Reimagining epics is not a crime. We have seen Mani Ratnam creating Raavanan in a modern-day setup from the perspective of Raavan. Art is supposed to give that extra push or a different perspective. The new creation by Om Raut, Adipurush, reimagines Ramayan in the silliest way possible, and it was so bad that I felt terrible for Ravan. With the green screen filmmaking evident in every single frame of the movie, this poorly rendered Planet of the Apes with all that loud background music and 0.5x speed narrative is a 3-hour-long torture that you just sit through without any hope.
The story is pretty simple. By the time the movie starts, the forest phase has already begun, and Soorpanaka goes to Raavan and tells about Raghav(Ram) and Janaki (Sita). Ravan goes to see Janaki, disguised as a Saadhu, and she falls for his trick. How Raghav gets her back with the help of the Monkey Army is what you see in Adipurush.
The best way to criticize the pathetic visual effects quality of the movie is to run a 3-hour long podcast with the movie playing on one side while you react to it. The color grading is terrible in most sequences; it feels like they decided to flip day scenes to night scenes at the last minute; edges of characters and properties are looking scratchy in the final output, and some of the renderings, especially the Raghav introduction scene reminded me of the 2D games I played when I first saw a computer. The writing of the movie is actually the reverse of what usually happens. Usually, writers create a scene order and then develop it into a fully-fledged script. Here, Valmiki has already written the script, and Om Raut chooses a portion and then converts it back into a scene order level.
These days, there is this previz approach in movies where they will render the sequences in a very basic way to give the people working on the film an idea of the desired output. The actual output of the visual effects of Adipurush reminded me of that level of basicness. Om Raut’s imagination is so wild that he is almost making it a clash between two groups who are living in a different timeline altogether. Raghav and the Vanar Sena are pretty much on the same page where we all anticipate them to be. In fact, the monkey army is way too Planet of the Apes with terrible rendering. But if you look at Lanka, they are from that Ragnarock-level future. Ravan is multiplying his version of Mjolnir in that final battle, and Indrajit was running around like Flash from Justice League. I was reminded of the old days when women brought clay plant pots at home in a big basket when I saw the stacked heads of Ravan.
Prabhas as the main protagonist rarely emotes, and it is very evident that a lot of half-hearted visual effects effort has gone into his face and body. Thanks to Sharad Kelkar’s dubbing for Prabhas, the much-needed grace for Lord Ram was visible here and there. Even as Sita, Kriti Sanon is reduced to being just eye candy. Sunny Singh’s primary duty was to accompany Prabhas in those slow-motion walks. Marathi actor Devdatta Nage plays the role of Bajrang, aka Hanuman, and just like every other character, this one was also poorly written, and the efforts to use him as a comic relief never gave the audience any relief. If someone decides to conduct a candlelight march in Delhi tomorrow for Saif Ali Khan, I will happily join, as he is the only one who seems to have made an effort in this movie. But the characterization was so bad on a conceptual level that it was extremely difficult to appreciate Saif for trying his best. I mean, I can’t believe that Om Raut managed to convince the producers to have a Ravan, who has Mohanlal’s beard, Shine Tom Chacko’s body language, and Ranveer Singh’s fashion sense(slightly better than Ranveer, actually)
The sequence where Ravan takes this snake massage is the only scene in the film where the visual effects and imagination are kind of in sync. Other than that, Adipurush looks like a backbencher’s answer for a 15-mark question. The dragon on which Ravan travels looks slightly more detailed in comparison to what we all saw in that unintentionally hilarious first trailer. The rest of the movie is very much like that trailer that got all the flak.
This poorly rendered Planet of the Apes with all that loud background music and 0.5x speed narrative is a 3-hour-long torture that you just sit through without any hope.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended