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Kalki 2898 AD Review: Visual Brilliance

Kalki 2898 AD Review: Visual Brilliance

Movie: Kalki 2898 AD
Rating: 3/5
Vyjayanthi Movies
Cast: Prabhas, Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Haasan, Deepika Padukone, Disha Patani, Shobana, Malavika Nair, Saswata Chatterjee, Anna Ben, Brahmanandam, Rajendra Prasad, Pasupathy, Vijay Deverakonda, Dulquer Salmaan, and others
Additional Dialogues: Sai Madhav Burra
Music: Santhosh Narayanan
DOP: Djordje Stojiljkovic
Editor: Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao
Production Designer: Nitin Zihani Choudhary
Action stunts: King Solomon, Andy Long, Peter Heins, Satish, Anbariv, Nick Powell
Co-Producers: Swapna Dutt and Priyanka Dutt
Producer: Ashwin Dutt
Story - Screenplay - Dialogues - Direction: Nag Ashwin
Release Date: June 27, 2024

"Kalki 2898 AD" has garnered significant attention since the release of its first teaser. The entire Indian film industry believes that the film has the potential to set new box office records. The excitement is fueled by the film's content, director Nag Ashwin’s vision, and Prabhas' stardom.

Let us see if "Kalki 2898 AD" lives up to the hype and becomes a landmark film in the Telugu film industry.

The story commences with the Kurukshetra war during the era of the Mahabharata. Ashwatthama (Amitabh Bachchan) was bestowed with the curse of immortality by Lord Krishna. So, he is bound to fulfill his penance by safeguarding the infant when God reincarnates as Kalki, which is predicted to occur 6000 years in the future.

Fast forward to 6000 years, in Kashi, people endure a life of suffering and aspire to relocate to Complex, a place resembling heaven that is governed by the supreme authority of Yaskin (Kamal Haasan).

The Project K, focused on extracting serum from pregnant women who exceed 150 days of pregnancy, is now being carried out by Yaskin. One of the pregnant women involved in the project, named Sumati (Deepika Padukone), manages to escape from the facility and ends up in Kaasi.

Ashwatthama is convinced that Sumati is pregnant with the god he has been eagerly anticipating. In order to obtain a reward of 5 million units, the bounty hunter Bhairava (Prabhas) pledges to retrieve Sumati and return her to the complex.

The remaining of the story revolves around the discovery of the intricate plot that encompasses all of these characters and three distinct worlds including Shambala.

Artistes’ Performances:
Despite having a large ensemble cast, the film revolves primarily around four characters. Prabhas appears to have had a fun time playing Bhairava, a character who combines super hero traits with a fun personality. Prabhas had little time in the first half of the film, but his role reaches its full potential at the climax. The true identity of his role is ultimately disclosed in the climax episode. Prabhas's role deviates from the conventional hero archetype.

Amitabh Bachchan gets a full-length role that is roughly equal to the lead hero Prabhas. He portrays Ashwatthama's youthful appearance as well as the old man waiting for Kalki's birth. Amitabh Bachchan appears agile for his age, and his ferocious performance is the main highlight. The lengthy fight scene between Prabhas and Amitabh Bachchan is a treat.

Deepika Padukone gives a convincing performance as a pregnant woman.

Kamal Haasan, who plays Yaskin, appears extremely briefly in comparison to the other performers in the plot, yet he is quite powerful and has a significant influence. His getup and acting style reflect the iconic actor's immense acting capabilities.

Disha Patani is wasted. Veteran actor Sobhana brings seriousness to the proceedings.

Vijay Deverakonda has an excellent cameo performance as Arjuna. Dulquer Salmaan, Mrunal Thakur, Rajamouli, RGV, and others have made merely adequate cameo appearances.

Other actors, including Rajendra Prasad, Pasupathy, Malavika Nair, Saswata Chatterjee, Anna Ben, and Brahmanandam, do justice to their roles.

Keerthy Suresh's voice for the Bujji persona is a huge plus.

Technical Excellence:
The visuals, particularly the amazing effects and cinematography, are outstanding. The film provides a visually engaging experience.

In addition to its astounding visual effects and exceptional cinematography, the film has an excellent production design. The sets, futuristic vehicles, and other props all merit high praise. The producers have also invested a huge amount of money in order to attain spectacular results.

The songs composed by Santosh Narayanan are quite subpar, and even the background soundtrack is not up to the mark. Dialogues are fine.

Last 30 minutes
The merge of mythology and sci-fi
Amitabh Bachchan’s role and performance
Grand production design
Connecting all dots rightly in the end

Flat screenplay 
Lack of emotional connect

In terms of concept and genre, "Kalki 2898 AD" is unquestionably a fresh entry in Telugu and Indian cinema. The goal is to tell Indian mythologies in the style of Hollywood superhero movies, similar to the Marvel films and other superhero comics that currently dominate the worldwide box office. In this regard, director Nag Ashwin captures the essential premise effectively.

In the Mahabharata, Krishna cursed Ashwatthama with immortality, and the curse is only lifted with the birth of Kalki. Using this narrative, Nag Ashwin crafts a plot for a sci-fi action movie. To make it relevant to today's audiences, he incorporates elements from superhero films that we've seen in many Hollywood blockbusters.

A dystopian setting, a villain executing a rogue project, a seemingly selfish but ultimately kind-hearted lead actor, a heroine in a rescue role, multiple characters with superhero abilities, futuristic vehicles, and unusual firearms are some recurring themes found in Marvel films, the Mad Max series, and Star Wars films.

All of these elements are present in "Kalki 2898 AD," but Nag Ashwin adds an Indian twist, connecting everything to our mythological figures and making the action more credible.

However, here's the issue: while "Kalki 2898 AD" offers a unique experience for the Telugu/Indian audience, it may give those who have watched many Hollywood blockbusters a sense of déjà vu. Furthermore, some scenes evoke memories of Ayan Mukherjee's "Brahmastra."

The first part of the film focuses on establishing the characters and the main theme, but not much engaging watch. The major action unfolds in the second half. Although the initial portions of the second half may feel unsatisfactory, the last 35 minutes provide a thrilling experience with revelations about Prabhas' character and the final battle. These scenes showcase Prabhas' true heroic spirit and set the stage for the sequel. All the plot points are well-connected by the end.

Due to his lack of experience with such large-scale hero films, Nag Ashwin was unable to give Prabhas adequate screen time, which may not sit well with his fans. However, Prabhas compensates with his entertaining performance and overall screen presence. The true standout is Amitabh Bachchan, who is fantastic in his role.

Some characters have overly long screen time, while crucial ones are too brief. Disha Patani's character is poorly written and presented, and Raya's character lacks significant value.

Overall, "Kalki 2898 AD," if viewed with an open mind, provides enough entertainment and offers something unique within its confines. Those expecting a traditional hero-centric film might be disappointed. Nonetheless, the film is a novel attempt in Telugu cinema, as this type of sci-fi mythological drama has never been made before. It is primarily aimed at urban audiences and may not resonate with viewers in smaller towns. Director Nag Ashwin showcases moments of brilliance alongside moments of ineffectiveness.

Bottom line: Novel Attempt

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