First things first, Radhe Shyam is a very good looking film. With pastel shades in every frame, there is a lot of visual beauty that it brings with it. Secondly, the songs are pretty nice as well. Then of course there is Pooja Hegde, who makes your heart beat for her whenever she appears.
Sadly, that’s about it for this multi-crore extravaganza where nothing else really works. Yes, that includes even Prabhas. Surprising, but true!
In a romantic avtar, the actor just isn’t able to bring the kind of emotions on screen that would made you root for his love story with Pooja. A lot of that has also to do with the fact that he has dubbed his own lines in Hindi. No, that’s one decision that has backfired for sure, especially after it was Sharad Kelkar’s dubbing for him in Baahubali series that had worked the most.
Well, these could well have been minor blemishes in a film where so much more is going wrong around you scene after scene, sequence after sequence. Imagine Bhagyashree playing the mother of Prabhas. Really, what was the casting director thinking? Then there are scenes showing Prabhas reading Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s hand and predicting Emergency. May be the only reason the film was set in the 70s was in order to feature this scene. But really, did this actually happen? Then there needless chases on the street because you need to have action.
Again, all of that goes when it comes to a ‘masala’ film since there is certain suspension of disbelief that you are prepared for. However, what you are not prepared for is the whole mumbo-jumbo that the film has about fight between love and destiny. There is something to do with astrology being 99% science and 1% action. Despite the fact that dialogues to the tune of this are muttered half a dozen times in the film, somehow at least I didn’t get what they were trying to convey. Then there is this whole thing about cheating death that again doesn’t fly.
It’s due to all of this and more that the only scene that are actually work are the ones right at the beginning, at the interval point and then the climax. The opening sets the stage, which is in fact exciting. The interval as Prabhas channelizing his inner Baahubali, which is actually the best of the lot. Then there is climax set on a huge container ship and at least here you are glued to the screen because despite clear VFX coming into play, you at least are arrested by the whole audio-visual appeal.
However, this is it about the film which has precious little to offer in the near two and a half hour narrative. A pity, since it’s quite obvious that a lot has been spent on the film, something that shows on practically every frame. Somewhere, there was a good germ of an idea that the makers had in mind. However, when it came to translating that into the written word (even before the visuals came into picture), it turned out to be a lost cause.