‘RAM SETU’ REVIEW | 25 October, 2022

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Amazon Prime Video, Abundantia Entertainment, Lyca Productions and Cape Of Good Films’ Ram Setu (UA) is the story about the history of the Ram Setu bridge. Aryan Kulshreshtha (Akshay Kumar) is an archaeologist who is assigned the job of doing research on the Ram Setu bridge to assess whether it was built by Shri Ram. The authorities are keen on demolishing the bridge to please rich businessman Indrakant (Nasser) but the public sentiments are hurt because people believe the bridge to be part of mythology, culture and history. Since Aryan is an atheist, the authorities are sure, he will give a report which debunks the theory that it was built by Shri Ram. Aryan’s report is considered blasphemous, because of which he is suspended for some time. However, Indrakant funds Aryan’s further research in and around Sri Lanka as he wants an absolute report that Ram Setu existed even before the birth of Shri Ram. Businessman Indrakant stands to gain a lot if the bridge is demolished. And it will be demolished only if it is proven that Shri Ram did not construct it. Assisting Aryan in Sri Lanka is AP (Satya Dev) who comes from nowhere and proves to be a major asset to Aryan’s team comprising Sandra (Jacqueline Fernandez) and Gabrielle (Jennifer Piccinato). However, when the businessman realises that Aryan’s report could be different from what he wants, he orders his men to kill all of them. Meanwhile, the matter is the subject matter of litigation in the Supreme Court. What happens ultimately?

Abhishek Sharma has written the story based on facts. While the story is quite interesting, Abhishek Sharma’s screenplay is one of complete convenience and, therefore, lacks conviction. Aryan and his team seem to be so resourceful that they can lay their hands on just about anything and everything — that too, in no time. The screenplay is one of such convenience that people come to Aryan and his team’s rescue from nowhere. Why they are helping them, and how they get to know that Aryan and his team need to be assisted rather than the group which is fighting the team, is just not explained. Similarly, Aryan and Sandra reach India from Sri Lanka within hours even though they do not have the requisite papers because they’ve had a fallout with the rich businessman who had arranged their trip to Sri Lanka. It is because of such a weak drama that the audience fails to get involved in the drama but instead watches it unfold without caring much for it. Yes, the courtroom drama in the end, and the scene in which Aryan reads the jottings in AP’s diary do gladden the hearts of the devout Hindus but these are not enough to make up for the otherwise boring and unconvincing drama. The film lacks in emotions. Dialogues, written by Abhishek Sharma and Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, are not half as forceful as they ought to have been.

Akshay Kumar lacks both, the fire and the conviction to carry off the role. He seems to have gone through the character of Aryan without getting into its skin. His unkempt look is an eyesore. Jacqueline Fernandez is like fish out of water in a film like this. Nushrat Bharucha is at least earnest as Aryan’s wife, Prof. Gayatri. Satya Dev is endearing in the role of AP. Of course, he does not have a very substantive role but he is good. Nasser is quite nice as the rich businessman. Pravesh Rana makes his mark as Indrakant’s stooge, Balli. Jennifer Piccinato lends decent support as Gabrielle. Shweta Kawaatra is okay as the lawyer. Atul Tiwari is good as the judge. Angad Raaj and the others lend routine support as Aryan and Gayatri’s little son.

Abhishek Sharma’s direction, like his screenplay, lacks conviction. His narration looks like a job done in a hurry. Music (Ajay-Atul, Ved Sharma, Dr. Zeus and Vikram Montrose) and lyrics (Irshad Kamil, Manoj Muntashir, Baljit Singh Padam and Shekhar Astitva) are good but not of the popular variety. Daniel B. George’s background music could’ve been far more impactful. Aseem Mishra’s camerawork is very good. The visual effects and computer graphics are not excellent. Action and stunt scenes (by Anl Arasu and Parvez Shaikh) are exciting but they lack novelty. Production designing (Dayanidhi Patturajan and Amrish Patange) is fairly nice. Rameshwar S. Bhagat’s editing ought to have been sharper.

On the whole, Ram Setu has a fairly good courtroom drama and the portion that follows it, both of which will be loved by the devout Hindu audiences but the film otherwise lacks conviction. It will, therefore, not do much at the box-office in spite of the advantage of the Diwali holidays and festive spirit. Chances are that it will do average business in a couple of circuits only but not prove to be even average in the other circuits.

Released on 25-10-’22 at Inox (daily 11 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru Zee Studios. Publicity: fair. Opening: good, because of Diwali holiday. …….Also released all over. Opening was below the mark at some places, good at some other places, and very good at still others.