The Om Raut directorial stars Prabhas, Kriti Sanon, Sunny Singh and Saif Ali Khan
From the legendary NTR to Haranath to Sobhan Babu and Balakrishna, leading stars in Telugu cinema have played Lord Rama on screen to perfection over the decades. Be it the costumes, makeup or their gait and the performance, they’ve set such tall standards with their portrayals that it’ll be hard for any contemporary actor to match up to them and win over audiences.
Prabhas, probably boosted by some encouragement from his late uncle Krishnam Raju, took on the challenge to be Lord Rama on screen for director Om Raut’s Adipurush. While mythologicals have enjoyed immense popularity in Telugu ever since the evolution of the industry till the 80s, the genre hasn’t quite captured the imagination of audiences later.
Though the trend of devotional films revived with K Raghavendra Rao’s Annamayya in the 90s, most mythologicals in the recent times, with the exception of a rare Sri Rama Rajyam, failed to strike a chord with many. Ramayana is an epic that Telugu audiences hold close to their heart and with several literary works, films celebrating its essence in many forms, they are very clear with what they want from another cinematic interpretation.
What does Om Raut bring to the table? It’s very likely the aesthetic of a superhero film with impressive action sequences and enhanced focus on VFX and CGI. However, the biggest worry remains if he’ll stay true to the spirit of the Ramayana, given the focus on its star cast, budget and the pressure of living upto the fan’s expectations. The negativity surrounding the teaser was compensated by the appealing first look unveiled yesterday.
Adipurush will certainly be a big deal in the Hindi-speaking belt owing to the political climate and the curiosity of an average viewer to watch a mythological after many years. Yet, the same can’t be said about the film in the Telugu land. It’ll be quite a challenge for Om Raut to transport the Telugu crowds and distance them from the references of the classics based on Ramayana.
There’s no doubt about the scale and the larger-than-life appeal of Adipurush, but will it capture the divine side of the pivotal character too, beyond the machismo? All eyes are on June 16.