2 Hr 21 Mins | Drama , Mythological | 14-04-2023
Cast - Samantha, Dev Mohan, Sachin Khedekar, Mohan Babu, Jisshu Sengupta, Allu Arha, Ananya Nagalla, Prakash Raj & others
Director - Gunasekhar
Producer - Neelima Guna
Banner - Guna Teamworks, SV Creations
Music - Mani Sharma
What Is It About?
Shakuntala was born to Menaka and Vishwamitra but raised by Sage Kanwa in his ashram. The Hastinapur king Dushyanta falls in love with her and gets married to him in a gandharwa vivaaham. He promises to take her to his kingdom later but never comes back. The pregnant Shakuntala visits him and gets shocked when he denies knowing her. What made him do that and how Shakuntala wins him back is all about Shaakuntalam.
Samantha tried her best but she did not really fit into the role. Her slang dominates her presence leaving the performance an ordinary one. Dev Mohan as Dushanta is not very impressive. Not just him, but other actors like Jishu Sen Gupta, Sachin Khedkar, and Kabir Duhan Singh in their characters appear artificial due to their non-Telugu backgrounds.
Allu Arha gave one wonderful performance in the role of Bharata. Her presence and the dialogues are very good. Madhubala, Mohan Babu, Ananya Nagalla, and others did fine in their respective roles.
Shaakuntalam is a known story and what the audience expects from the movie is impressive storytelling. Shaakuntalam failed in it miserably. The poor VFX work exaggerated poetic dialogues, and an extremely sluggish narration made Shaakuntalam a mess. None of the songs were impressive. The background music is good in parts. The run time of nearly two and a half hours is a bane to Shaakuntalam.
The visuals appear completely artificial and sketchy in an attempt to make every frame angelic and fairy. The war scenes and the empire visuals flaunt the mediocre VFX work. In many scenes in the second half, the faces appear pale and lifeless with dominant yellow hues.
The story of Shakuntala and her love story with King Dushyanta is existential in mythology and there are no tweaks or twists that a filmmaker can do to make it more interesting or otherwise. It is all about presenting it in a captivating way with great visuals and dialogue. Unfortunately, Shaakuntalam tells us the story in the most boring way possible.
The first half of Shaakuntalam is filled with the ashram backdrop, King Dushyanta’s heroism, and Shakuntala’s life. The ashram visuals are subpar with realistic graphics work. It is more like watching a stylized cartoon work all along. The action scenes in the first half and the war sequences in the second half appear comical.
The drama fails to establish an emotional connection and gives an artificial feel throughout the film. The narration itself is slow and dragged in most parts. The songs could not impress and even break the pace that is already slow. The intention to present it poetically made it more superficial in every bit. At least the mini informative stories that are induced to give a sneak peek into some characters were shown in comic illustrations to spare the audience from the run time and poor graphics.
Samantha looked and acted fine but her utterance of dialogue remains one of the biggest drawbacks. When a seasoned actor like Mohan Babu and a newbie like Allu Arha is pronouncing the words as they should be, the lead actor Samantha’s non-Telugu slang sounded odd and annoying.
The only positive factor in the movie is Allu Arha. She is cute and impressive for her first film. She made her presence felt and could become one of the busiest child actors.
The second half does not change anything except it gets slower to test the patience. The lack of Telugu actors in the main characters is a huge drawback as it gives a feel of watching a dubbing serial most of the time. The war scenes were not intense, and the emotional scenes leave no impact at all.
Overall, a terribly slow and boring narration with poor graphics work leaves this Shaakuntalam completely unengaging and tiresome.
Bottomline: Shaapam To Audience