wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)
A pretty film. All energy and imagination spent on making it good-looking leading to a lethargic narration with no soul and no entertainment. (Streaming partner: Netflix)Read more
Growing up, I watched and rewatched Jai Bajrang Bali. I enjoyed and re-enjoyed. It was playful, it was witty, it told the story well. It wasn’t pretty, though. As I watched Adipurush, memories from the other film kept popping into my mind. Because Adipurush is far, far from entertaining. But hey, it is pretty, especially the first half. And the second half is gorgeous as hell in its depiction of a dark, almost always black Lanka.
The dialogue has no juice at all. The pep talks wear you down. The one-liners don’t land.
Adipurush takes itself extremely seriously. That works in the visuals department. As in, the forest that Raghav’s troop finds itself in is depicted with a magical, majestical brush. It engages the eye.
But what the eye enjoys engages the brain and heart only for a bit. The over-arching story of Ramayana isn’t the most interesting one around, in the first place. What makes it charming are the little side stories, like those of Bali-Sugreev, Shabari, Hanuman’s witticisms, Sanjivani, etc. Adipurush gives it a dry, one-tone treatment void of substance, spirit, and soul. To top it off, it thinks that is a good thing and does so in slo-mo. The word melodrama doesn’t have the ring that ‘nautanki’ does. And nautanki is what all this comes across as.
And it's not that the visuals continue to entice. The makers commit to an extremely dark palette in the second half. Their use of contrast is interesting in that the pink/peach of the Ashok Vatika trees against the black looks gorgeous. But firstly, colouring a supposedly beautiful Ashok Vatika hues of dark grey and black is heartbreaking and a bit much. Yes-yes, we get it. Ravan, bad. Black, bad. So, all things Ravan, black. But hey, Ravan garden also bad? Come on!
Then we have the good guys have orange flags, their arrows have orange trails. No one could possibly miss the political symbology. eyeroll But the bad guys' weapons are identified by blue flames. Hmmm. Oh, and not to be missed, lotuses and peacocks supposedly make Janaki happy. I wasn’t too impressed by the part of the Ramayana that the film chose to focus on, just the war. Yep, the 1.5 hours post-interval is almost all war. Equally meh, is the choice of actor to play Ravan.
Anyhow good actors are pretty much wasted in the film. Potentially, the actors are intentionally playing it out like a comic strip, to give us a feel of reading the Ramayana in an Amar Chitra Katha. That is the only way I could explain Saif Ali Khan’s weird walk. Three hours of wooden acting makes it rather boring. Only Kriti Sanon feels like she has some variation to offer, and Devdatta Nage might have were he given something to work with.
The dialogue has no juice at all. The pep talks wear you down. The one-liners don’t land. Like one had me make a mathematical equation. maryaada > praana, Janaki is inside praana, therefore maryaada > Janaki. By some coincidence, there was a spark of a moment between Raghav and Bajrang when they first met. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just me, given belief in Hanuman supported me through whatever little rough times I had in my childhood.
Adipurush gives it a dry, one-tone treatment void of substance, spirit, and soul. To top it off, it thinks that is a good thing and does so in slo-mo.
Other than that, the makers assume we know the story. This assumption allows them to focus on form rather than function. The liberties they take with the story reek of propaganda, like converting Ravan’s vehicle to a ravenous bat. A well-visualised bat, but a bat?
At the end of three hours, the only decent thing I have to say about the film is that it brought this song back to memory. For CGI-generated visual beauty, we are spoilt for choices these days, aren’t we?
~ ~ ~
I watched the film in Hindi, 3D.
- meeta, a part of the audience
So-So, by Bharadwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...Om Raut’s Adipurush dispenses with the early parts of Valmiki’s Ramayana, and deposits us in the forest with Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita. One of the first big events is the abduction of Sita, so allow me to describe this stretch. Ravana casts a spell that binds her in vines. She loses her senses and she begins to float like a corpse. Ravana discards his beggar disguise and balloons to his original size: he is a man-monster. An equally monstrous dragon-like creature descends from the sky. Ravana places Sita on it and begins to steer the dragon towards Lanka. Jatayu intercepts Ravana in an attempt to save Sita. He unleashes a sword and jumps off his mount, and he slays the giant eagle. The dragon makes a swoop and catches Ravana in free fall. They reach Lanka, and alight on something that looks like a spaceship docking station from the Star Wars films.... full review
So-So, by Nikhita Thakkar, Bollywood Life : ...Watch Adipurush without too many expectations. Yes, it is visually beautiful and everything but it won't leave a lasting impact. Don't watch the film it you are looking to submerge yourself in mythology as it is all about the action.... full review
So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Ramayana is a much revered epic and shouldn't be treated like LOTR. It has much to teach but its themes of sacrifice, brotherhood and love aren't brought to the forefront here in their full glory.... full review
So-So, by Nitin Jain, Glamsham.com : ...For Indians, Ramayan is a part of life and not just because it is in our mythology but because of the various teachings that we derive from it. It is also because of the drama that is involved every now and then. Om Raut’s Adipurush is probably derived from the fact that Ram is (considered) as the most optimum ‘man’, but the same could not be extracted in a short span of 179 mins.... full review
So-So, News18.com : ...The dialogues, on the other hand, make the screenplay a bumpy ride. While credit goes to Manoj Muntashir for not resorting to Sanskritised Hindi for the dialogues that can be easily deciphered by the audience, some of Raghava’s lines are extremely didactic and intellectualised. In a few other scenes, the dialogues are so unintentionally colloquial that you end up cracking up. In a key scene, one of Ravana’s henchmen is seen hurling ‘yeh tera bua ka bageecha nahi hai…’ to Bajrang who is sent by Raghava to check on Janaki in Ashoka Vatika.... full review
So-So, by Renuka Vyavahare I, Times of India : ...The VFX and visual appeal are passable if not impressive. The 3D feels like an unnecessary accessory. With a run time of 3 hours, you wish the story wasn’t as dependent on the special effects as it should have been on the nature of its revered characters or what set them apart. Despite the dramatic buildup, the climax doesn't live you with that sense of joy, reward or victory. This one’s a sincere attempt that gets a tad overwhelmed by its ambition of handling a story of this magnitude.... full review
So-So, by Ritika Handoo, Zee News : ...Filmmaker Om Raut has made a huge attempt to re-telling the epic narrative in his own style with modern elements added to the screenplay. But why an overdose of Game Of Thrones (GOT) influence? Right from visuals of bats flying (replacing the dragons), darkness all around to background music. Then there's a concoction of characters looking straight out from Planet Of Apes and King Kong - this could be much better and more innovative.... full review
Thumbs down, by L Ravichandran, Deccan Chronicle : ...This 500crore effort is in complete disarray. Decades ago, when O P Ralhan made Talash and marketed it as the first 1 crore budget film, it failed at the box- office. Is Johar speaking about it said: A fool and his money parts too soon.... full review
Thumbs down, by Abhimanyu Mathur, DNA : ...Adipurush could have been the film the Indian film industry needed and looked up to – an example of how to make a modern epic based on the rich cultural treasure trove of stories our country has. In the end, it becomes a barely-watchable mess because the makers failed to understand that you don’t need grandeur to tell a simple tale like Ramayana. You need to undertsand the core emotions, which Adipurush does not.... full review
Thumbs down, by Ram Venkat srikar, Film Companion : ...Ones again it’s not just the bad VFX that taint the film, it’s lack of strong, original vision. Ajay-Atul’s inspiring score can only do so much to salvage the flim.... full review
Thumbs down, by Sai Tulasi Neppali, fullhyd.com : ...Ultimately, Adipurush ridicules its own purported goals. It was meant to be a proud celebration of Indian heritage, but sadly, it seizes every opportunity not only to imitate but to shamelessly steal ideas from other films, offering not even a shred of originality to our cinematic landscape.... full review
Thumbs down, by JOYEETA MITRA SUVARNA, India TV : ...When a mythological film is made, the first emphasis is laid on the language, but Om Raut's Adipurush has nothing to do with this. Many Urdu words have been used whereas in the era of Ramayana, Urdu language was not even in existence. Hanuman ji will be heard speaking in colloquial Mumbai language like 'Kapda tere baap ka, tel tere baap ka.. jalegi bhi tere baap ki' may not be liked by the audience. The looks of the characters have been talked about before and Om Raut has said that it is his depiction.... full review
Thumbs down, by Shubhara Gupta, indian express : ...his version of the Ramayan is not interested in connecting with the feeling of genuine religiosity that any reading of the ‘granth’ arouses, whether it is the most popular Tulsidas version or the Valmiki version. This is a beloved epic turned into an actioner, reminding you of a little of ‘The Lord Of The Rings’... full review
Thumbs down, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...Ajay & Atul are the only two people from the entire team who got the assignment continuing to deliver a banger of a soundtrack despite all the negatives. The only reason why I would’ve liked this film as an audiobook more is because of this duo’s otherworldly background score. From Shivoham to Jai Shree Ram, trust them to deliver some ‘God Level’ songs (pun intended!).... full review
Thumbs down, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...The writing is amusingly ornate, your local Ramlila script but without the fun. For some reason, Raut and co-writer Manoj Muntashir are worried their audience won’t get 2000-year-old plot points. Which leads to scenes like this:... full review
Thumbs down, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...Nothing can be said about Adipurush’s VFX, as we all know how bad they are in the trailer and songs. In the movie, things just get worse. That Sanjeevani booti scene is turned into an alien pod, with lots of tools available to make juice in Tretayug. Lanka Dahan is more about Hanuman setting fire to ammunition and liquid gas, if I didn’t get it wrong. The songs are good because they have soul. “Ram Siya Ram” and “Jai Shree Ram” are known chants already, so no credit to the composers and lyricists. The cinematography is there but does nothing except capture things with blind eyes. A couple of frames shake a little as if it were a handy camera and they were shooting an Instagram reel, while some are cut in between. The editing makes the film a tedious affair. The only reason you don’t feel bored is because it’s a known story, and you all love watching the Ramayana. Om Raut impressed me with Lokmanya and Tanhaji, but by making Adipurush, he has committed the sin of a lifetime. I don’t know about others, but I will never forgive you for ruining the most beloved tale from Indian history like this. As a whole, Adipurush is a mockery of the Ramayana.... full review
Thumbs down, NDTV : ...If there is anything worse than what Adipurush passes off as dialogues, it is the film's sound design. Not only is it ear-splittingly loud, it is shockingly unimaginative. But why complain when virtually everything else in Adipurush is as just as phenomenally slapdash?... full review
Thumbs down, by Avinash Lohana, Pinkvilla : ...Prabhas as Raghav is limited in his performance with restrictive expressions. However, the actor shines in two sequences where he motivates his army. Kriti Sanon as Janaki lives up to her part and delivers a balanced performance. Though I wish she had more screen time in Adipurush. Saif Ali Khan has aced Raavan with his expressions, but it is the overall body language that doesn’t work. To show his large demeanor the makers have adapted to the Hulk walk, which doesn’t truly connect with the character. Sunny Singh as Lakshman seemed restricted in his performance, but Devdatta Nage as Bajrang and Vatsal Sheth as Indrajit deliver a good performance.... full review
Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, Rediff : ...In probably the only really effective scene in the film, Ram tells his army to fight not for him, but for their place in history. Then a bunch of film people come along in 2023 and distort it.... full review
Thumbs down, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...If Prabhas, whose voice has been dubbed by Sharad Kelkar, glowers monotonously and endlessly, Kriti Sanon is a questionable fit as Janki/Sita. The lack of chemistry between the leads is augmented by the heavily worked-upon backdrops and Manoj Muntashir’s pedestrian dialogue.... full review
Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.