Radhe Shyam movie review: Nothing makes sense in Prabhas and Pooja Hegde's film about a palmist in love
Radhe Shyam movie review: Prabhas and Pooja Hegde's film is packed with romance, songs, VFX, grand outdoors but not a lot of logic or good writing.
A renowned palmist, Vikramaditya, predicts that the country's prime minister would declare Emergency in India, and it happen. In another instance, he tells a leading businessman to forget about politics and focus on taking over his family business. That man's father dies exactly when the palmist said he would. He also rightly predicts that a train he just stepped out of, will meet with an accident, killing everyone onboard. (Also read: Radhe Shyam gets mixed response from fans, some call it 'unbearable’)
By now, I was convinced that Radha Krishna Kumar's Radhe Shyam's unique plot will serve us with something never-seen-before. Well, this is the least Prabhas fans would expect after a masterpiece like Baahubali. But, in no time, the film takes a turn towards sappy romance while still trying to fit in an unexplained twist wherever possible. It ends up becoming the cliche that we are perhaps most tired of seeing in Indian cinema.
Palmist Vikramaditya aka Aditya (Prabhas) and doctor Prerna (Pooja Hedge) have different belief systems. One believes in fate, destiny and that everything is written, while the other rather live with the rules of science and logic. But their love defies all logic and that's where Radhe Shyam falters. Had it stuck to the novel idea it began with and made something intriguing out of it, Radhe Shyam could have been forgiven for trying to experiment, however unsuccessful it may have been at it. Switching it entirely into a period romance just didn't work. And don't even bother thinking why the title was Radhe Shyam, for I didn't see any logic even there.
Aditya, despite trying hard to not get into a 'relationship' and only stick to 'flirtationship' because he's convinced he has no love line in his hand, falls in love with Prerna. As he hopes for a long life with her, fate has something else in store for them.
Set in the 1970's Europe with pristine and scenic views, Radhe Shyam is beautifully decked up with old world charm giving it a fairytale touch. Cinematographer Manoj Paramahamsa has captured the gorgeous locales and lanes of Italy and Georgia in the most extravagant way. Each scene is a visual spectacle leaving you mesmerised with its backdrop. Even the houses and bedrooms of the film's lead characters are lavish. The film is mounted on such a big scale with VFX that is top class. I only wish equal attention to detail was given to writing too because a well presented dish serves no purpose without an equally good taste.
Radhe Shyam suffers from frail and unconvincing writing. You want to believe in events as the story unfolds, but at times, they seem too juvenile and things just don't add up. Prabhas and Pooja's characters arcs needed a lot more depth and nuances. Even after 140 minutes, we know nothing about Aditya's backstory, his rise to fame as a palmist or his family dynamics. His best friend (Kunal Roy Kapoor) stays with him in the same house, but we know nothing about him either. Bhagyashree as his onscreen mom is sweet in the little screen time she gets, but again, she doesn't add much to the story. On the other hand, Prerna has a big family — father, mother, sister, grandma — but we hardly get to meet them, barring a few scenes with her 'chachu' (Sachin Khedekar).
Prabhas as the palmist seems a bit awkward at times, however, it definitely has worked hard on his Hindi diction since Saaho three years ago. He is extremely good looking in some scenes and just the perfect prince charming you want to see on screen. He brings in a great balance of toughness and vulnerability through his expressions in portions that require him to do so. Pooja and delivers a decent performance. She performs the emotional sequences with a lot of maturity and conviction. Having said that, it's the poor writing that fails the actors in the film.
Given that Radhe Shyam is touted to be a music romantic drama, it scores well on that front. The Hindi soundtrack composed by Mithoon and Manan Bhardwaj deserves applause. The songs and background music goes well with the scenes and storyline. The songs have been beautifully picturised and are soothing to watch.
To sum up, Radhe Shyam is quite an average watch and while the story would leave you disappointed, it's the charming Prabhas that might just give you a reason to watch it. There's a sequence to take you back to Titanic, but don't think much about it, for the Hollywood film didn't sacrifice logic for heart.