'Adipurush' Review: Ramayan as the Game Of Groans

Om Raut's 'Adipurush', an adaptation of the Ramayan, was released on June 16, starring Prabhas, Devdatta Nage, Kriti Sanon, and Saif Ali Khan

Adipurush poster (photo courtesy: @actorprabhas/Instagram)
Adipurush poster (photo courtesy: @actorprabhas/Instagram)

Subhash K Jha

Hey Valmikiji, look what they have done to your Ramayan! More ravaged than ravishing, louder than the loudest shrieks, Adipurush is Ramayan Redux in a very perverse way.

In this interpretation of our most beloved epic, Rama comes across as weak and ineffectual.

Ravan roars in cyclic spasms. As played by Saif Ali Khan, he is an ideologue with his own perverse dos and don’ts. In a nutshell, he is a square among circles. Tragically his character gets no chance to grow beyond the groan. Khan looks like a character out of  Game of Thrones rather than the Ramayan.

But then, who said this is the Ramayan? There are vague resemblances to Valmiki’s script. But Om Raut’s screenplay plays around with the original, and not very playfully. 

Adipurush might have worked as a snazzy super-sized spoof on the original. As a dead-serious outtake on the Ramayan, it is disastrously bad. The war sequences, the backbone of this Rama-Ravana faceoff, are hedged by low-hanging stunts that seem designed to provide instant thrills to the frontbenchers.

Writer-director Om Raut forgets there are no frontbenchers anymore. That the average movie watcher can easily tell the difference between Game of Thrones and a game of groans.

Ironically this renegade revisionist take on the Ramayan’s weakest factor is Prabhas’ Rama. Nowhere do we get to see his heroic valour in the scrambling squalor between the ultimate hero and a rogue scholar.

Kriti Sanon’s Sita has nothing much to do except to stand under an artificial tree with paper blossoms falling on a paper-mache ground, looking lost and ready to be rescued. When Rama arrives she does a slo-mo run to an embrace that reminded me that even the gods watch Shah Rukh Khan’s romantic films.

The editing (Apoorva Motiwale Sahai, Ashish Mhatre) of this ghastly hodgepodge of mythology and mayhem is infuriatingly inconsistent. Several sequences, such as the one where Rama holds a dialogue with the river God for his right of way to rescue Sita from Lanka, overstay their welcome. Other crucial links in the plot, like Kaikeyi’s connivance, are quickly dealt with as the plot moves to one show-offy can-Pathaan-do-this stunt sequence.

Adipurush leaves you exhausted and confused. What is it trying to say and do? I guess we will never know.

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