'Ram Setu' review: Akshay Kumar in pursuit of Ram, Ravan and logic

New DelhiWritten By: Shomini SenUpdated: Oct 25, 2022, 05:49 PM IST
main img


Story highlights

'Ram Setu' review: Filmmaker Abhishek Sharma's film has Kumar debunking arguments about Ramayan being fiction and 'scientifically' proving that the famous bridge also known as Adam's bridge was actually made by Lord Ram in order to protect his wife Sita's honour

In Akshay Kumar's universe, everything is possible. An archaeologist can do deep sea diving and operate a submarine without any prior training, can bash up goons mid-air, he can discover a hidden Buddha statue in the middle of an ambush by the Taliban, can decipher manuscripts written during Ravan's rule (yes) - basically play the desi superhero. Filmmaker Abhishek Sharma's 'Ram Setu' has Kumar debunking arguments about Ramayan being fiction and 'scientifically' proving that the famous bridge also known as Adam's bridge was actually made by Lord Ram in order to protect his wife Sita's honour. 

At the beginning of the film, we are told it's the year 2007 and Kumar plays Dr Aryan Kulsheshtra- a star archaeologist who does not always play by the rule book. He is an atheist who objects to his wife Gayatri's (Nushrat Bharucha) way of rearing their son with mythological comic books, he knows his job all too well and debunks anything related to religion. 

A private shipping company wants to break the Ram Setu or Adam's bridge to save to nautical miles and fuel. The bridge connects India and Sri Lanka, and Hindus for centuries have believed that it was constructed by Lord Ram when he went to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from the evil clutches of Ravan. While mythology states that Lord Ram along with a group of monkeys helped in building the bridge, when one thinks of it logically, it is a result of the geological evolution of rocks. 

As Aaryan submits his initial report based on scientific research he also calls Ramayan a work of fiction. Naturally, the conservatives shun him and a suspension order is released soon after. He is then approached by the owner( Nasser) of the shipping company to visit the actual site and submit a detailed report to the government debunking the theory of the bridge being man-made. 

His research leads him to believe that the structure could possibly be man-made and he sets out on a difficult mission to search Ravan's golden Lanka along with environmentalist Dr Sandra (Jacqueline Fernandez). Naturally, the journey is not a bed of roses as goons of the shipping company are out to kill them in order to stub the facts, There is also an impending court verdict and so Aaryan needs to present his argument before the court in a day's time. 

Written by Sharma himself, with dialogues by Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi, 'Ram Setu' tries very hard to give a liberal approach to a very Hindu narrative. So there is mild shading at the Taliban regime, at Afghanistan's deplorable conditions and even a snide comment on how the army controls Pakistan- all facts but still slightly unnecessary to the narrative. 

The screenplay is not the best where Kumar's scruffy beard is inconsistent through the scenes, Jacqueline's hairdo is salon-ready as she runs through jungles, dives underwater in search of hidden tunnels and travels on a chopper- but not a strand of hair is out of place. 

It is not a very performance-driven film and Akshay Kumar sleepwalks through his role - it's a familiar role and Kumar almost feels jaded playing Dr Aryan. Fernandez is there only to ask questions, she really doesn't have too many dialogues and Bharucha has limited screen time. There is also actor Satyadev Kancharana as Lankan guide AP who brings in some amount of vibrancy to an otherwise very dull narrative. 

The corals, the underwater sequences, the supposed islands, the mid-water labs - all are laughable. The shots of the supposed bridge when Kumar approaches wearing a space suit look like scenes out of a children's show.

While the film naturally plays to the gallery and sets out to be an adventure film- with terrible VFX, it also meanders towards jingoism ever so often making it a middling affair throughout. I would have enjoyed ignoring how it very nonchalantly debunks logic if the film had just concentrated on being an adventure film. Instead its a mish-mash with certain exciting chase sequences but nothing else. 

'Ram Setu' tries to be educational wrapped in an adventurous film. But it fails on both counts.