Rating: Two stars
It would be a challenge to encapsulate the plot of Saaho in a couple of lines, because it wouldn’t stretch that long. The Sujeeth film, reportedly made with an insane budget of Rs 350 crore, seems to have at its starting point a list of Hollywood films from which to copy action scenes; what’s the use of story, character development and coherence, when there are bones to crunch, automobiles of all sizes to crash and buildings to topple over? Obviously overwhelmed by the sheer scale of action and destruction dreamed up by the director, nobody thought to ask for a script.
There is a robbery in Mumbai, carried out by a bunch of people who are assigned a few harmless tasks by an unknown person, and they have no idea that they were used to commit a crime. The police team is told an “intelligent” undercover cop will be sent to crack the case, and Ashok (Prabhas) turns up. Mostly he leers at expressionless, unblinking female cop Amritha (Shraddha Kapoor) and says things like, “What’s a pretty girl like you doing in the police force?” She is supposedly a cop serious about her work, but when the film takes one of its many needless and aggravating song breaks, she is dressed in either skimpy dresses or fluttery gowns with long trains. (Other under-dressed white girls writhe in the background too, and Jaqueline Fernadez gets a minute of two of dancing time.)
Everything revolves around a black box than unlocks a fortune belonging to the Roy Group led by Jackie Shroff who is killed right at the start. His place is taken by Vishwank (Arun Vijay), which is resented by Devraj (Chunky Pandey) and his cohorts. Their HQ is in the fictional computer generated city called Waaji, on the outskirts of which is a dusty brown village populated by tribals with primitive weapons. But this bridge to Mad Max territory is crossed much later, after all kinds of CGI and futuristic gizmos are displayed.
There is mistaken identity, double cross, lots of shootouts by a multi-racial cast of junior artistes—including one ferocious WWF kind of guy who keeps popping up. It would take more attention than the film deserves to keep track of who is who, doing what, where and, dammit, why? By the time the film draws to a close, one wonders what was that extended action sequence in the beginning all about, in a chawl that hides a python, a panther, a slaughter house and an akhada, just so that the hero can display his considerable fighting skills.
This is Prabhas’s first outing since the Baahubali films, and, well, maybe he should leave the six-pack flaunting to Tiger Shroff and do roles where he can use his talent and undoubtedly attractive screen presence, which dwarfs all the other actors (Neil Nitin Mukesh, Mahesh Manjrekar, Tinnu Anand, Lal, Mandira Bedi, Murli Sharma are also around), who are not given much to do anyway, except stand back and let Prabhas shine. The film is just a tragic waste of money, expertise and effort; there is also over confidence that indicates the possibility of a sequel!