Saaho Review (SPOILERS): Why is Shraddha Bad at EVERYTHING???

Honestly, doesn’t matter if you read the spoilers or not. Might even help you enjoy the film more if you can follow the plot in advance. Although there is also something to be said for enjoying twists and seeing if you can guess them in advance of the reveal. If you like twists and stuff, read this review. If you get confused by twists and want the summary in advance so you can follow the plot, you can keep reading.

Whole Plot in Two Paragraphs:

Jackie Shroff, founder of a powerful semi-legal corporation located in not-Dubai, is killed the same night his fortune in gold bars was stolen from a boat. Months later, a series of clever robberies happens in Bombay and the police activate a special team, lead by a mysterious undercover cop Prabhas who handpicked ambitious but unappreciated young investigator Shraddha to join the team because he fell in love with her at first sight. They get closer and closer to the thief, Neal Nitin Mukesh. Meanwhile in not-Dubai, Jackie’s secret hidden son Arun Vijay has arrived to take over his empire. Chunky Panday is jealous and starts plotting against him. Arun is supported by Lal, Jackie’s loyal second in command. And assisted by Mandira Bedi, Jackie’s brilliant lawyer. Arun claims he can keep control of their enemies by paying them off with the money hidden in a locker, a locker that can only be unlocked by a “black box”. Mandira goes to India to get the “black box”. But meanwhile, Neal Nitin Mukesh is planning to steal it from her so he can go to not-Dubai and get the fortune. Shraddha and Prabhas keep chasing Neal but can’t catch him because, unbeknownst to them, police officer Murali is secretly working with Neal. At the same time, Shraddha has fallen in love with Prabhas, partly because he has faith in her professional abilities. She admits to him that her parents died in a car accident when she was young because she encouraged her mother to drive too fast and ever since then she has been overly cautious. But Prabhas makes her feel safe and loved and not alone. She gives him a ring and proposes. But then, TWIST!!!!! Neal and Murali manage to steal the Black Box after all. Or do they? Actually, Murali gets it on his own and leaves Neal behind. At which point the police commisioner gets a phone call and learns his undercover man is about to be arrested. He rushes over and identifies NEAL as the undercover cop!!!!! Prabhas is the thief, he was working with Murali to fake being a police officer all along in order to get their information. And now he is escaping, with the Black Box, leaving Shraddha behind. INTERVAL

Post-interval, Shraddha tracks down Prabhas following the clue he left her. She pretends to still be angry with him but willing to partner with him for the money. In reality, she is working with Neal Nitin Mukesh to capture Prabhas. Prabhas takes her on a whirlwind world tour, making all the romantic pictures she drew come true. Shraddha is beginning to be won over to him, when Chunky Panday arrives! He shoots Shraddha and takes her captive and then forces Prabhas to work with him. Prabhas agrees to go to not-Dubai and help to steal the money from Arun Vijay so Chunky Panday can take over. In not-Dubai, Neal Nitin Mukesh has also arrived and is working with Evelyn Sharma and the police force to take down Prabhas. Prabhas pulls off his theft, taking all the money from Chunky Panday spectacularly, and then leading the police away on a car chase while the trucks carrying the money escape. Meanwhile Shraddha is rescued by the police (arranged by Prabhas) and asks to join in the chase. She falls out of a helicopter (she can do NOTHING RIGHT) and Prabhas has to stop what he is doing to rescue her. Prabhas is arrested and taken away by a corrupt cop to be executed by Chunky Panday. At which point he reveals, HE IS JACKIE SHROFF’S REAL SON!!!!! After Jackie died, he went undercover, pretended to be a thief to distract everyone, but actually was coming after Chunky all along, building to the theft of his money. Arun is Lal’s son and his trusted friend. Neal has figured this out at the same time and gets confirmation from Arun. Meanwhile, Mandira Bedi has gone rogue and decides to try to steal the money from the locker herself, only to discover it is empty of money, just a storage place for Jackie’s family photos. She dies of the shock. And at the end, months later, Shraddha sees a news report that Prabhas has taken control of the company and used it to bring electricity to all the villages of India (really? In a few months?). At which point Prabhas shows up and surprises her, and they embrace. Only for the audience to see a sniper watching them because Prabhas will never be truly safe.

Image result for saaho poster

First, let me deal with my favorite part. Mandira Bedi is AWESOME. It’s a completely pointless role, they could have cut her character entirely and lost nothing from the film, but so long as she is there, she is super entertaining. Short hair, linen saris, very precise movements, and at the end going around swinging a big gun and shooting everyone while still being somehow ladylike. In my head canon, she is the same character from DDLJ. After Shahrukh broke her heart, she got a scholarship to Cambridge and Oxford, got her law degree, and became a nasty tough lawyer woman who barely reacts when people are killed in front of her. And her line, “all those men who trick and lie, who do you think gave birth to them? A woman”. That is obviously hard gained wisdom from when that young man from London tricked her.

Really, most of the film is completely pointless. The basic idea is a double twist. The reveal that the undercover cop is the thief and the thief is an undercover cop is great. And fits together perfectly, even to little things like when we are watching the two teams plan and I found myself thinking “wow, the thieves have the kind of budget and office I would think the cops would have”. And yes! That’s true! Because the “thieves” actually are the cops and vice versa. That twist gets us to the interval, and then there is the second twist when we learn the amoral thief is actually an angry son seeking vengeance. And that’s our ending.

Every film needs a romance, and the romance plotline here is kind of interesting. Shraddha’s character is supposed to be established as a smart cop who keeps having her cases handed over to men. Prabhas sees and respects her intelligence, and she likes him because he respects her. We also get their swoony love theme playing every time they meet, this clearly isn’t Prabhas faking his feelings. I was all mad when he took off on her, but then in the second half we see right away that he left her a clue, he put the engagement ring she gave him on a map, circling the city where he would be hiding out. So he really did love her! And the full length swoony love song works to show how he is trying to deserve her and make her love him. The cop-thief dynamic here, that’s very nice and I can feel the tension. And finally, when Shraddha is a hostage and then later helps Prabhas escape the police, I believe in their mutual worry over each other.

Shraddha is, unfortunately, a truly terrible actress. Or at least, does not have the right screen presence for this film. Instead of seeing her as a smart put together cop who isn’t appreciated, I kept seeing her as a fragile big eyed little girl who was real real dumb. If she was playing a damsel in distress, she would have been fine. Once we reached the end and she actually was playing a damsel in distress everything made a lot more sense. But when she is an undercover cop looking at text messages that pop up on her phone from her cop supervisor WHILE SITTING NEXT TO HER TARGET, or when she literally falls out of a helicopter, or really any of her other stupid moments, I just lost all ability to believe in her character.

Anyway, my point is, the original tight two twist structure and little romance plot would have been a nice little movie. But once you start throwing in Mandira Bedi and the moment when Prabhas has to strap on a pair of wings to fly and rescue Shraddha (no really), it all gets very confusing. The original film probably would have been a better movie over all, a nice little story with a nice little cast and some great lines, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining.

This is what happens when you give a 27 year old boy director a nearly limitless budget. It’s not exactly “good” but it is certainly fun to watch!
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15 thoughts on “Saaho Review (SPOILERS): Why is Shraddha Bad at EVERYTHING???

    • Somehow what bothered me the most was that she left Neal’s name in her caller ID on her phone. WHY DO THAT??? Like, teenage girls with secret boyfriends are smart enough not to do that.

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  1. I did it!I saw a Telugu movie without subtitles first day on a Friday afternoon-the things I do for Prabhas!Your observation in the non-spoiler review is spot on-it is big, stupid and fun(well partly) and a love letter to Prabhas.There is no better way to describe it.I was fully engrossed in the first half and while the interval twist was predictable,it was nicely done.I didnt buy the romance(zero chemistry)and the first two songs came out of nowhere. I lost the number of times someone had to save Shraddha and really she is so dull onscreen.The second half song with Jaqueline was obscene yet so much fun,then the whole darn romance again.If there was ever something called too much plotting,then this movie really suffers from it.The director just couldnt give us a break.The preclimax chase was good but by the time he fights off the big goons in desert,I was groaning.Wihen will this end?The climax twists were good,if only every sequence was not cut so many times and all those reveals flying left, right & center making a hotchpotch and not making any impact.They were literally blowing my head-and not in a good way.Again if they had ended the movie when he finally sits on the throne,it would have been better but damn Shraddha has to be brought in,in that low cut dress.If the character of Shraddha & the whole romance,songs were not there,it would have been a much better(shorter)movie. I liked the styling of all characters in this movie-Mandhira was out of the world and even Shraddha spotted some nice costumes.Yet they couldnt make full pants for Prabhas.Also I felt something was off with his face in the first half-the combed back hairstyle and chiselled face aimed at making him look younger was weird.I was glad they went back to his original slightly chubby face-with facial hair-in the second half.I agree that if one watches the movie knowing the plot ahead(&knowing when it will end),it maybe a better experience.Having said that the production values and visuals are stunning.Clearly this film’s goals were on the scale and making Prabhas porn look grand.They have delivered on that 100%.

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    • Yaaaaay! Congratulations! This was my second Telugu film opening day, the first was Bahubali 2. But that was at some fancy theater, not the regular one, so it was empty and there were no whistles. This time was different. I don’t know about your theater, in mine Prabhas and Shraddha both got big whistles and cheers (why her?). And then Neal Nitin Mukesh showed up and there was one sad lonely “yaaay!” from my friend. No one but her loves Neal.

      With Shraddha, we were talking about it afterwards and I am pretty sure her character was supposed to be “talented woman constantly unfairly passed over”, but instead it just came across as “her superiors wisely are not giving her any responsibility because she is BAD AT EVERYTHING”. SO BAD!!!!!

      Agree about Prabhas’ face in the first half. I almost wonder if they did CGI touch ups? That could also explain why it wasn’t as expressive. I suppose they were going for the feel of him being a clean cut young cop but it just looked strange and didn’t work. I would have preferred that they made him look rough straight through and explain it as him being undercover. Equally important question, was that really his body in the shirtless scenes? It seemed skinnier than when he was wearing clothes, but then he is a really skinny dude under all the clothes.

      If this is Prabhas porn, do you think some misguided person in the crew believes we all have an ankle fetish? I am fine with the many many MANY shots of his long fingers, but I feel no desire for all that ankle. Blech!

      On Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 9:23 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Even hubby was wondering if ankle pants is some kind of latest style.i don’t like it either. The shirtless scene was so full of CGI that it’s very well possible that the body was touched up too. The half clad physique in the song with Jacqueline seemed nice enough. Again like the movie,they did too much work on Prabhas also which in the end seems very unnecessary. Also did it seem like Prabhas was little disinterested and not fully there ? Even in his non Baahubali films,he usually fills the screen and in this he didn’t register that much. Not sure if it was because the character was changing so much. It reminded me of Race in the never ending twists saga.

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        • To me it just didn’t feel like Prabhas was having any fun. Like he was just going through the motions and letting the stunts and CGI happen around him, but not really interested. Compared to Neal and Vijay Arun and Mandira Bedi who all seemed to just behaving a blast.

          Is it the latest style? Or did they just make it up for this movie?

          On Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 10:59 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • She really is awesome in this. If she was the Big Bad, I would have been way more interested. There’s the police woman character played by Evelyn Sharma, who has had two semi-high profile roles before this as the “sexy German girl”. So in my mind, she got sick of people thinking of her as only sexy, and joined the police and rapidly became a Super Police Woman in Not-Dubai.

      On Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 11:43 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. The still photos and trailer footage of Mandira Bedi in this are soooo hot! Willing to support any Indian movie that uses middle aged actresses in such badass roles. If only it weren’t a 3 hour time commitment. That will be a $30 nap for me. For that much time & money, my nap better be while I’m being massaged head to toe at a resort on the beach with a mai tai by my side.

    Shraddha is very shrewd, whether it’s calculated, or whether she stumbled upon it sideways. Her brand seems to be – she’s every desi man’s fantasy of what a woman should be, yet she’s non-threatening to women. For a man, she’s “simple” enough to bring home to mom and dad, sexy enough to bring home to bed, warm enough to raise the kids, and empathetic enough to get along with the friends, neighbors, relatives. For a woman, you can imagine her being your sister, friend, relative, or neighbor.

    Plus she makes up for acting talent with physical agility – dancing, fighting, action, etc.

    We will be seeing her in movies for a long time to come.

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    • I was noticing this time that the movie was produced by T-Series and that got me thinking that a lot of Shraddha’s movies are T-series films. I think she fits their brand and vice versa. Young, fun, not that challenging.

      I would also add that Shraddha works very very hard, and that goes a long way.

      On Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 4:26 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. I don’t know much about South Indian films so I hope this isn’t taken in the wrong way but I have a genuine question. What is with a big regional movie getting on board so many actors that would be considered D-list or has-beens in BW? Why does this movie have Mandira Bedi, Chunky Pandey, Neil Nitin Mukesh, and Jackie Shroff? If these people were all thrown together in a Hindi movie, it would be considered a B-grade movie for sure. Are they maybe just not that aware of BW so they think they will draw a North Indian audience to make it more universal?

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    • The thing is, they are all playing supporting roles. The same as they would play in Hindi. Only, in a Hindi movie, you have Jackie playing the father in Bharat, and the sister and the mother and the friend and everyone else being no-names. In this movie, Jackie is there, and all those other roles that would normally be filled in with a no-name has a recognizable face instead. I don’t think it was an unawareness of their fame level in Hindi cinema, I think it was trying to bring in as many d-list actors from Hindi as possible so the Hindi audience would feel comfortable and safe in this new space. Instead of just filling in the parts with unknown folks as usual.

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