Cast: Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh
The trailer of Saaho starring Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Jackie Shroff, Chunky Panday, and Prakash Belawadi among others seemed enticing enough to make a trip to the theatre nearby. With its high-octane action sequences and some dreamy romance between Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor, does it live up to the promise?
Early on in the movie, the murder of Roy (Jackie Shroff), a gangster trying to turn his illegitimate empire into a legitimate one, and the missing fortune of Rs. 2000 crores, sets his underlings scurrying for the Blackbox that safeguards the missing key. So far, so good. Enter supercop Ashok Chakravarthy (Prabhas) a maverick crimebuster who has many surprises up his sleeves. But, soon the film goes into a muddle between the gamut of gangsters and cops gunning for each other in a place called Waji, and frankly speaking, the only evil one you notice is Chunky Panday.
Most thriller directors know that pulling off a successful thriller is a tightrope balance between pacing the story well and dropping in just enough clues at the right intervals to get the audience involved with every tension-fraught minute of the story unfolding on screen. Sujeeth, the writer and director of Saaho attempts an ambitious action thriller. But, with a succession battle in the gangster world, a cops and robbers story and a love story all thrown together, Saaho ends up being a lumbering saga rather than a taut action-packed potboiler.
As far as star driven vehicles go, it is quite evident that Sujeeth has crafted and customized this film to showcase Prabhas’s prowess to his fans and on that front, he scores well. Prabhas is splendid. Combining romantic charm and intensity of an action hero, he dominates every frame. He can shoot and serenade with equal aplomb –enough to make fans go weak in the knees.
Shraddha Kapoor as Anitha Nair matches up to him on the romance front, but unfortunately, their tracks together are few and far between and interrupted too often with chase and kill sequences. Of the supporting cast, Murali Sharma and Vennela Kishore as Prabhas’s colleagues provide the welcome comic relief, but the talented Prakash Belawadi is wasted, as are others like Neil Nitin Mukesh, Mahesh Manjrekar and Mandira Bedi.
Saaho with its two-hour plus duration is a lengthy film, a surefire recipe for disaster in a thriller. Firmer editing, paring unnecessary sequences and subplots would have resulted in a film vastly more entertaining.
Unfortunately, despite its glitzy packaging, Saaho, because of a choppy, underwritten screenplay and excessive gorefest is a bit of a letdown even for those who love their Hindi movies served with a generous dose of masala. Sigh.