Prabhas. Shraddha Kapoor, in her yen for variety, accepts a film hollower than even “Race 3,” which had some kind of similar premise, and “Players.” Belawadi is good but severely handicapped, so is Murli. Jackie is wasted in a “been-there-done-that” role and Chunky Pandey is intense but a tad overdone. Neil Nitin Mukesh puts in a very impressive turn as the mysterious man in the first half who is actually on the side of the law and is another talent supremely wasted in this abomination.

We also cringe for the technical team (a barrage of stunt coordinators, the VFX, production design and camerawork teams) for whom this is a colossal waste of effort and serious hard work. The background music (Ghibran and Mohammed Ghibran) makes you cringe with its overdose and decibel quotient, but that’s still nothing compared to the horrendous songs we get to hear from a bevy of (off-) tunesmiths. The writing and execution reeks of (obviously better-structured) Hollywood action-athons, and we are told that the whole base of the story is some far-off land named Waaji, where we seem to find mostly Indians calling the shots.

Here are the places where the film will fall apart:

This distorted values tale about a son avenging his criminal father will NOT evoke sympathy and should not have been made, at least in a Hindi version. The 2.51 hours narration only makes it more tedious and a criminal (pun intended) waste of time. Three, the employment of a good cast will not help it gain eyeballs but only increase its budget and thus its flop quotient. Four, we do not even have the Hindi crowd-pullers that last year’s action calamities “Race 3” and “Thugs of Hindostan” had to at least MAKE a decent amount in the movie-halls, even if return on investment never came. As we all know, action without emotions is a zero.

Rating: ** (One for all the on-screen and off-screen talent wasted here!)

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