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Saaho Review

Josh /
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
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
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