Saaho Review (No Spoilers): An Unambitious Little Action Film with a MASSIVE BUDGET Shoved Inside

Well, that was ridiculous stupid fun! If you like explosions, love songs at famous tourist attractions, and lots of whistle worthy dialogues, this is for you. If you don’t…then what are you doing watching movies? Go off and read a book or something!

In case you somehow missed the origin story, the director Sujeeth made one small low budget romance/action movie back in 2014. It got good reviews and was generally admired, he had a bright future. And then he talked to Prabhas, a midlevel popular Telugu actor about his next project and Prabhas agreed to do it after he finished a little thing called “Bahubali”. Come 2016, Prabhas is the biggest star in India post-Bahubali, but also a nice loyal guy so he is still planning to do the Sujeeth movie. And Sujeeth, age 26, making his second film based on a nice little script he wrote, suddenly has ALL THE MONEY.

Image result for saaho poster

It’s really ridiculous how much money they spent on this film, like they literally do not know what to do with it. At one point a tank rolls over and destroys two cars. Why? No reason. It’s not a chase scene or anything, it’s just in the background of a song. Someone said “hey, did you know we could hire a tank and roll over two cars?” and someone else said “great, put it on the expense account!” Twice, Prabhas flies. Why? No reason. They also shot a lengthy sequence at Burning Man. For a love song, it’s not even plot related.

And of course the cast is INSANE. Jackie Shroff, Shraddha Kapoor, Mandira Bedi, Neal Nutan Mukesh, and Chunkay Panday for the northerners. Tinnu Anand, Murali, Vijay Anand, Lal, Vennela Kishore, Prakesh Belawadi for the southerners. Jacqueline Fernendes shows up for a song, just for window dressing. And all of these roles don’t actually NEED someone of that caliber!!!! Okay, Jackie, Lal, and Arun Vijay had to be really good. And they were perfectly cast. But everyone else? That could have been random aspiring actors, or small time models, or characters that were just written out entirely. But instead they had just went ahead and kept casting folks and writing them characters. It is like going to one of those all you can eat buffets, no one actually needs that much food, but it sure is fun seeing it all laid out in front of you.

This is a crazy fun movie, I’m not gonna lie. All the money they spent is up there onscreen for you to enjoy. But watching it I kept thinking about the movie it could have been. A little story with a cast that is half the size, no international setting or shooting, songs that are the typical soundstage style, and a nice little Telugu heroine who can actually act.

Not that Shraddha has to act. No one really does. Arun Vijay acts because he always does, and that’s fun. Jackie shows up to have gravitas for a little bit. Lal fills in the gravitas when Jackie isn’t around. And everyone else just kind of goes through the motions and plays their usual kind of characters and doesn’t break a sweat. Some of them look like they are having fun (Chunky Panday and Mandira Bedi especially seem like they are loving the whole scenery chewing possibilities), but Murali just puts in the same old Murali performance he has been doing for decades and so do the rest of the journeyman actor crowd. We aren’t here for the acting anyway, we are here for the exploding helicopters and jawdropping twists and all that stuff.

And that is all as promised! The songs are great fun, the plot is impossible to follow (and who really cares?), the action scenes are spectacular. Oh, and Prabhas of course. This whole movie is a love letter to Prabhas fans, especially the fangirls.

Do you want to see Prabhas half smile and tilt his head and rumble at the heroine? It’s here! Do you want to see Prabhas’ freakishly long fingers over and over and over and over again as they delicately brush over surfaces? This movie is here for you! To the point that I started to feel like I was watching a very specific fetish film! Do you want to see Prabhas without a shirt? Here! Do you want to see Prabhas punch people? Here! do you want to see Prabhas be dignified and leader-like? Also here! Now, do you want to see Prabhas actually act? Well, that’s kind of here, in fits and starts. But whatever, the plot doesn’t demand it anyway.

Of course, there were also things I didn’t need to see. Mostly Prabhas’ ankles. Why do none of his pants go all the way down his ankles? Did he grow 6 inches during filming or somehting?

22 thoughts on “Saaho Review (No Spoilers): An Unambitious Little Action Film with a MASSIVE BUDGET Shoved Inside

    • Well, my audience loved it, but I don’t know how representative that was. We were the folks paying $20 for opening night, so of course we would love it.

      It’s a fun fun movie. It’s not brilliant or groundbreaking, but it is super fun.

      On Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 12:03 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  1. I paid $30 x 2 for IMAX tickets for me and my husband first show. The people I talked to after were disappointed. It’s all the things Margaret said. The action is jaw dropping, the cast is insane — but the plot is also insane. My husband whispered to me more than once, “I have no idea what’s going on.” The plot was so convoluted and confusing! Twist after twist after twist times infinity.

    My husband joined me for a review video for the first time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn2vvshIGU4&t

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you will too! If you watch it for superficial reasons, it will provide just what you want.

      On Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 12:45 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. The verdict from my Telugu friends (both Indian and NRI) is ‘disaster’. Ought to happen with the hype. However, I will not jump into conclusion until I see – as my movie taste is different from my friends and Telugu junta in general.

    They are comparing with Billa – so, might go well in rural mass centers(B/C) , but may not go beyond Tuesday (Monday is festival and holiday in India) in multiplexes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Huh. If anything, I would compare it to Spyder. Interesting concept, too much money and too much spectacle in the execution.

      On Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 1:09 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Glad you enjoyed it! Feel free to spoil yourself and read the other review, it’s one of those movies that is all about the spectacle (he fights a panther!) so the plot doesn’t matter.

      On Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 11:36 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. It looks like Saaho is getting tons of negative feedback and I’ve seen it being compared to other big budget Telugu disasters like Agnyaathavaasi and Spyder. I’m still undecided as to whether I wanna see Saaho or not but I’ll probably end up going if I have time.

    If you liked the little action movie part of Saaho then I would recommend you watching Sujeeth’s first movie, Run Raja Run. It’s a fun, colorful action/romance with nice songs. I think you would find it to be pretty fun! It’s on einthusan but I’m not sure where else it’s streaming.

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    • You should check out Saaho, it’s not quite as deep as Spyder in terms of plot and themes, but the romance track is far better written and integrated, and the songs are equally good, and so on. Just the same problem (I think) of the expectations and budget being so high that people were bound to be disappointed.

      On Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 11:50 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I do want to see it, especially if you’re saying that the romance track is better written. The only problem is that I’m in College Station now and there are very limited timings.

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  4. Do I have the right feeling that you try to describe a certain deception with nice words?
    Reading this and your spoiler review I don’t get the feeling of ever wanting to watch this movie.

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    • Definitely a color tone kind of movie. Bombay is blue and grey and kind of warm earth tones. The desert is sandy. And the Evil Board Room is all shades of black. Someone was working hard at the color correction machine.

      On Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 1:57 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. In the 80s-90s, you rented or bought the VHS and fast forwarded to the song scenes. Everyone knew that plot/story was only to stitch together the songs.

    In the 90s-00s, VHS->DVD, and the song scenes had their own index. You didn’t even have to bother FFwding anymore.

    Today’s movies should have an action scene index. Einthusan already has a song clips index for its recent uploads. They should do the same with action scenes. Once the movie has left the theaters, the producers/distributors could upload a playlist of the action scenes in addition to the entire movie, to their streaming service of choice.

    For a 3 hour movie, I don’t want to sit through 3 hours just to see the action scenes. But if I watch 1 hour of back to back action scenes and like what I see, then I might be tempted to watch the whole movie.

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    • What an interesting idea! And I agree. I hate that I have to hunt around to find the songs in the streaming movies.

      On Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 4:38 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Finally watched it and I had a good time! Yes it’s not this amazing ground breaking film but I thought it was fun and I don’t know why people are being so harsh! Granted I wanted to watch this movie because it looked cool and having zero expectations helped.

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