Kalki 2898 AD Review: A Cinematic Spectacle with Room for Improvement

Kalki 2898 AD Review: Nag Ashwin, the acclaimed director known for his work in Mahanati, has undertaken one of the most ambitious movie projects in Indian cinema with Kalki 2898 AD. This Hollywood-style dystopian sci-fi flick, deeply rooted in Indian mythology, spans over 6000 years and features an ensemble cast including Prabhas, Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Haasan, Deepika Padukone, and others. While the film has been praised for its visual effects and grand scale, it is not without its flaws. This article delves into the various aspects of Kalki 2898 AD, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses.

A Visual Extravaganza

Hollywood-Standard Visual Effects

One of the most striking features of Kalki 2898 AD is its visual effects, which are on par with Hollywood standards. The cinematography by Djordje Stojiljkovic, known for his work on dystopian films like Anima and The Needle, is a visual treat. The film’s graphics and visual effects are impeccable, creating a captivating world that immerses the audience in its futuristic setting.

Compelling World-Building

The film takes us 6000 years into the future, where humanity is struggling to survive in a dystopian world. The only city left on the planet is Kasi, a compelling vision of a future city ruled by the tyrant Yaskin (Kamal Haasan). The Complex, an inverted pyramid hovering over the city, serves as the epicenter of power. This world-building is one of the film’s strengths, creating a believable and immersive setting for the story to unfold.

Borrowed Elements and Lack of Originality

Influences from Hollywood Films

While the visual effects and world-building are commendable, Kalki 2898 AD borrows extensively from numerous Hollywood films. Influences from the Mad Max series, The Matrix, Dune, Star Wars, Lord of The Rings, Game of Thrones, Transformers, and Marvel films are evident throughout the movie. Even elements from the web series Snowpiercer can be seen. This extensive borrowing makes the film feel less original and more like a patchwork of familiar Hollywood tropes.

Over-Reliance on Visuals

The film seems to rely heavily on its visual spectacle to engage the audience, sometimes at the expense of a coherent and compelling narrative. While the visuals are stunning, they cannot entirely compensate for the shortcomings in the story and screenplay.

Story and Screenplay: A Mixed Bag

A Disjointed First Half

The first half of Kalki 2898 AD sets up the stage for the narrative, giving us flashbacks to the Kurukshetra war and introducing us to the dystopian future. However, this part of the film is plagued by a poorly written screenplay and disjointed sequences. The narrative meanders, making it a struggle for the audience to stay engaged.

Lagging Pace and Underwhelming Humor

Prabhas, who plays Bhairava, makes a stylish entry but is soon bogged down by lame jokes and comical baddies. The humor falls flat, failing to elicit laughs from the audience. The story moves from one character to another, creating a sense of exhaustion rather than engagement. This lack of cohesion and pacing issues are significant drawbacks in the first half.

Redemption in the Second Half

The second half of the film is where Nag Ashwin’s directorial genius shines through. The screenplay becomes more coherent and racy, with the main characters connecting on screen and the story gaining momentum. The narrative pieces fall into place, making it a more engaging watch. However, despite the improvement, the film still lacks a strong emotional connection with the audience.

Characterization and Performances

Prabhas as Bhairava

Prabhas delivers a convincing performance as Bhairava, showcasing his excellent fighting skills and commanding screen presence. However, his romantic scenes with Disha Patani lack chemistry, making these portions of the film difficult to watch.

Amitabh Bachchan as Ashwatthama

Amitabh Bachchan’s portrayal of Ashwatthama is one of the film’s highlights. His performance is powerful and captivating, bringing depth and gravitas to the character. Bachchan’s presence on screen is a significant redeeming factor for the film.

Kamal Haasan as Yaskin

Kamal Haasan’s role as the tyrant Yaskin is impactful, though his screen time is limited. His character could have been more fearsome and compelling, which would have added to the film’s central conflict.

Underutilized Talent

Despite having a stellar cast, some actors, like Deepika Padukone, are severely underutilized. Padukone’s character, Sumati, does not have enough screen time to make a significant impact. This underutilization of talented actors is a missed opportunity for the film.

Dialogues and Emotional Connect

Poorly Written Dialogues

One of the major drawbacks of Kalki 2898 AD is its poorly written dialogues. Some lines sound juvenile and detract from the overall impact of the film. It is surprising that Nag Ashwin, known for his nuanced storytelling in Mahanati, could approve such lackluster dialogues.

Lack of Emotional Resonance

Dystopian films typically explore strong human themes and threats from those in control. However, in Kalki 2898 AD, this theme is not compelling enough. The emotional connect, which is crucial for the audience to resonate with the story, is missing. Even scenes depicting the struggles of pregnant women or people starving to death fail to evoke a strong emotional response.

The Future of the Kalki Cinematic Universe

Potential for Improvement

Despite its flaws, Kalki 2898 AD lays the groundwork for a potentially intriguing cinematic universe. Nag Ashwin’s creative vision and visual skills are evident, and with a stronger script and better-developed characters, the sequel could significantly improve upon the original.

Learning from the Best

Directors like SS Rajamouli and Rishab Shetty have successfully created films that connect emotionally with the audience while delivering grand visual spectacles. Ashwin can learn from their approach to storytelling, ensuring that the emotional core of the narrative is not overshadowed by the visual grandeur.

Conclusion

Kalki 2898 AD is a bold and ambitious attempt by Nag Ashwin to create a sci-fi tentpole film in Indian cinema. While the film excels in visual effects, world-building, and certain performances, it falls short in terms of originality, narrative coherence, and emotional connect. The disjointed first half, poorly written dialogues, and underutilized talent are significant drawbacks. However, the improved second half and Amitabh Bachchan’s stellar performance offer a glimpse of the film’s potential.

As the Kalki Cinematic Universe continues to unfold, there is hope that Nag Ashwin will refine his storytelling, creating a more cohesive and emotionally resonant narrative. With the right balance of visual spectacle and compelling storytelling, the future installments of Kalki 2898 AD could indeed become milestones in Indian cinema.

Gaurav Manral

I am from nainital, Uttrakhand, India and like to write different type of entertainment news like bollywood, Hollywood, South Indian movies, Life Style etc.