Movie Review : Kalki 2898 AD

 

The film begins with a reference to Lord Krishna's curse on Aswathama ( Amitabh Bachchan) when he commits a grave sin after the kuruskshetra war. He is cursed to suffer a lonely life of  immortality till the next incarnation of the Lord, as Kalki.





6000 years after the Kurukshetra war, the story moves to Kashi which is now the last city on earth. The planet  has been ravaged due to the sins and crimes of man in the Kali Yuga. The world there is ruled by a supreme commander Yaskin ( Kamalhaasan) who gains power from a serum obtained from the  seeding experiments on captured fertile, pregnant women who are killed later. 

Bhairava( Prabhas) is a bounty hunter of rebels, and dreams only of collecting enough funds to one day gain entry into the exotic Complex, controlled by the commander's forces where there is every comfort available, lacking in his present circumstances. To this end he will do anything. 



Meanwhile, an inmate in the complex, Sumathi ( Deepika Padukone) is pregnant, and in danger of her life,  as her pregnancy has crossed 150 days, a time period coveted by Yaskin,  as, such a womb's  serum when painfully extracted, will have special restorative powers for his body. 

 But luckily, Sumathi manages to escape the Complex, aided by Rebels  ( Pasupathi, Anna Ben, Shobhana) to reach the secret city of Shambala, who is awaiting the birth of their saviour, Kalki, whom  they now know is in Sumathi's womb. 

Enroute to Shambala, chased by Yaskin's forces, Sumathi encounters the centuries old Aswathama, who too is awaiting the birth of Kalki, as  only Kalki can deliver him from  Krishna's curse of immortality. 

Apart from the Commander's men chasing them, Aswathama, (who is now the protector of the mother and unborn child), encounters Bhairava, who  chases them, in order  to capture Sumathi and procure the hefty bounty promised in return. 

What happens next? Is Aswathama able to save Sumathi? Does Bhaurava achieve his goals? Does the powerful Yaskin get the serum he craves?

Nag Ashwin has created a spectacular world where the past and future collide into a sci-fi whole, a world he outlines steadily in the first half, establishing hierarchies, character details and the basis for the upcoming drama in the second half.

The first half also establishes  the entire set up of the world of rebels and Shambhala versus the powerful  commander's forces on one part and how the worlds of Aswathama, Sumathi and Bahairava collide.

 The eye for detailing right from the exotic, futuristic sets, vehicles and props to costumes and make-up, is astouding and makes for a visual treat. It also helps  in creating credibilty when  stepping into an unknown futurstic world, for the viewer. 

While Prabhas fits the role of the powerful bounty hunter, the extended dialogues and stunts in the first half, somehow  bring in a sense of repetitiveness and could have been trimmed for a crisper feel. (We saw the Tamil version, so perhaps these portions in theTelugu version could have a treat for the star's fans). The Bujji ( with Keerthi Suresh's voice acting) portions are a touch kids would perhaps enjoy.

 However, Prabhas' character arc and action sequences in the second half  elevate the film to another level,  especially in the face off scenes with Amitabh Bachchan. The drama, action, thrills and surprise elements keep coming right till the end, in am edge-of-the -seat ride. Amitabh Bachchan delivers a powerpacked performance,in a superbly written and conceptualised role, overshadowing everyone,  his best in recent years.

For Deepika  its a solid role and one that brings out the actor in her.  She carries herself with the dignity and assuredness that her role demands and shines in every scene.

There are several fleeting guest appearances of stars and directors from time to time. 

Kamal Haasan's jaw dropping screen moments evoke fear and awe leading up to an immensely powerful climax, with the promise of much more in the sequel of this Kalki Cinematic Universe.

The camerawork and vfx teams along with  sound design, art and costume departments, all elevate the film to international standards. It's tough to decipher the difference between sets and CG work in the film. 

Santhosh Narayanan's bgm hits hard in the second half but one can't help but feel that there are portions where the bgm could have elevated the film more than has been done.

The film demands full attention all through, as Nag Ashwin takes you into a new world with a myriad characters, new situations and apt jargon for a futuristic world.  But once in, he lives up to the promise of a rollercoaster ride filled with drama,emotion and  action.

Verdict: A spectacular cinematic experience.

Rating : 4/5

KALKI 2898 AD - CAST AND CREW:


PRODUCTION - VYJAYANTHI FILMS
PRODUCER – C ASWINI DUTT
RELEASE – SRI LAKSHMI MOVIES – N.V PRASAD
CAST :
PRABHAS as BHAIRAVA
AMITABH BACHCHAN as ASHWATTHAMA
KAMAL HAASAN as SUPREME YASKIN
DEEPIKA PADUKONE as SUMATHI
DISHA PATANI as ROXIE
SHOBHANA as MARIAM
PASUPATHY as VEERAN
BRAHMANANDAM as RAJAN


CREW :
DIRECTOR – NAG ASHWIN
DOP – DJORDJE STOJILJKOVIC
MUSIC – SANTHOSH NARAYANAN
EDITOR – KOTAGIRI VENKATESWARA RAO
BANNER - VYJAYANTHI FILMS
PRODUCED BY – C ASWINI DUTT
RELEASE – SRI LAKSHMI MOVIES – N.V PRASAD


 

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