Movie Review | Ram Setu: Falls short of expectations

October 26, 2022
Overall, a technically average film, Ram Setu is just passable, a one-time watch at max for the sake of Hanuman. Go watch it for him.

Ram Setu is an action-adventure film directed by Abhishek Sharma (of ‘Tere Bin Laden’ fame) starring Akshay Kumar, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nushrratt Bharuccha and Satya Dev. Ram Setu follows an archaeologist (Akshay Kumar) who is investigating the nature of Ram Setu. Akshay Kumar had reportedly described the film as “a bridge between generations past, present and future. Vikram Malhotra of Abundantia Entertainment, touted the film as “a story formed on facts, science and historical heritage.” Apparently, the Ram Setu team also consulted the book ‘Dating The Era of Lord Ram’ (2004), as well as experts in archaeology and other areas.

As mentioned above, Akshay Kumar plays Dr. Aryan Kulshrestha, an archaeologist, a self-proclaimed atheist, who is part of a team invited to restore a Gautam Buddha statue blown by the Talibanis. While the main project is hampered midway, Aryan stumbles upon a discovery that gets him appreciation and promotion. In the meanwhile, the government with a businessman Indrakant (Nasser) is wanting to create a shipping channel in the Indian Ocean that needs meddling with the ‘Ram Setu’. There is a petition filed in the courts challenging the action and Aryan is appointed to submit a report. His report changes his life and belief forever. He begins his research to prove that Ram Setu has nothing to do with Lord Shri Ram but soon his findings prove otherwise. This irks the interested parties and Dr. Aryan and his team is now on the run. However, Aryan vows to submit the correct report about the Ram Setu to the court to get a favourable judgement. What does Dr. Aryan find, and does he succeed in his research task forms the rest of the narrative.

Though Ram Setu is an Akshay Kumar film, it is Satya Dev’s character A P and his histrionics that stays back with you. Revealing more about his character would be a spoiler. Akshay Kumar sleepwalks his character with a differently styled look. As for the female leads, Jacqueline Fernandez plays Dr. Sandra Rebello and Nushrratt Bharuccha as Professor Gayatri Kulshrestha, Aryan’s wife. They seem to be fillers and do not get much scope to act nor does their character add anything substantial.

Nassar plays Indrakant, the businessman, man behind the shipping channel project and Pravesh Rana as his Project Manager Bali, the only so-called antagonist if one would want to call his character so.

Ram Setu seems to be based on the ‘Sethusamudram shipping canal project‘ for which the Government of India had constituted committees before and after independence, to suggest alignments for the project. In 2005, the Government of India approved a multi-million-dollar Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project. This project aimed to create a ship channel across the Palk Strait by dredging the shallow ocean floor near Dhanushkodi. The channel is expected to cut over 400 km (nearly 30 hours of shipping time) off the voyage around the island of Sri Lanka. This proposed channel’s current alignment requires dredging through Ram Setu aka Adam’s Bridge.

Ram Setu also resembles the recently released Karthikeya 2 from the point of view that while Karthikeya 2 was a search based on Lord Krishna’s being, Ram Setu is based on Lord Shri Ram’s. It also borrows hints from the National Treasure and Indiana Jones though even comparison is way beyond one can comprehend.

Ram Setu is reported to be made on a budget of 150 crore, but if one were to compare the film’s final output in terms of visuals, VFX, CG, action, locations, etc. it looks like the makers have cut corners, a wasted effort, as compared to recently released other Indian films like KGF 1&2 with a combined budget of 180 crore. Most of the VFX or special effects look amateurish. A submarine suit shown in a couple of scenes looks inspired from the Michelin Tyre emblem, looks kiddish. With so much of budget, one would expect wonders on celluloid. Or was it the haste of completing the shoot with the key cast in a stipulated number of 40 days!!

There is nothing much to mention about the music except that it is composed by Ajay-Atul, Vikram Montrose, Ved Sharma and Dr. Zeus. Lyrics are penned by Irshad Kamil, Manoj Muntashir, Shekhar Astitwa and Baljit Singh Padam. The film score is composed by Daniel B George.

From an audience point of view, that really matter, Ram Setu is a different outing, sans any romance or song & dance routine. Ironically, India has a vast heritage of mythological treasure and if one of such treasure chests is touched upon in the form of Ram Setu, this could have been better experienced in the form of episodical long form series. Meaning if one has reached Ravan’s Trikuta Parvata, a series could have explored furthermore. However, as for the film, it is the final 10-15 minutes of dialogues and the court scenes that steal the show and prove to be worth the ticket money. As for those who enjoy cinema with great concentration, might even find Hanuman in the narrative.

Overall, a technically average film based on information converted into an adventure thriller, Ram Setu is just passable, a one-time watch at max for the sake of Hanuman. Go watch it for him.

Movie: Ram Setu
Director: Abhishek Sharma
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Satya Dev, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Nassar
Duration: 142 Mins

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