You know that feeling when you go to a place expecting a lot and then you do get a lot, but somewhere deep down, there is a slight tinge of disappointment? We don't think anyone's given this feeling a name yet, but if you want to experience what we're talking about, watching Sahasam after a marathon viewing of Chandrasekhar Yeleti's earlier films (including Aithe
and Anukokunda Oka Roju
), will help you.
Sahasam has it all, so to speak. A hero without a pot belly and a fake wig, a story (yes! a story!), great cinematography, great locales, outstanding conceptualization of the clues of a treasure hunt, and powerful, yet vulnerable villains - Sahasam has it all. But the facts that the movie is template-based (how different can a treasure hunt be?), and that the chase does not proceed at a breakneck pace, dampen the viewing experience.
The film is about Goutam (Gopichand), a security guard at an ATM, whose only dream is to be rich. We repeat - as demonstrated during the course of a song while the opening credits play - Goutam's only dream is to be rich. His idea of a superhero is not Spiderman or Superman, but is someone called Rich Man.
He keeps buying lottery tickets to get rich, but the only time he wins, it is for Rs. 100. He finds out one day that his grandfather (Suman) was a diamond merchant who hid a fortune somewhere in Pakistan during Partition.
Fate brings him face-to-face with Sri Nidhi (Taapsee), an overtly devotional girl, who is on her way to visit the Hinglaj Devi temple in Pakistan. He cons her and manages to accompany her to Pakistan. There, he finds that there is a group of outlaws, headed by Sultan (Shakti Kapoor), who are also after the same treasure.
There is only so much you can do with a movie with as standard a template as a treasure hunt. Two groups - one led by the hero and the other by the villain - will be chasing a treasure, there will be cryptic clues, there will be dangers, and ultimately, there will be rewards. The only payoffs you can give audiences in such a scenario are the thrills that they can find in the unraveling of the clues and getting to the treasure.
To his credit, Chandrasekhar Yeleti does a commendable job with this part of the movie. He writes in some good clues, and puts up a good maze with some daunting obstacles to solve the clues and reach the treasure.
However, the emotion in the film does not catch on well, and the "WOW" moments are not as plenty as you would like. Yeleti also seems handicapped by budget constraints, and some of the scenes seem incomplete, as if they were left un-rendered.
The wry sense of humour that Yeleti has displayed right from Aithe remains intact, and there is some situational comedy in the first few sequences. Gopichand does well in a role that does not really challenge him in any manner. Taapsee Pannu continues with her "deer caught in headlights" act, and with her unnatural dubbing.
Shakti Kapoor's role is limited due to the fact that he does not know the language at all. But his make-up is absolutely spot on.
Production values are good upto an extent - but how one wishes that the producer had loosened his purse strings a bit more. Music by Sri is functional, and the background music is loud.
It is indeed sad that film-makers like Meher Ramesh manage to keep wresting huge budgets from producers, but genuinely good storytellers like Yeleti get the short end of the stick. Sahasam is a movie that really leaves you wishing that it delivered more.