Radhe Shyam REVIEW: Prabhas and Pooja Hegde starrer is simplistic love story that lacks soul
Director: Radha Krishna Kumar
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 2.5 stars
From Laila-Manju to Romeo-Juliet, the tug of war between fate and love has always been a tried and tested formula. In that sense, Radhe Shyam starring Prabhas and Pooja Hegde rehashes the same formula for a story set in a European setting. Both the lovers are destined to meet on a train journey where one falls in love, only to discover that the love of his life suffers from a chronic illness. Torn between wanting to live in the present and being discouraged by the future, Radhe Shyam takes a simple linear narrative.
Vikramaditya (Prabhas) is a palmist who of course can predict destiny. He meets Prerna (Pooja) during a train journey and the duo eventually fall in love. No great love story is incomplete without multiple tests by destiny and Radhe Shyam is no different. There is nothing novel about the story, except that this is set amid a European backdrop which adds to the visual appeal of the film. In fact, one of the strongest things about the film is its cinematography and visual richness, which tries to compensate for a rather dull story.
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Prabhas plays a rather decent character, with no major dept or arch. The actor pulls off the emotional dilemma and scenes with ease and looks his best onscreen. There is a level of freshness that he adds to Vikramaditya, which makes you sympathetic to his character. Pooja, on the other hand, is great individually as well. She brings a level of innocence to Prerna which is endearing.
Even though the actors work great individually, their chemistry somehow doesn’t translate onscreen. The lack of chemistry between the lead pair is one of the biggest put-off for Radhe Shyam. For a love story to work, the chemistry needs to work onscreen but that doesn’t seem to happen in this wonderfully mounted film leaving us with a soulless story.
The music of the film is a good addition. The film wastes a good amount of the first half to establish the individual characters and their bond, but somehow the disconnect between the characters and chemistry makes it boring and passable. The second half though starts on an interesting note, loses steam eventually. The editing seems shoddy and misplaced. The pre-climax with the tsunami and ship could have been a golden chance to make the film memorable at the least but the makers even get that wrong, leaving us with a Grade C version of the Titanic which no one wants to remember.
Kudos to Manoj Paramahamsa for capturing the scenes with a cinematic prism that stays. However, I hoped the same efforts were taken to work on the story as well, which falters big time.
Watch it for Prabhas and his dashing screen presence.