Where is director Abhishek Sharma who made that thrilling, semi-authentic feature film called Pokhran? Here was another chance at the cinematic re-reaction of a semi-real situation that plumbs the depths of the waters between India’s southern tip and Sri Lanka. But what the director dives in and comes up with is a humourless, unenjoyable expedition that told its papad-thin story in the trailer itself.
When archaeologist Aryan Kulshreshta (Akshay Kumar) announces, “I only believe in what can be proven,” and professor-wife Gayatri (Nushrratt Bharuccha) delivers a classroom brand lecture on the dangers of toying with faith and religion, the final emergence of aastha in the nastik hero is as assured as monsoon potholes on a Mumbai road.
The clock is ticking. On the one hand is a verdict that’s about to be delivered in the Supreme Court on the veracity of Lord Rama and his helpers having built the Ram Setu. If it can’t be proven with evidence, Adam’s Bridge (as it is also called) will be declared a natural bridge which can be demolished without affecting anybody’s religious sentiments. A cabal of politicians, bureaucrats and businessman have a vested interest in distancing Ram and Hanuman from Ram Setu. After a series of unengaging ups and downs in his career which have little relevance to the bridge, Aryan is packed off by the cabal to bring home evidence that will swing the SC in its favour.
But once Aryan gets a whiff of the plot that’s boiling in Delhi and the reality of religious faith, it’s a race for him to gather proof of the bridge that was built by the Gods to cross over to Ravan’s land.
A strong story, potent with the possibility of nail-biting thrill like an Indiana Jones or one of Tom Hanks’ Dan Brown adventures, takes on the tone of a chant rendered without devotion. Between writers Chandraprakash Dwivedi and Abhishek Sharma they rustle up such a bland screenplay that there’s no flush of excitement in any of the sequences. Not even when Aryan and team come up with the interesting idea of moving to Lanka to find proof of Ravan and trace his link to Lord Ram as their clinching proof.
There is no astounding technical wizardry or musical score either.
Akshay Kumar’s performance is as professional as the man is but there’s a dispassionate cheerlessness about the way long-haired Aryan goes about unearthing evidence. All additions on the sidelines like Sandra (Jacqueline Fernandez) are so effete that they make no impact, except the mysterious AP (Satyadev Kancharana) who has an effervescence and charm of his own. If only the rest of the film exhibited similar qualities, it wouldn’t be left to Jai Shree Ram alone to bring in the audience. PS: A nice touch of Aryan cooking and doing household chores when wife has to go to college gets lost after he’s victorious. He asks for chai and there’s wife saying, ‘laayeee’. Like a baieeee.
Watch Ram Setu Trailer: