Crafting a timeless battle between good and evil that has captured the nation’s reverence for generations and presenting it to a contemporary audience without appearing antiquated is an intricate challenge. When the material carries generational significance, innovative storytelling becomes its sole distinguishing factor. Raut chooses a Marvel-esque approach to entice the younger demographic but it is the weak and almost dismal dialogue writing that weighs down the narrative.
The narrative swiftly delves into the heart of the tale, bypassing lengthy character introductions or exhaustive exposition about Ram’s (Prabhas portraying Raghav) persona or the reasons behind his exile (vanvas) from Ayodhya. It centres on Sita’s (Kriti Sanon as Janaki) perilous abduction by Ravan (Saif Ali Khan), and the ensuing epic clash between Ram and Ravan, waged in a bid to rescue her.
The battle sequences echo the iconic camaraderie of the Avengers, as they fend off an extensive army of Ravan’s CGI rakshasas. The war segment (second half) captivates, salvaging a relatively lacklustre first half that lacks the excitement and urgency that the narrative necessitates. Raut grapples to strike a harmonious equilibrium between the grandeur of the epic saga and the execution within the superhero universe. The dialogues lack the impact expected of legendary heroes of such stature.
Prabhas convincingly embodies the character of Raghav right from the film’s opening scene, and his previous film choices, notably his role in “Baahubali,” significantly contribute to this portrayal. Kriti Sanon, portraying Janaki, is a captivating presence on screen, although her screen time falls short of expectations. The actress often finds herself interwoven amidst skillfully executed visual effects. Nonetheless, it is her chemistry with Prabhas that stands out prominently. Sunny Singh, in the role of Shesh, appears intermittently throughout the film and has a limited number of lines. His presence mostly serves to complement Prabhas, and the screenplay is carefully structured to prevent him from overshadowing the protagonist. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that he does manage to carve out his own moments in the narrative. Devdatta Nage shines as Bajrangbali, a pivotal character in “Adipurush.” We have previously witnessed seasoned actors like Dara Singh take on a significant role in the Ramayana story. As a result, expectations for Bajrangbali’s portrayal were exceptionally high.
Saif Ali Khan’s invincible portrayal of Ravan exudes magnetic central character energy in this ambitious yet resolute retelling of the epic saga. While Prabhas (vocally portrayed adeptly by Sharad Kelkar) maintains a heroic presence as Ram, Saif’s portrayal, with his wicked mannerisms and towering stature, unquestionably steals the spotlight. The music and background score by Sanchit and Ankit Balhara, alongside songs by Ajay-Atul, infuse vitality into Saif’s formidable depiction of Ravan. “Adipurush” unequivocally belongs to Saif Ali Khan, and Raut succeeds in presenting the character on an imposing scale.
The visual effects and aesthetic appeal are remarkable. The 3D aspect feels like an unnecessary embellishment. With a runtime of three hours, one wishes the narrative leaned more heavily on the nature of its revered characters and what sets them apart, rather than relying excessively on special effects. Despite the heightened anticipation, the climax fails to evoke the expected sensations of joy, fulfilment, or triumph.