Quick Review : Saaho ( Tamil)

By Rinku Gupta

UV Creations' Saaho starring Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor in the lead, directed by Sujeeth and releasing in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi was a much awaited film, especially due to its high budget and being Prabhas' first ( pan-Indian) release post Baahubali.

Expectations hit the sky with the grand all India promotions by the team. The film has released today in 3 languages.
The story ( briefly put, without spoilers) is about a Mumbai police officer Ashok Chakravarthy ( Prabhas) who takes up the case of missing money and a black box that belongs to the dead international gangster of Waaji, Roy ( Jackie Shroff in a brief role). Amrita Nair ( Shraddha Kapoor) is another cop, a collegue who also works in Ashok's team.

Devraj ( Chunky Pandey) is the blood thirsty don of Waaji, who has an axe to grind with the new don, Roy's son Vishwank ( Arun Vijay) because Roy had usurped his place and become don, chosen by Devraj's own father ( Tinnu Anand). Kalki ( Mandira Bedi) is the chief legal advisor of this deadly gang that has meetings in swanky board rooms in.

But things are not what they seem. Is Ashok Chakvarthy actually who he seems to be? Who is he actually ? In a game of cat and mouse and in between songs, romance, gun fights and hi -octane stunts, the story moves across the seas, across timelines and with several characters being added as we go along.
At around 171 minutes the film is an endless exercice in slick sets ( kudos Sabu Cyril), eye popping stunts with weapons, machines, cars, heavy vehicles and bulldozers, tankers ( crushing cars) of every kind, across bridges, roads and even the desert, moving in between land and sky with flying Jet men and helicopters. The hi- octane stunt scenes are no doubt the highlights of the film, with the hard work showing through, especially in the climax portions.

But with a screenplay that goes around in circles, twists that are one too many, actors more in swag mode than emoting, and stunts around the corner at the drop of a hat, the action scenes become tedious to watch in places. The story is a strain to keep track of. Long winded back stories ( some going back to childhood by Chunky Pandey's character) leave you impatient at times. Its difficult to connect with most of the characters.

Prabhas looks good, but loads of swag and slow dialogues, prove to be distractions in the screenplay , especially when the cops are supposed to be on the heels of the bad guys. Sujeeth has stretched some scenes immeasurably, making you wish the characters would just get on with thier jobs.( For instance, in one scene why does a cop like Amrita who wants to prove herself, when chasing the bad guys in a pub, get terribly drunk, sing and dance and loose track of the villain ?) Though they look good in the songs, the chemistry between Prabhas and Shraddha leaves much to be desired.  Shraddha is a supposed to be a cop but doesn't have much to do except be guided or saved by the hero at almost every step.

Arun Vijay is at his best in an important role and the one real character apart from Jackie Shroff who doesnt feel ' plastic'.  One does wish Jackie had a longer screen presence. Neil Nitin Mukesh is adequate as is Mandira Bedi.

To its credit, Saaho has songs which are shot on exotic locales and are aesthetically picturised by cameraman Madhie. The lavish scale, high production values, slick packaging, hi - octane stunts ( some by Hollywood's Kenny Bates) especially in the climax scenes, and Prabhas' endearingly towering screen presence, his shift from good cop to ' bad boy' with effortless ease, his persona and physique that make his reducing giants to pulp highly believable, all contribute to making Saaho worth a one time watch, both for the effort of every technical department and ambitious scale of the project.  

Prabhas Saaho
Shraddha Kapoor Amrita Nair
Arun Vijay Vishwak
Neil Nitin Mukesh Ashok Chakravarthy
Chunky Pandey Devraj
Jackie Shroff Roy
Mahesh Manjrekar Prince
Lal Ibrahim
Murali Sharma David
Tinu Anand Prithviraj
Mandira Bedi Kalki

Direction Sujeeth Reddy
Production V. Vamsi Krishna Reddy & Pramod Upplapati
Story Sujeeth Reddy
Screenplay Sujeeth Reddy
Dialogues K.G.R. Ashok
Co-Writers Ashwin Madasu & Anil Kumar Upadyaula
Cinematography Mathivanan Raju
Editor Sreekar Prasad
Visual Effects RC Kamala Kannan
Choreography Vaibhavi Merchant, Raju Sundaram
Costume Designers Thota Vijay Bhaskar, Leepakshi Ellawadi
Sound Designer Sync Cinema
D.I. B2H Studios
CFO Prashant Gorjilla
Executive Producer N Sundeep
Co-producer P.S. Shyam
Background Score Ghibran
Music Tanishk Bagchi, Guru Randhawa, Baadshah, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy 
Lyrics Madhan Karky
Casting Directors Aadore Mukherjee
Action Directors Kenny Bates, Peng Zhang, Bob Brown, Stunt Silva, Ram Laxman, Dhilip Subbarayan
Make up Design Kamlesh Shinde, Sharad Pawar,

Hair Design Rohan Jagtap

Visual Effect Supervisors M. Ganesh Murthy, N. Deepak

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