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‘Padmavyuha’ Movie Review: Pooja Batra’s deep philosophical thriller is nothing but a lazy pretentious film
Nik Kash, Pooja Batra, Ross Turner, Vikki Beretta
Bollywood Bubble Rating
There are films that don’t take themselves too seriously rather, they approach the subject with honesty to tell the story around it then, there’s Padmavyuha. Indulgence looks good only when it’s used effectively but, when your storytelling is driven by the inertia of indulgence, it leads you nowhere. Padmavyuha directed by Raj Krishna suffers from this very syndrome and fails to make any sense whatsoever.
The film talks about an agnostic who turns into a religious extremist as he digs deeper into the religious philosophy by getting lured into a trap set up to brainwash him. The film falls flat in the absence of a well spelt out conflict and poor storytelling laced with pretence. To add insult to the injury, Nikhil Prakash’s portrayal of Professor Shaki Ramdas is far from convincing. The scene where he breaks down is laughable, to say the least, if this was the best take that both the director and the actor could come up with then, I’m petrified to think of what the discarded takes would have been.
Research is not the only thing that works for you when you take up a complex subject. Research is just one part of the process, one needs to convert this primary data into the secondary data of a rock-solid story supported by good visual presentation. Here, the director has not just done a half-hearted work in terms of research, he has also failed to come up with a good story that could connect with the audience despite the character having a good arc. Raj Krishna clearly fails to exploit the arc of his protagonist and the main reason behind this is again the unchecked indulgence.
Pooja Batra, too, has been wasted in the film as she is barely there. It could have been a great opportunity to have an iconic ’90s superstar return to the screens with this film. But that never happened. Same with Jaaved Jaaferi. He too was similarly wasted in a role which could have been created into something much much bigger.
However, he manages to salvage the film as far as the technical aspects are concerned. The past and present events are marked by black and white and coloured sequences, respectively. Looks like someone is a ‘Memento’ fan! The cinematography too is quite well done aided by smooth editing. The sound and folley go a bit off track in some sequences though.
‘Padmavyuha’ is a case of a filmmaker falling hopelessly in love with the subject matter and failing to build a good narrative around it. The result of which is that the point he’s trying to make as a storyteller gets lost in translation from paper to execution. But then, Padmavyuha is not a complete waste of time, it tells how not to tell a story. I am going with 1.5 stars – possibly the half star extra for having Pooja Batra, as one of the cast members.
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