Even Rajamouli cannot save this sinking ship
Picture this. A war of legacy. Gangsters based in a fictional town that actually resembles a location in UAE, an ensemble cast featuring multiple actors with little to do because the focus is only on the hero, stylish action sequences and songs mounted in gorgeous locations, but where is the story? Might seem to you like I am reviewing ‘Race 3’, but no.
Telugu heartthrob Prabhas who acquired Pan Indian superstardom following the mammoth success of the ‘Baahubali’ franchise, returns to the big screen after a gap of two and a half years, with 28-year old director Sujeeth’s ‘Saaho’ that actually makes the Salman Khan film, seem like ‘Inception’ in comparison.
A criminal syndicate in Waaji city is planning an illegal activity in India, under the guise of a hydro-project. Roy (Jackie Shroff), who heads the syndicate gets the government approval from a union minister, at gunpoint, on a visit to Mumbai. A little after the sanction, he is killed. His son Vishwank (Arun Vijay) takes over the reins which angers his uncle Devraj (Chunky Pandey). Meanwhile, a massive robbery is pulled off comprising of 2000 crores and an undercover agent Ashok Chakravarthy (Prabhas) is called in to investigate the matter. Ashok assembles a team and recruits Amritha Nair (Shraddha Kapoor) to assist him in the operation. The team are trying to uncover the culprits behind the robbery and their prime suspect is a mysterious person (Neil Nitin Mukesh). Ashok and his team require proof to arrest him. A nightclub confrontation follows and Ashok discovers that the suspect plans to rob a blackbox, which belongs to Roy and holds the key to all his wealth and property. Vishwank has sent his closest aide Kalki (Mandira Bedi) to retrieve the same blackbox from falling into the hands of his father’s enemies. At the time of the planned robbery, the investigating team meets a rude shock and find out that there is a mole in their team and that they were chasing a wrong target.
If my plot summary confuses you, do not blame it on me. This is what writer-director Sujeeth has brought to the table. Multiple narratives are running parallel at once that tying up the loose ends is a responsibility left to the audience. One cannot recall a dialogue or a performance that touches the viewer. The glitches are far too many that listing it all down could take a while. For instance, the South Indian diction is evident in Prabhas’ dialogue delivery but then the actor is shown to lip-sync to songs backed by Guru Randhawa and Badshah’s vocals. Shraddha’s role of a Crime Branch officer is possibly the weakest character written in a while for a leading lady. She barely gets a chance to flex her muscles or even establish her authority. She is either condescended by her colleagues and superiors or is a victim waiting to be saved by the hero.
To give credit where its due, the action sequences filmed by names of international repute including Kenny Bates, Peng Zhang, Dhilip Subbarayan, Stunt Silva, Stefan, Bob Brown and Ram – Lakshman are first rate. DOP Madhie’s lenses capture the gorgeous locales of UAE and Austria, in its full glory. But stunning visuals and thrills are little respite for a film which feels like a jail term.
The film eventually rests completely on the charm of the lead actor and its an earnest effort by Prabhas. But the lack of support by the remaining cast and the shortage of content makes it an overwhelming responsibility with hardly anything to salvage from.