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Saaho Review

Josh / fullhyd.com
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait to rent it
We could begin to tell you the plot with something like "Saaho is a cop-thief film where high profile robberies running into thousands of crores are being investigated by a team of cops headed by Ashok Chakravarthi (Prabhas)." This exposition will nevertheless prove to be unhelpful because the plot twists and turns (so much that it experiences motion-sickness and projectile vomits all around itself) and eventually reaches a conclusion which appears to be a completely different film.

However, unlike with, say, L.I.E where nothing made sense and we wondered what (and whether) the writer/director was thinking, with Saaho, Sujeeth sees in his mind a film far more sensible than the one that has materialised on screens today. This is apparent in the way a number of scenes serve dual purposes, with the primary purpose being straightforward (it's an action scene, or a hero glorification scene, or a love scene etc.), and the secondary purpose getting revealed later on. Sujeeth, the writer, hopefully will pursue this style further into his career. That is unless Sujeeth, the director, thwarts him.

There is a sprawling lot of content in Saaho. The numerous plot points and their many characters could tractably be sown across a 13-episode saga and, given time to germinate, would lead to an entertainingly campy web series. But Sujeeth, the director, pushes Sujeeth, the writer, into a corner by putting all this content into a movie which, right from its conception, dedicated 60% of its runtime to action sequences, 30% to romance sequences, and the cumulative sum of 90% of its runtime to its star.

So almost everything seems undercooked. "Edible, but I'm not coming back to this restaurant" kind of work.

The edits seem to have been done in a hurry, and you wonder if it might be a better scene if the shots had played longer. This wonder is quickly suppressed by the longer shots where the performances are so dull you want it to end fast. The songs interpret the term ambient music in pathbreaking ways by refusing to stay on your mind even while they are playing out. The score (Ghibran) is more enjoyable, but it frequently reminds you of other film scores (most conspicuously, the Kaththi theme by Anirudh).

The honourable exceptions to this lot of undercookedness are the cinematography and the action choreography. And the performances of Mahesh Manjrekar and Chunkey Pandey, both of whom feel very much at home with the kind of camp the script aims at.

And Shraddha Kapoor. She ends up being the most pleasant part of Saaho by being a sight for sore eyes. This pleasantness might also be owing to her not having to look or talk or behave super-dumb, in gross violation of the rules and guidelines of the collective of Women in Telugu Films (WTF). She can be quite expressive sometimes, making you wish the film paid as much attention to her lines as it did to her plunging necklines.

The observant reader will observe that not much has been said about the action sequences, the major expense of this incredibly expensive film. We urge such reader to be more perceptive and see that that's the point we are making. By the time the two hundred and seventy second blow is landed on a goon's face, you don't notice much. Owing to the twisty nature of the plot we aren't even sure whom to root for at any point of time. These scenes, very professionally choreographed as they are, do not pull the viewer into themselves.

And one would hope that none of this ought to matter as long as Prabhas can carry the film on his shoulders. The rebel star has moved away from the days where he generally looked confused about what he was supposed to be rebelling against. Now he appears much more confident that the only part of his moniker that matters is the 'star'. And this embracing of stardom is doing him good with all his scenes being elevated by his presence.

So, then, none of our complaints ought to matter as long as Prabhas can carry the film on his shoulders. Like he carried that heavy looking Siva linga on his shoulders in Bahubali: The Beginning. But for that the film had to be tight and compact, like a Siva linga, to be hoisted up and carried. Saaho, like a big open sack of over-ripe mangoes, is a drippy and sticky mess. It doesn't suffice that the star is strong and confident. It calls for the director to be collected and proficient at cleaning up.
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Saaho (telugu) reviews
Rating is quick and easy - try it!
  • Cast
    Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Prakash Belawadi, Vennela Kishore, Arun Vijay, Mahesh Manjrekar, Chunky Pandey, Jackie Shroff, Mandira Bedi
  • Music
    Ghibran (Score) And Others
  • Director
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
TJ Reddy on 30th Aug 2019, 7:51pm | Permalink
HE'S BACK!!! great to hear from you again dude. Hope you're doing well.

Well I'm happy you were writing for this instead of me. I wouldn't have been as kind for sure. This is the epitome of big budget noise.
Can watch again - No
Good for kids - Yes
Good for dates - No
Wait to rent it - Yes
Kanye on 26th Sep 2019, 10:14am | Permalink
I knew the quirkiness sounded familiar. I saw your comment on GG and had to go back and check the name on this one. Good to have you back. Do more reviews bro please.
Josh on 26th Sep 2019, 10:57am | Permalink
Trying to review one per week, man.
Also, your comment made my day :)
Raghu M on 2nd Sep 2019, 3:19am | Permalink
First, I had a toy I loved. I lost it one day. I was sad. Then, they gave me a very similar toy. I was happy again. Now, I found the lost toy. I have both now. Overwhelmed with joy.
The Common Movie Goer on 1st Sep 2019, 4:45am | Permalink
TL;DR: Thinte garelu ae thinali, copy kodithe Rajamouli ae kottali

Return of the king! Can't say the same for Saaho though. Not that I liked Baahubali 1&2 but they at least made money.

Got to admit, they did a great job marketing this one. I had already heard from several people that the movie was bad, and I knew I wasn't going to like but still decided to check it out at an elevated $20 price point. This movie sucked. I was waiting for some sort of momentum to build up in the first half. Nope, nada, zilch, nothing. The only person I liked on screen was Shraddha Kapoor, in spite of her poorly sketched out character. Prabhas felt like he was just going through the motions in both halves.

The second half got even worse. I was laughing at some of the more serious scenes just because of how senseless they were. The cinematography, sound, music, lighting, and CGI departments all dialed it in on this one. But the editor just dropped the ball altogether. I swear I saw a couple of shots being reused a few second apart and it didn't make any sense the first time around. Even the lip-sync was terrible in the songs - not talking about the scenes where there was a language mismatch, talking about where the mouthing of the words and the sound was actually a second or two off. You know it's bad when the outsourced team does a better job cutting a racier number on YT compared to the movie.

What kept me occupied during the movie was a "guess which movie this scene is from" game. Almost everything is ripped off (F&F, Mad Max, John Wick, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Tokyo Drift, Avengers, GI Joe, etc.)

Prabhas claiming this was a "screenplay" movie all along was red flag enough, but the marketing truly signaled the quality status. I just felt bad that some poor producers spent around 50-100 (definitely not 350 if any taxmen are reading this), and wanted to contribute to the distributors. Don't regret the decision, but regret the 3 hours spent. Don't call me out on how I am wasting even more time writing this out. I know I am a movie addict.

Saw a couple of comments over here stating TFI is done for. Doubt it. There have been some absolute gems of late. O Baby and Jersey left a lasting impact on me. O Baby in particular led me to make a couple of major changes in my life. Jersey left me with a good version of a haunted feeling, don't quite know how to vocalize it. People like Mohanakrishna Indraganti, Gautham Tinnanuri. and Nandini Reddy have proved that with the right inspiration / source material, and adapting / adopting the unique strengths that only Tollywood has (the local connect, the word play, etc.), TFI still has a lot of stories to spin. Just need better box office returns, that is all.

Glad you are back, Josh. Hope TJ and you try and outdo each other on these reviews without spending too much time on it, of course.

Pros: Shraddha Kapoor, Psycho Saiyan
Cons: Pretty much everything else
JayZ on 31st Aug 2019, 7:43am | Permalink
Hey Josh..WTF u r back!!! REMEMBER ME??? Hope KANYE comes back too
Josh on 31st Aug 2019, 9:00am | Permalink
Of course, I remember you, JayZ. How are you? :)
JayZ on 31st Aug 2019, 9:56am | Permalink
Am fine.. hope you are back...we should start our long discussions on WTF is wrong about Indian cinema and Telugu cinema again
Adavi Ramudu on 31st Aug 2019, 6:01pm | Permalink
Telugu cinema is not worth a discussion. Everything was, is and will be wrong with Telugu cinema. Anybody who loves cinema would never discuss Telugu videos aka sinma.....
Josh on 31st Aug 2019, 4:53pm | Permalink
But things are getting better, JayZ. I used to believe that good films won't get made in Telugu and, if they did, they will not be watched. But Brochevarevarura shattered this belief. It was adequately original and entertaining. And it became a hit!

Also, I wept when I watched C/O Kancharapalem and Mallesham. These are really good times.
JayZ on 31st Aug 2019, 6:49pm | Permalink
Agree with you about Mallesham and Kancharlapalem.And also Evaru was way way better than Badla.
JayZ on 31st Aug 2019, 6:48pm | Permalink
When you reviewed L.I.E. You wrote( ranted?) About the fake intelligence in LIE and NANNAKU PREMATHO.Similarly promos of Brochevaru made me feel like it's gonna be a dark comic caper ala LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS.But I felt brochevaru was a fake crime comedy.The second half was a bore
Hari on 30th Aug 2019, 10:53pm | Permalink
Welcome back Josh !!
Josh on 31st Aug 2019, 9:00am | Permalink
Thanks, Hari :) Long time. How have you been?
Hari on 30th Aug 2019, 10:58pm | Permalink
Now that I read the review, ROFL @ Women in Telugu Films.

Jyothi on 30th Aug 2019, 10:12pm | Permalink
Saaho - My take

Madhur bhandarkar on 31st Aug 2019, 7:47am | Permalink
Agreed..Shraddha Kapoor is an affable girl...effable..affable...ffffable
Josh on 31st Aug 2019, 9:01am | Permalink
We are to gather that your sex life is a fable?

Quit the thirst at least in public, man.
TJ Reddy on 30th Aug 2019, 7:51pm | Permalink
HE'S BACK!!! great to hear from you again dude. Hope you're doing well.

Well I'm happy you were writing for this instead of me. I wouldn't have been as kind for sure. This is the epitome of big budget noise.
Josh on 31st Aug 2019, 9:04am | Permalink
I agree with you, man. But big budget noise begets, 5 I guess. Given the bar is other Telugu movies.

I've seen some failure over the last two years. I'm hoping it's building character or something.

Hope you're well :)
TJ Reddy on 31st Aug 2019, 6:52pm | Permalink
Dude, you know what they say right, "Nothing lasts forver." The bad times will pass and let's get the good times rolling soon.

Big budget noise begets 1 for me. This film is on the same level as Race 3, Vinaya Vidheya Rama and so many more of these pointless dumpster fires that come up every so often. I'm not sure if you've ever seen the interview the director of Janni Dushman did with some random TV channel. He says, "special effects is the future of movies" and now Jaani Dushman is a meme. It is only a matter of time before Saaho becomes a meme too.

From the second I saw that Blade Runner 2049 ripoff poster, I knew this was a failure. A film that is budgeted at 350 crores did not have a graphics designer/photographer that could come up with an original poster design. That is where this film stood right out of the gate. There was no hope. Then came the awful, terrible, no good, very bad trailer and then this monstrosity of a film.

I cannot fathom how every aspect of this film is so off. From the horrible writing, to the lifeless performances, the haphazard song placements, the score that rips off Mad Max every so often, the horrendous editing, the obvious green screen shots, the simply awful dialgoues and this is not taking into the account the multiple middle fingers pointed at the laws of Physics and the audience. I can accept a noble failure but not a film that disrespects its audience.

The negativity aside, I wanted to ask you if you were up for a little collabaration. I have an idea in mind. Let me know if you're up for it.
Josh on 1st Sep 2019, 7:52am | Permalink
We come back to our disagreement on ratings. You've always seen them largely as reflecting merit of the film. I primarily see them as audience-friendliness. Specially for target audience. I don't think we write for posterity, man. Reviews are forgotten in two weeks. If they are remembered at all I hope it's for the writing rather than the rating.

I'm interested in collaborations. Hit me up. You know whom to ask for my email id.
TJ Reddy on 1st Sep 2019, 8:08am | Permalink
You know I care about the words more than the ratings. Half my comments section is filled with me saying that to people. But, for the people who take the number more seriously than the words, I think a strong warning might be the most necessary thing. Then again, I wish we had a chance to dissect a film scene by scene to actually decipher why something works and something doesn't but, this isn't a perfect world.

And you'll be hearing from me soon in that case.
PMVSK on 30th Aug 2019, 7:37pm | Permalink
Welcome back... pretty good review....!!
Josh on 31st Aug 2019, 9:04am | Permalink
Thanks, Sai :)
Portuguese Man-of-War on 1st Sep 2019, 11:58am | Permalink
Very good review, as always!
Josh on 1st Sep 2019, 6:12pm | Permalink
Thanks, man :)
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