Shaakuntalam REVIEW: Samantha Ruth Prabhu Starrer Mythological Drama Reconstructs A Slice Of Mythology In Exquisite Colours

Check out the review of Samantha Ruth Prabhu’s highly-awaited film Shaakuntalam!

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Shaakuntalam REVIEW: Samantha Ruth Prabhu Starrer Mythological Drama Reconstructs A Slice Of Mythology In Exquisite Colours
Movie- Shaakuntalam (dubbed  Hindi version)

After watching the  Shakunatala-Dushyant drama done  up in dishy shades for two-and-a-half hours I cursed myself for not watching the Telugu original. The songs, dialogues and inner mood of  the mythological journey would  seem so much more enhanced  in the native tongue.
Not that the Hindi dubbed version lacks in  lyricism. Shakuntalam brings  Kalidasa’s original  in a multi-hued  majesty. This is a Sanjay Bhansali  costume epic at half his budget.  Director Gunasekhar expertise at mythological and costume dramas assists the   opulence  and flamboyance  to  remain within the realm of restraint. This one doesn’t go overboard.

 This is a costume drama where the costumes titivate  and complement the  intrinsic  drama. There are  no excesses of extravagance and the  storytelling adheres largely to the  original . The  film is  never short of excitement, though I  feel some of the comic elements  could  and should have been eliminated  on the  editing table. But I guess director Gunasekar and his  editor  Prawin Pudi want the  end-product to encompass  the entire gamut of mass-oriented experience.

Luckily the digressions do not dilute the  core plot of  a righteous  brave king Dushyant(Mohan Dev, striking in his royal avatar)  who seems to spend half his time hunting dangerous  animals,and  who  falls for the  Nature-friendly  Shakuntala. Their giddy romance  lovingly  captured by  Shekhar V Joseph’s  compassionate  camera ,  is  supplemented  with  loads of progressive ideas. Even during those ancient times, the lovebirds are shown admitting to a craving a for pre-marital sex.

Later, when  Dushyant humiliates and rejects her, Shakuntala gives him a powerful  tonguelashing  on why it is  okay for  men to  change their minds in a relationship, and not  women.

Throughout its runningtime  the plot  gambols  from traditional images to modern  contexts. The transitions  from temporal  to  fantasy  would have been smoother  with  more trimming of the spacefilling scenes.What holds you spellbound is the  searing chemistry  between  ‘Shakuntala’ Samantha  and ‘Dushyant’  Dev Mohan.  

The  couple seems  blessed  by divinity even as  their  love story  shifts gears  from ecstasy to  tragedy.Samantha looks every bit the  ecologically and  emotionally  evolved  princess in exile. The special effects swathe  her in a luminous  light . Samantha captures the  soul  of Shakuntala  and then sets it free. Every element  in the storytelling conspires to give the  age-old story a sensuous  elegant spin. It is  time  to reclaim  our heritage.  It is  time to  tell stories that every Indian child should know. Let’s  stop the  inflow of  imported garbage to entertain  our  children. Show them that beyond Disney and Harry Potter  there exists a wealth  of indigenous stories  waiting to be told. Rajamouli has opened the  door. Gunasekhar’s Shakuntala walks through that door with confident steps.