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Radhe Shyam:  All Hollow Posturing No Substance!



Radhe Shyam

Radhe Shyam

Vikramaditya, a world-renowned palmist, believes love does not exist in his stars, until he meets Prerana. But when destiny tries to pull them apart, will love prevail?

Rating: * ½

Radhe Shyam Review: Vikramaditya , our hero in this Tsunami of a film, can tell the future. He reads  Mrs Gandhi(yes THE Mrs G)’s palm with a monkish calm,and declares that she would soon declare an emergency in the country. The  onscreen Mrs G  raises an  eyebrow into her  shrub of  whitened hair and asks  Vikramaditya, ‘Do you  even know what you are saying?’

This is  exactly  the question that comes  to mind many a times as  one sits  transfixed to the very strange goings-on  in  Radhe Shyam. Is this  bird or  a plane or  a pain in the nether regions?

Tell tell.What is  this  meant to be?Prabhas  the  superstar  who can  do no wrong, says it is a  “pure” love story. But sorry, there is nothing pure about  the  style in which writer-director Radha Krishna  Kumar has mounted his monumentally misfired romance,so off-kilter  it will put you off palmistry and  all things mistry including chemistry, palmistry and Amit Mistry for all times to come.

Yes , I am trying to be facetious. It is  a survival  instinct I use when I am in deep pain.Like losing a  loved  one to Covid. Or  watching a  film so unbearably selfimportant  and  so laughably  intent  on  being intense that  the whole  endeavour seems designed  to  bring down every  love trope that you have ever seen  in any  film on love from Romeo &Juliet to Love Aaj Kal.

By the way, Radhe Shyam is  not Love Aaj Kal. It is love in the 1970s   set in the mongrelized  imagination  of  some strange art designer who    suggests  a  marriage  of baroque with  plastic.The  costumes are largely gauzy gowns for  Pooja Hedge  and light polo necks with  tight trousers  for Prabhas  accompanied  by several accessories  like scarves belts , a  brooch ,  antique  phone-sets and fancy crockery that suggest  an affluent lifestyle.

Sadly the  frames  convey a sterile  emptied-out  feeling, as if  the  art designer and  other technicians  had built a lifesize doll’s house with Barbie   emotions to match.Prabhas and  Ms Hegde whisper sweet-nothings, literally , to one  another: it’s all about posing posturing and  masquerading .

This is  all a masquerade  of  real love, with  high-falutin  ideas on  destiny  impinging on the  immaculate  artificiality  of  the  going-on like  a dollop of  homemade honey  thrown over  a messy gooey melting  mound of  factory-made chocolate ice-cream.The lead players  look  completely uninvolved with one  another  and  with the  ersatz  intensity and  intimacy that  the  storytelling generates like  electric fire logs, with leaping flames that are just for show.

As for the supporting cast ,some  good actors like  Sachin Khedekar, Sathyaraj and Jagapathi Babu are reduced to  mere caricatures.  The hospital where  a part of the  drama unfolds  resembles   a museum  in transition  with every  disease  from hypochondria  to cancer  converted into  comic relief.

At the end only one of the  two  love birds are  destined to live. And we really don’t care which one   it is.

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