187542 Taran Adarsh

Rudraksh Review by Taran Adarsh

1.5

A film like RUDRAKSH is extremely difficult to make

It not only requires fertile imagination to pen a script that merges the past with the future, but to attain the desired results, you need courageous producers to fund the grandiose project.

No two opinions on the fact that producers Nitin Manmohan and Sohail Maklai have spent a packet to create a visual feast. The special effects, at places, are of international standards and for the Indian audiences, it is a novel experience without doubt.

Mani Shankar, who's credited with the story, screenplay, dialogues, editing, SFX and direction, scores marks on the SFX front. He is a competent technician, but an ineffective storyteller.

If RUDRAKSH is an extremely difficult film to make, it is much more difficult to comprehend and understand the flick. An apt case of body beautiful, minus soul!

Healing powers that science cannot explain and voodoo practices that defy all logic are just some of the instances of paranormal activity that Dr. Gayatri [Bipasha Basu] is busy investigating. Her experiments bring her with her team of fellow scientists from America to India where they encounter the gifted Varun [Sanjay Dutt].

Varun has inexplicable paranormal powers, yet is highly disciplined and evolved. His unusual ability of taking away pain and affliction from his subjects fascinates Gayatri and he becomes a willing subject of her cause.

Gayatri's unusual experiments suddenly hurtle Varun towards guessing the existence of a dark power that is hidden and evil. What is the force all about And why does it wage a battle against Varun And how is it linked to Ravan's Rudraksh

Hidden away, vanished in the hoary mists of time is the most unusual Rudraksh. Legend has it that it carried in its folds seed sounds that promised to mutate humans into new species.

This was not a normal Rudraksh worn by ordinary people. In the language of science, it was a multi-dimensional hologram in the form of a seed. It beheld the power to mutate its bearer into a power beyond all reckoning.

Though he first tries to evade the forces that beckon him, Varun is drawn deeper and deeper into a pact of peril. He is soon hurtled into a heady adventure and chase that takes him to the Himalayas and then into the mysterious ruins of the legendary King Ravan's palaces in Lanka.

Varun digs deep to discover the secret of Rudraksh. And suddenly everything starts making sense

If you're under an impression that RUDRAKSH is a present-day interpretation of 'Ramayana', let's get it right at the very outset it's not! In fact, director Mani Shankar seems heavily inspired by director Bryan Singer's much-acclaimed and immensely successful X-MEN [2000; starring Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart].

Nothing wrong with that! For, Mani Shankar has merged Indian mythology in the plot in an attempt to suit Indian sensibilities. Unfortunately, the story makes sense, but the screenplay does not. You just don't relate to it!

Technical jargons and pretentious vocabulary such as genetic mutation, thought transmissions and electromagnetic fields are incorporated as part of dialogues [all these terms are mouthed in English language, mind you!], without even explaining to the viewer [in layman's lingo] what these terms actually mean. Worse, there's a heavy usage of Sanskrit throughout, which will be difficult for an average cinegoer to decipher.

The film abounds in gloss; in fact that's the only area the film scores marks in. The stunts between Dutt and Shetty the first time they come face to face, or towards the finale are brilliantly executed. The storm effect in Kabir Bedi's ashram, when the demon tries to overpower Bipasha, also keeps the viewer enthralled.

But the technician in Mani Shankar overpowers the storyteller in him completely. The film offers some hitherto unseen special effects to the Indian viewer, but how one wishes the maker would've narrated the film in a language that would've been understood universally.

Though the basic concept of the film [good versus evil] is interesting, the narrative and the sequence of events are not. Although the film starts off very well, the narrative tends to get confusing after a point. One misses an impeccably woven character drama with a profound emotional dimension.

Besides special effects, the film works in a big way in the cinematography [T. Surendra Reddy], action [Abbas Ali Moghul] and background score [Sashi Preetam] departments. However, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music is strictly okay, with just one song fitting in the narrative 'Ishq Khudai' which will be loved for its erotic flavour.

RUDRAKSH rests on Sanjay Dutt and Suniel Shetty's shoulders and both enact their parts with utmost sincerity. Dutt seems to be enjoying his work and it shows on screen. Shetty too is up to the mark. The get-ups of both Dutt and Shetty would also be appreciated.

Bipasha Basu does an okay job, while Isha Koppikar leaves an impression in a negative role. Kabir Bedi is alright. Nigar Khan sizzles in the dance track.

On the whole, RUDRAKSH proves the adage 'All that glitters is not gold' absolutely right. The film has gloss, no soul, which will take a toll on its overall business.

Rudraksh 1.5 Taran Adarsh 20040213

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