Amazon Obhijaan is a film that is as ripe with possibilities as it is bogged down by some lackluster execution. I was really excited about this film and having seen it today, I know for sure that lost in that runtime of 2 hours and 20 minutes there was that film that had me all excited but somehow it didn’t make its way out of the piling debris of poor VFX, terrible acting, and some pedestrian writing. The director definitely had a great idea to start with but lapses all around the screenplay took away the advantage of having a good idea.

The story carries forward from where its predecessor, “Chander Pahar” left off. Shankar (Dev) is back in his village and living a comfortable life. His hearts, though, still yearns for adventure and thrill. His mom wants him to get married and settle down but that is not to be. His calling soon comes knocking on his doors in the form of Anna Florien (Svetlana Gulakova). Anna wants Shankar to accompany her and her father (David James) on an adventure to find the lost city of “El Dorado”. Her father has already tried once and failed and this time, Anna wants to rope in the services of an expert explorer just to increase the odds in her father’s favor. The rest of the film is about their adventure and what they have to endure in order to find “El Dorado”

This is an adventure film and never for once, the film diverts from that basic property of its. However for an adventure to work there has to be atleast a semblance believability and credibility. The film loses that every now and then thanks to some horrible dialogs, pathetic VFX and theatrical performances that are plain funny at many junctures. I didn’t even buy the set up to start with. It was just too much to fathom. If I was in Shankar’s place, I wouldn’t walk into this adventure. Atleast not for the reasons Shankar does.

From the moment, David James makes his appearance, he hams and he hams and he hams a lot more. There were times when I wanted to shove a bamboo into his mouth to make him stop talking. That’s how irritating he is and it’s safe to say that his acting is one of the primary reasons for the failure of this film. I find it impossible to believe that he was the one who played that marauding bad guy in District 9. Svetlana Gulakova is no better. We are asked to accept her as a pro explorer when she fires and holds a gun like she was a 5-year-old holding a water pistol. Her theatrical essay also doesn’t help the cause.

Dev is known for his over the top acting and cringe-worthy rendering of characters. After doing extremely well to keep his desires at check in “Chander Pahar”, he lets his worst loose on the unsuspecting audiences here. His poor essay is not a significant stickler primarily because our attention is diverted by the insanely poor acts of James and Gulakova. But when one looks closely, he/she can easily see the shortcomings in his performance.

We are living in a time when we are treated with the best of VFX. Hollywood is pushing the boundary of VFX further and further with every film. Even Bollywood films, over the years, have done very well in this department. At a time like this to make a film that does bend back on its CGI characters to instill fear and suspense and come up with such poor rendering is unpardonable. The makers will definitely sight budget constraints for the poor VFX and I will say that if you don’t have enough budgets to make it good and believable then just don’t make it. When you go for a subject of this type and want to instill parts inspired by Anaconda, Jungle Book, and National Treasure, you better get the visuals right. When that’s not the case you material is bound to falter. “Chander Pahar” had a similar problem too.

In its support, the film does have breathtaking cinematography. Soumik Haldar has been able to capture the sweeping locales of Amazon with vitality and smoldering intensity. The visuals are lush and buoyed by bright colors and organic angles. The film has most of its wow! moments thanks to the brilliant cinematography of Haldar. The editing is good too. It tries to cover-up for the poor VFX but is unable to do so. But it’s safe to say that it does chip off some of the rather rough edges. The sound design is great too. It is the kind of film that’s great to hear on a 7.1 surround speaker system.

There were spates of boredom in the film which really made me restless and look for my watch. The amount of explaining and expository sequences that are there is truly baffling. After a while, it becomes impossible to remember where we got from where. It feels like one of those Discovery Wildlife shows dubbed into Hindi and very poorly done. An adventure film works only when the adventure can sustain interest. That is where “Amazon Obhijaan” fails completely. Momentary flashes of brilliance only show us the possibilities which are never realized. I am thoroughly disappointed by this film. More so because I was so hopeful.

Rating: 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)


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