Myth, Religion, Reality, Belief:’Ram Setu‘ takes all these elements, gives them a good shake, lets them settle where they will, and presents yet another Akshay Kumar film that is strictly embedded in the times we live in. Dr. Aryan Kulshrestha (Kumar) is an archaeologist who worships evidence-based science and has no time for anyone, including his beloved spouse (Nushrrat Bharuccha), a professor of literature, who is lined up on the side of ‘vishwaas’.
The film’s consultant, Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, directed Akshay in the latest ‘Samrat Prithviraj‘, another ‘historic’ which is in line with the Mera Bharat Always Mahaan mission. In this, the mythical waterway between India and Sri Lanka, renamed Adam’s Bridge by the British who wanted to ‘erase’ India’s history, is the Ram Setu. Aryan, devastated by the Taliban’s destruction of Bamyan Budhha (he happens to be on the scene when the mayhem takes place), is thrust into the Ram Setu project as a highly regarded professional. He has secular credentials which include, imagine, a Pakistani colleague, so who better than him (Aryan) to tell the unbelievers that Ram Setu was actually ‘constructed’ during Lord Rama’s ‘period’?
It’s all very Amar Chitra Katha without the storytelling skills. Not content with establishing the conflict, which plays out in the Supreme Court on one side and on the high seas and on the picturesque island of Sri Lanka, the plot gives us villains who want the destruction of Setu, good guy KP (Dev) who appears out of the blue to help Aryan and his colleagues, the scientist Sandra Ribello (Fernandez) and a white person who is quickly dispensed with. As the main antagonist, Nasser frowns a lot and his main man (Rana) chases everyone with a gun.
There are also references to the civil war in Lanka and Jaffna being a hot spot. But all these mentions of current affairs are mere window dressing. The purpose of the film is laid out for all to see: the transformation of the secular, science-oriented Aryan into a believer who convinces the court of the weight of faith, which becomes the only truth.
In fact, done better, this could have been a film that presents opposing viewpoints that give each a pulpit. But ‘Ram Setu’ is nothing but a pedestrian film which is only interested in hammering home its message. It’s also the kind of movie where a female scientist who has been submerged in seawater and has emerged in a cave gives off a very Raiders of the Lost Ark feel. With her pink lipstick intact.
Cast – Akshay Kumar, Nasser, Satya Dev, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nushrrat BharucchaPravesh Rana
Manager – Abhishek Sharm
Evaluation – 1.5/5