Sunday, April 14
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Shaakuntalam’ Movie Review

‘Shaakuntalam’ Movie Review

‘Shaakuntalam’ Movie Rating: 2.5/5

Release Date : April 14, 2023

Starring: Samantha, Dev Mohan, Allu Arha, Sachin Khedekar, Mohan Babu, Jisshu Sengupta, Madhoo, Aditi Balan, Ananya Nagalla, Prakash Raj, Gautami, Satya, Kabir Bedi, Kabir Duhan Singh & others

Director: Gunasekhar

Producer: Neelima Guna

Music Director: Mani Sharma

Cinematography: Shekar V Joseph

Editor: Prawin Pudi

Samantha Ruth Prabhu is back with Shaakuntalam to entertain the audience. The mythological drama, which is said to have been made on 80 crore budget, is directed by Gunasekhar. Dev Mohan played the male lead. The film hit the screens today, and let’s see how it is.

Story:

Sage Vishwamitra starts his penance to become more and more powerful. Indra gets tensed about losing his throne and sends Menaka to seduce Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra and Menaka then give birth to a baby girl, but Menaka abandons the child as a living human being is not allowed in heaven. Sage Kanva (Sachin Khedekar), who notices the baby near his hermitage, names her Shakuntala (Samantha) and raises her as his daughter. After several years, Shakuntala comes across King Dushyant (Dev Mohan) in the forest, and within no time, they both fall for each other. They marry as per the Gandharva tradition, and later Shakuntala becomes pregnant. Dushyant promises to take Shakuntala to his kingdom after a while. After Dushyant reaches his kingdom, he forgets about Shakuntala due to the curse of sage Durvasa (Mohan Babu). The rest of the film showcases the hardships faced by Shakuntala to prove her relationship with Dusyant.

Samantha, as Shakuntala, did her role nicely. Surprisingly, she gets less screen time in the second half, but the actress gives it all for Shaakuntalam. In the emotional scenes, Samantha showed her mark. It is really a challenging decision for a star actress to headline a mythological drama in these modern times, and she deserves appreciation for this.

Dev Mohan looked charming and was decent in the king’s role. He has charisma and solid looks which can take him to newer heights in his career. Performance wise, too, Dev Mohan was neat. Mohan Babu is superb as Sage Durvasa, and the interval sequence works well with the veteran’s powerful cameo.

The cameo by Allu Arha is undoubtedly one of the biggest assets of this flick. One will get wondered by the amazing screen presence of Arha. The little girl, though seen for a very short time, makes her presence felt. She mouthed tough dialogues brilliantly, and Allu Arjun fans will have a feast watching Arha on the big screen. Her presence makes a difference to this otherwise dull film.

The actual story doesn’t have much scope, and it really isn’t a great idea to make a feature film based on this simplistic story. Even those who don’t know the story can predict what’s going to happen over the end. The drama is majorly missing and forbids one from rooting for the characters. The actors, too, couldn’t shine beyond a point, as the story restricts them from doing so.

Talented actors like Subba Raju, Jisshu Sengupta, Aditi Balan, Gautami, and Harish Uthaman are absolutely wasted in small cameos that don’t have any significance. For a film that is said to have been made on an 80 crore budget, the VFX should be decent, if not great. But this aspect disappoints heavily, and it is shocking to see how a few shots even made it to the final cut. The 3D version couldn’t help the film either and makes one point fingers at the inferior graphics.

The entire film seems to have been shot in an indoor studio and the visuals remind us of older Telugu mythological films. Coming to the war sequences, the less we talk, the better it would be. The narration is flat throughout, and the pacing is dead slow, giving the vibes of a TV serial.

Mani Sharma gave his best with the background score and songs. A couple of songs were good on screen, but their placement is bad. The cinematography by Shekar V Joseph is pretty average. The editing could have been a lot better, and a few scenes could have been chopped off. The production values for a film of this budget are poor.

Coming to the director, Gunasekhar, he did a poor job with the film. His intention to tell a mythological story to the modern youth is good, but his execution is the biggest culprit of Shaakuntalam. The narration and the way the characters are portrayed are not at all impressive. The drama was heavily missing, which shouldn’t be the case for a mythological epic. Above all, the awful VFX make one get disconnected from the proceedings. The ancient Telugu language used in a few sequences might not go well with the film’s target audience, i.e., millennials.

Verdict:

On the whole, Shaakuntalam is a mythological drama that fails to impress. The drama and emotions needed for a cinematic viewing are missing big time. Shoddy VFX and bad action sequences reduce the impact further. Apart from a few scenes and Samantha’s honest performance, this big-budget flick is a colossal disappointment.