IMAGINE ALL those Hollywood blockbusters "Harry Potter", "Indiana Jones", "Lord Of The Rings", "Matrix" (all of them) "The Return Of The Mummies" and some of those Chinese/Hong Kong ventures with some glorious stories of yore with ramifications in the present! And now, imagine bits of all these in a Bollywood venture with just the storyline mired in Indian mythology. Add some really good special effects and you have Karma Entertainment/Bhairav Films' "Rudraksh".
It would appear that director Mani Shankar ("16 December") has been so taken up with bits and pieces of several films that he feels driven to utilise them somehow in this venture, which he has written, directed, edited, supervised and executed the special effects. And while it is very commendable that he wants to give audiences something not seen before (unlike many films with really tacky special effects) and that he wants to combine science fiction and mythology, the poor man gets completely lost in his own quagmire of ideas. The story just does not know how to move and meet its own logic.
Long-haired Varun (Sanjay Dutt) has healing powers that he himself does not understand. He is able to take on the pain and wounds of people who come to him for succour. He crumbles but only for a while for he gets back to normal and moves on. Then there are things that go beyond the normal and routine and these are what Dr. Gayathri (Bipasha Basu) is exploring so that with her findings she will eventually win a Nobel Prize! To go on with the narration as research progresses, Varun is thrown into some things that go back in time when Ravana (yeah, yeah of the Ramayana fame) left a legacy of the Rudraksh. The kind that can give its possessor powers unlimited and unimaginable to the extent that it can create an entirely new aggressive species of human beings or rather recreate the rakshas era.
And in the wrong hands like Bhuria (Sunil Shetty) it can be disastrous. Bhuria hopes to create riots in the world (?) and he has as his consort Lali (Isha Koppikar). Thus comes into being the eternal fight between the dark forces of evil and pure good.
And so this battle takes Varun on a long journey into Sri Lanka into the lost kingdom of the asura king Ravana and into the future where science shows him how the Rudraksh is not just a bead but also a hologram with the power to create and mutate.
The film is slick. In production values and in its conception of scenes. Concepts such as thought transmissions, electro magnetic fields high tech scans and gadgetry are flung around at regular intervals with all the performers assuming grave expressions and gaits. The lost kingdom in Sri Lanka looks like a cardboard cut out, but in general cinematography by T. Surendra Reddy comes into its own especially the black storm in the ashram with Kabir Bedi doing a Dumbledore look-alike. Music by Shankar, Loy and Ehsan is disappointing and there is not much one would remember of it. Background score by Shashi Preetam is promising. Sanjay Dutt tries hard but somewhere one wonders if he is convinced about his role.
Sunil Shetty is not too bad the avenging angel mood seems to fit him well.
Bipasha Basu as it stands cannot act. But that won't matter if she continues to look the way she does. Isha Koppikar as Shetty's appendage does a reasonable job.
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