'Adipurush', produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Om Raut, Prasad Sutar, and Rajesh Nair, was released in theatres today.
Raghava (Prabhas), the Prince of Ayodhya, has a doting wife in Janaki (Kriti Sanon). When an over-ambitious demon king named Ravana (Saif Ali Khan) abducts his wife, Raghava must trace her to Lanka, a distant island. His loyal brother Lakshmana (Sunny Singh) and the all-powerful Hanuman (Devdatta Nage) help him with the task.
While it might take some time to adjust to Prabhas' look, the imagination of his get-up serves the character well. The actor brings versatility to the proceedings in the portions where hoary themes play out. His screen presence is largely commendable. However, there are segments where his presence is not towering enough.
Kriti Sanon shoulders the role without taking recourse to melodrama. The actress sticks to her brief. Devdatta Nage's stoic appearance looks forced in some scenes. The director's approach to portraying Hanuman should have been inspired. But a lot of moments where Hanuman is seen lack the intended wow effect.
Saif Ali Khan doesn't bring any sort of physicality to his complex role. The characterization lacks the required creative force. Vatsal Sheth as Meghanada aka Indrajita and others are boring.
Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara compose a very good score in portions where Ravana is not seen. The Ajay-Atul duo has composed all but one song. 'Jai Shri Ram', by now, has become an anthem and has played a crucial role in engendering massive openings for the movie in the Hindi belt. The Haricharan-crooned 'Shivoham' and 'Priya Mithunam' (sung by Karthik and Shweta Mohan) are good.
The Sachet–Parampara duo's 'Ram Sita Ram' borrows its tune from an original devotional song that dates back several decades.
Cinematographer Karthik Palani relies on the ability of VFX to help elevate his work. Editors Apurva Motiwale Sahai and Ashish Mhatre deliver a plain output with respect to the second half.
Om Raut's telling of the familiar tale of Valmiki's Ramayana is replete with some hits and misses. First, the positives. The first half is mostly engaging. Even though the situations are known to us all, they manage to keep us glued to the screen. The added effect of a smart score and the film's ability to keep VFX from dominating the emotion helps.
The grounding of the story doesn't come with unnecessary frills. There is a sense of calm and anticipation around the clash between Good and Evil. No dialogue sounds contrived and overtly literary. There is no attempt at punchlines.
The second half is where the film struggles to show inventiveness. The narrative looks plain. The overlong pre-climax and climax can make you miss the creative thrust of an SS Rajamouli.
'Adipurush' would have reached the next level had Ravana been interpreted sharply. Saif Ali Khan's demeanour is modelled after that of Bollywood villains. His evil laughter lacks epicness. His confrontation lacks epicness. After a point, the film's lack of divineness shows.
'Adipurush' has a mostly engaging first half. The second half would have been served better with better characterizations and elevations.