As a film buff, I've watched a number of films over the years.
A few films continue to remain etched in my memory even after years have elapsed [irrespective of their box-office outcome]. I look back at those films fondly. I devoted three hours of my life to each of those films and in turn, I achieved immense satisfaction and contentment that just cannot be measured and expressed in mere words.
But a few films did leave me feeling exasperated, infuriated, frustrated and distressed. I felt numb after the screening ended. I was upset not only because the film failed to excite the viewer in me, but because the director seemed to have let go of a golden opportunity to enthral the viewer.
RUDRAKSH belongs to the latter category.
Given the kind of money spent on the film by its lion-hearted producers [by way of assembling a prominent star cast, shelling out a packet for 75 minutes of special effects, by aggressively promoting the film in the print and television media], director Mani Shankar could've achieved so much more.
But RUDRAKSH skids, slides and tumbles, courtesy a poor script. The film is a shining example of technique overpowering script, of form superseding content.
Mani Shankar [who has been credited with story, screenplay, dialogues, SFX, editing, direction] ought to know that snazzy, flamboyant and ostentatious special effects and magnificent visuals are never the first choice for a viewer while watching a flick.
Exotic and eye-catching visuals are mere garnish to a meal. But if the meal itself is semi-cooked or half burnt, no amount of garnishing works.
I reiterate what I've advocated all these years that a film which is plain mediocre in the technical department may still work wonders if the narrative is strong enough to keep the viewer hooked on to the screen.
I can support this statement with a number of examples of films which were poor in technique but they struck a chord with the viewer thanks to a cohesive script.
A director ought to be a convincing storyteller, he should be able to narrate the story [it could be an oft-repeated drama] in the most simplistic format for the common man to decipher.
That's where RUDRAKSH fails.
Prior to its release, there was talk that RUDRAKSH is India's answer to Wachowski Brothers' MATRIX or Bryan Singer's X-MEN. People were also expecting RUDRAKSH to make an effort to bring the film industry out of the red. Logically, one attaches big expectations with big films.
Regrettably, RUDRAKSH has only added to the woes of the distribution and exhibition fraternity. Sad, a golden opportunity is lost!
'I – PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN'
The other release of the week, I – PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN, hasn't rejuvenated the hopes of the film industry either.
More than anything else, one of the key factors that went against the film was its title. You'll be surprised to know that a number of people I interacted with in the last few days didn't get the title right.
A few felt it was titled I, a few said its INDIAN, a few even went to the extent of calling it PROUD INDIAN. And yes, a few weren't even aware that the film had released.
Another factor that seemed to go against the film is its violent theme. Agreed, the film depicts a harsh reality that exists in the West, but the audiences in India found the concept alien. Besides the [crude] violence depicted in the film made the family audiences stay away from theatres screening the film.