SAAHO (2019)

  • Release Date: 30/08/2019
  • Cast: Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor, Chunky Pandey, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Jackie Shroff, Tinnu Anand, Mandira Bedi, Mahesh Manjrekar
  • Director: Sujeeth

There is a scene in Saaho towards the end, where the primary antagonist of the film played by Chunky Pandey walks into a Mad Max –esc post-apocalyptic village with his cronies to find the mighty Prabhas sitting in a Bahubali-like pose on a dilapidated car. His face is sprinkled with blood but his pose is that of a victorious king enjoying a moment’s peace after having his heart’s fill of violent showdowns. It’s all visible and yet the fool Chunky takes him to be beaten up and gives out a chuckle. His chuckle is almost instantly silenced by a random goon who tells Chunky that the blood is in fact of Prabhas’ enemies and not his. The goon then faints in an utterly hilarious manner. Now the mighty Prabhas wipes off his face in one swift move and stands up as Bahubali would if he was not sodomized by Kattappa. This is how stupid Saaho takes its audiences to be and in the process brings down the common sense quotient of the whole theater.

Speaking of the plot, Jackie Shroff plays the King of Dons operating in a fictitious city called Waaji and wants to legitimize his enterprise using brokered deals with India. Tinnu Anand is a “divyang” don who conveniently shifts between being “divyang” and not-so “divyang” and is a member of the Conglomerate of Dons headed by Jackie. His son, the ultra-idiot Chunky sees himself sitting in the chair that Jackie fills. Interestingly so, every time I see him trying to be serious and menacing, I feel as if he would break out into a “Pasta!!! Akhri Raasta” dialogue from stupefying Houseful franchise. Jackie comes to India and is killed in a hurry. His death throws opens up a corridor of opportunities for Chunky to take the throne but Jackie had a backup plan. In the same timeline, Mumbai is targeted by a super thief who steals in crores. The director tells us that it is not the mighty Prabhas but we know it is him. Soon the police bring in their best man to track down the thief and now the director tells us that it Prabhas who is this super cop but we know he is not. Through the rest of the film, the Director tries to show us how these two storylines are interconnected and how they culminate in one big finale.

While reviewing a film I always use the name of the characters from the film to put forward my point but in case of Saaho, I have categorically used the name of the actors and I did that because in this film none of the actors give a dime about the characters that they are playing. They are all basically playing themselves and that too in a very unconvincing manner. They don’t as much act as they read lines from the script. The director had this great idea of making Prabhas voice his Hindi dialogues. It not only felt out of place but also liquidated whatever little seriousness one could try to muster out of the proceedings. There were also portions where I couldn’t understand a single word of what he was saying. If that was not all, he had a truckload of dialogues which made the matter that much worse.

We all loved Prabhas as Bahubali but not so much as Shiva. In Saaho, Prabhas renders the character of Saaho with a comic overtone when the need of the hour was for him to play it with a straight face. It wouldn’t also be wrong to say that comedy is not his forte and neither is romance. He romances Shraddha Kapoor in the most cringe-worthy ways possible and raises multiple red flags by the manner he treats women in general. By the end of the film, he is shown to be a man brooding with hatred and anger and it is then that we wonder how he might have been gyrating with Jacqueline Fernandez for no rhyme or reason a few minutes before when he had so much angst in his heart. Prabhas has a great screen presence but his screen presence counts for nothing in a film that makes a caricature of the character that he is playing.

Shraddha Kapoor plays wonder woman in this film. She gets shot smack in the middle of the chest and is then dragged along the floor like dead weight only to heal without a hiccup. She not only survives without any hue and cry but is shown chasing a goon more athletically than Usain Bolt within a couple of scenes. She carries a strange deadpan attitude throughout her essay for apparently no reason. Her inspirations for doing what she is shown doing is so confused that after a while I stopped trying to make any sense out of it. Chunky Pandey is just inept at being the villain that he is asked to be. It also doesn’t help that his character is written with very little respect or sense for that matter. Mahesh Manjrekar must be in dire need of money for after his stellar turn in “Mard Ko Dard Nai Hota”, his act here comes as a “kick in the nuts” for his fans. Tinnu Anand has nothing to do. Neil Nitin Mukesh is Neil Nitin Mukesh.

A lot has been said about the visual opulence and action sequences of Saaho and it has been said in a manner that justifies why this film took 350 crores to make. I watched it in a plush multiplex with sharp projection and perfect 7.1 surround sound and I couldn’t see or hear where the 350 crores were on the screen. There isn’t a single action sequence in the film that is worth remembering and that’s heartbreaking for someone who went into the film expecting atleast the action to impress. The director tries to amplify the visuals with gloss and artifacts but that doesn’t work out as here too we can see an over-reliance on CGI which can never make up for the real deal. Had the CGI been well done, it might have just worked but that is also not the case here. Add to that the numerous intolerable songs and you have the perfect recipe for torture.

Saaho is a loud, bloated and pointless film that should not have been made in the first place. It is two and a half hours long which is atleast an hour too many going by what it has to offer. It tries to draw parallels to the aura of Bahubali and its leading man often drawing visual equivalents in scenes and mannerisms but that comes off as nothing but cheap parlor tricks further degrading its own existence. Terrible performances, unsavory drama, forgettable action and a background score that is hell-bent on giving you a headache are just some of the reasons that should make you stay clear of this film.

Rating: 1/5 (1 out of 5 Stars)

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