Saaho movie cast: Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor, Murali Sharma, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Chunky Panday, Mahesh Manjrekar, Mandira Bedi, Prakash Belawadi, Arun Vijay, Jackie Shroff, Evelyn Sharma
Saaho movie director: Sujeeth
Saaho movie rating: One and a half stars
Saaho starts with the promise of a slick, high-octane actioner. Impossibly high sky-scrapers, all gilt-edged. A bunch of extremely international baddies, all togged out in designer black. Villains-in-swanky dens, swish molls, cops-in-plain-clothes-and-uniforms, bad guys who may be good, good guys who may, gasp, be very bad indeed, all in search of a huge stash of cash. And helmed by Prabhas, who strode across the gigantic Baahubali canvas, cleaving a mighty path to mythic victory.
Everything a thriller needs is in here, and you settle down, fully prepared for a non-stop, breathless, firing-from-all-cylinders ride. But Saaho turns out to be a damp squib.
Characters come and go, whizzing past us so fast that we never feel invested. Cars are blown up like there’s no tomorrow. Growling men show up with bazookas. A Roman-style arena, complete with a duel, is conjured up (don’t ask). Clearly, those responsible for the plot (what’s that) believe that if they throw everything at us, some of it will stick.
Sadly, very little does. Prabhas, who with his gentle smile and a hewn-from-rock-built that made us gasp in Baahubali, gets a bare-bodied moment here too. He also gets to fly off cliffs, jump off skyscrapers, drive fancy cars, and scatter some light-hearted lines as he romances female cop Anitha (Kapoor), while singing and dancing in picturesque locales.
Prabhas is perfectly suited to throwing sharp things at tattooed guys built like trucks, and mowing down a phalanx of heavies without expending too much effort. And he does have an ability to underplay and be droll. What’s also nice is that his distinctly South Indian accent is not hidden in the dubbed version: our heroes are finally pan-Indian. When he is being easy and light are the only watchable moments in this mammoth enterprise. And also when Chunky Panday gets off a few good lines, and delivers them with the ease of a veteran.
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The rest, including the miscast Kapoor as a canny sleuthing cop, go by in a blur. Jackie Shroff is wasted in a brief cameo, and that’s a pity because he brings a loucheness to the table that no one else has. Bedi, costumed in gorgeous earth-coloured saris, doesn’t have a single evil bone in her body, and Neil Nitin Mukesh becomes just one more hapless character who is left to flounder in this never-ending rat-rat-a-tat-tat, biff-bang-thud, oh-there-goes-another-body-but-who-cares enterprise.
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