a renowned palmist, vikramaditya, predicts that the country’s prime minister would declare a state of emergency in india, and so it happened. in another case, he tells an important businessman to forget about politics and concentrate on taking over the family business. that man’s father dies exactly when the palmist said he would. he also correctly predicts that a train he just got out of will meet with an accident, killing everyone on board. (also read: radhe shyam gets mixed responses from fans, some call him ‘unbearable’)
by now i was convinced that radha krishna kumar’s unique radhe shyam plot will serve us with something never seen before. well this is the least prabhas fans would expect after a masterpiece like baahubali. but, before long, the movie takes a turn toward cheesy romance while trying to fit in an unexplained twist wherever possible. it ends up becoming the cliché that we are perhaps most tired of seeing in Indian cinema.
palmist vikramaditya aka aditya (prabhas) and doctor prerna (pooja hedge) have different belief systems. one believes in destiny, destiny and that everything is written, while the other prefers to live by the rules of science and logic. But their love defies all logic, and that’s where Radhe Shyam falters. If he had stuck to the novel idea he started with and made something intriguing out of it, Radhe Shyam could have been forgiven for trying to experiment, no matter how unsuccessful he was. changing it entirely to a period romance just didn’t work. and don’t even bother to think why the title was radhe shyam, because I didn’t see any logic even there.
aditya, despite striving not to have a ‘relationship’ and limit himself to ‘flirting’ because he is convinced that he doesn’t have a love line in hand, falls in love with prerna. while he hopes to have a long life with her, fate has something else in store for them.
Set in 1970s Europe with unspoiled and picturesque views, Radhe Shyam is beautifully decorated with old world charm giving it a fairy tale touch. cinematographer manoj paramahamsa has captured the beautiful places and streets of italy and georgia in the most extravagant way. each scene is a visual spectacle that leaves you mesmerized by its backdrop. even the houses and bedrooms of the film’s main characters are lavish. the film is cut on such a large scale with vfx that it is first class. I only wish the same attention to detail was given in the writing because a well presented dish is of no use without equally good flavour.
radhe shyam suffers from brittle and unconvincing writing. you want to believe in the events as the story unfolds, but sometimes they seem too childish and things just don’t add up. the prabhas and pooja character arcs needed a lot more depth and nuance. Even after 140 minutes, we know nothing about Aditya’s backstory, his rise to fame as a palmist, or her family dynamics. his best friend (kunal roy kapoor) stays with him in the same house, but we don’t know anything about him either. bhagyashree as her on-screen mother is sweet in what little time she spends on screen, but then again, she doesn’t add much to the story. on the other hand, prerna has a big family—father, mother, sister, grandmother—but we barely know them, except for a few scenes with her ‘chachu’ (sachin khedekar).
Prabhas as the palmist seems a bit awkward at times, however, it definitely has worked hard on his Hindi diction since Saaho three years ago. He is extremely good looking in some scenes and just the perfect prince charming you want to see on screen. He brings in a great balance of toughness and vulnerability through his expressions in portions that require him to do so. Pooja and delivers a decent performance. She performs the emotional sequences with a lot of maturity and conviction. Having said that, it’s the poor writing that fails the actors in the film.
since radhe shyam is promoted as a musical romantic drama, it scores well on that front. The Hindi soundtrack composed by Mithoon and Manan Bhardwaj deserves a round of applause. the songs and background music go well with the scenes and the story. the songs have been beautifully illustrated and are relaxing to watch.
to sum it up, radhe shyam is a pretty average watch and while the story would disappoint you, it’s the lovely prabhas that might give you a reason to watch it. There’s a sequence that will take you back to the Titanic, but don’t think about it too much, because the Hollywood movie didn’t sacrifice logic for heart.