Radhe Shyam Review (SPOILERS): You Know the Way a 3 Year Old Tells a Story? With All the Pauses and Backtracks and Cul-De-Sacs? That’s This Movie

Here I am, trying to make this movie into some kind of logical narrative. A well-nigh impossible endeavor!

Whole Plot in Two Paragraphs:

It’s 1976. Our hero, Prabhas, is the “Einstein of Palmistry”. He visits Indira and warns her about The Emergency and therefore is banished from India. He travels around Europe flirting with white women and enjoying life before ending up in Italy where his mother and best friend live. Also in Italy is Pooja Hegde, a young doctor working at the hospital run by her uncle. They meet magically on a train, but then keep missing each other until they finally meet again when Prabhas is hit by a bus and shows up at her hospital. He suggests they start a “flirtationship”, he has no love line on his palm so he will never love or marry, and she isn’t interested in romance either, so it’s perfect! They start dating and then her uncle confronts her and tells her she is falling in love, and she owes it to Prabhas to tell him the truth….she is dying.

Just as she is about to tell Prabhas she is dying, he reads her palm and tells her she will live to be 100. And then she faints and goes to the hospital and almost dies. But Prabhas swears, somehow, she will live 100 years because it is what her palm says and he is never wrong. Pooja decides to believe him, and also decides to tell him she is in love with him. But he tells her that he is leaving in a few days, never to come back. She goes home, crying, and finds his diary in the pocket of a coat he lent her. She learns in his diary that he DOES love her, and also that he knows from the lines on his palm that he is fated to die in a few days. She determines to prove him wrong. Even though a miracle cure has become available for her condition, she decides to die and therefore prove palms are wrong and Prabhas can live. She drives her car into a tree, almost dying. Prabhas is reached in London and takes a cargo ship to Italy. Which is caught in a Tsunami wave. Explosions, drowning, all kinds of things. But Prabhas survives, defeating his destiny, to return to Pooja.

It makes more sense written out like that. For instance, we don’t have a line connecting the dots between Indira’s palm reading and Prabhas being in exile in Europe until, like, halfway through the movie. We just have Prabhas in Europe for no clear reason for a lot of the time. There’s also a whole bit about a funny hypochondriac ship’s captain who ends up being the captain of the ship Prabhas takes back to Italy. And a whole thing proving that Prabhas’ prediction for Pooja will be true. It’s just a messy mess narrative! And a poorly written plot.

“Narrative” is everything that happens in a movie. So, like, the decision to not explain why Prabhas was in Europe until hours later. Or the decision to throw in the ship’s captain and give him loads of plot time and then forgetting him. “Plot” is the story of the film, the stripped down central boy-meets-girl kind of thing. And in this film, both are just not really great. I can handle a movie with a solid plot and a bad narrative, say Dilwale where there were all these cul-de-sacs and nowhere places to kill time but the central story was solid and clear. And I can handle a movie with a good narrative and a random plot, like Happy New Year where the central story was kind of confusing but each scene moment by moment was a kick. But this movie is both confusing and dull moment by moment, and also has no clear central story.

I just don’t get why it DOESN’T have a good central story! I can accept that Telugu films will have weird cameos and strange comedy sections and magical thinking like “Palmistry is specific and unquestioned”. But I’ve seen so many lower budget and less well-made films that have a grasp on, like, why the hero and heroine love each other and where the finale is coming from. Darling, say. That is a silly silly movie. The first half is a made up story that Prabhas is telling someone to explain why he can’t marry his daughter. The second half is the real story of Prabhas trying to woo his childhood sweetheart. And it’s FUN! It’s totally illogical and crazy, but the romance plot has a clear beginning (childhood promise) and end (she confesses she’s just been torturing him all this time and loves him too). This movie could have had that, but it just doesn’t. The twists come at the wrong time, it never seems to settle into an idea, and the romance just doesn’t click.

Let’s start with the whole “Prabhas is open about not having a love line, but secret about his death time”. And also, “palmistry is real except when it isn’t”. The ending-ending actually works for me, Prabhas fights against destiny to live despite his destined death. But then, if he had no love line, why earlier did he fall in love so easily? Without fighting destiny? You can’t mix “fight against destiny” with “sometimes it just happens”!!!! Not when the whole plot of your film is based on it.

And Pooja Hegde is dying, and then she isn’t. It starts out as a cool Geethanjali sort of idea, she is living this happy life and her family is accepting of her flirting and dating because they know she doesn’t have much time. But then once she learns Prabhas is dying, her whole thing kind of gets forgotten? Like, she had this mini-journey to accept that she will live, and then poof, that’s all gone! She’s right to romantical “I will kill myself to force Prabhas to live”.

There’s good stuff in here too. Lots of sweeping visuals. Lots of giggle inducing illogic, like the fact that the hospital seems to be in some sort of roman bath building complete with elaborate tiled floors? Fairly okay period look, lots of 1970s cars and a few 1970s clothes. It’s just so unsatisfying as a full project, doesn’t really come together the way it should. Just makes you sigh.

9 thoughts on “Radhe Shyam Review (SPOILERS): You Know the Way a 3 Year Old Tells a Story? With All the Pauses and Backtracks and Cul-De-Sacs? That’s This Movie

  1. The movie was a mess like you said and it felt like there was a lot cut out of it that could have explained more. For example, what was the point of Jagapathi Babu’s character? You already had the Indira Gandhi sequence and train accident to prove that Prabhas can make accurate predictions so what was the point of Jagapathi Babu unless he was going to a villain who wants to get back at Prabhas for predicting his father’s death or something.

    I honestly didn’t mind that it was just Geethanjali with palmistry and european setting added, but I wish there was more angst between them. Prabhas is just adamant that Pooja’s not gonna die and Pooja finds out he’s gonna die but never says anything to him until 15 mins later.

    Also I didn’t understand where that idea of only one of them surviving during the Shipwreck/Pooja’s Surgery sequence came from. Was that even explained at any point?

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    • No! It wasn’t explained! There was no consistancy to how it all worked.

      On Wed, Mar 16, 2022 at 11:04 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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      • Lol, that’s what I thought! I would have been fine with the inconsistencies if I was able to connect to the love story but I didn’t really care much about the characters even towards the end of the movie.

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  2. I haven’t read this review because I planned to watch the movie, but somwhere I saw Geetanjali mentioned and now I must ask: People die of cancer in this film?

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  3. THIS IS THE MOST RIDICULOUS MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN! Scene after scene I couldn’t believe in what I was seeing.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it with anger or something, more with disbelief and surprise that a movie like that was made in 2022. It’s so unapologetically romantic and ridiculous and absolutely illogical. Really there isn’t even 1 logical scene in it.
    But it could be so good! With a little less nonsense and a little more emotions I would love it. The best parts were when Prabhas shown emotions: when he couldn’t stop the train, when he came and waited for Pooja in rain on his bike, and when he called her from London. He was so beautiful and moving. Now I’m a little angry because nobody makes big romantic movies anymore and they had a romantic idea and an enormous budget and made something like that. Why? Didn’t they read the script, or watch the film after finishing to see the weak parts?

    It’s such a mess. As Niki said, Jagapathi Babu was there for no reason. Munnali Sharma doesn’t have even one sentence, so why he is there? And why Prabhas’s face looks so funny? I think they used some special effects because it looks really weird in some scenes. But why? He is handsome, and doesn’t need it. But the biggest question is: why they thought we need another Titanic? It was copy and paste of Titanic, and I don’t want to know how much it cost.

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  4. I forgot to add one thing. After having seen the movie I was 100% sure the guy who wrote and directed it must be very influencial or rich or son of some very rich father. Nobody wants to be his enemy and that’s why nobody told him the script sucks. But today I read this Radha Krishna Kumar comes from a middle class family, is younger then me and had made only one movie prior Radhe Shyam. And now I’m really really confused because if he really is some random, not experienced guy why someone gave him 300 crores to make a movie? And why nobody told him the script is not good? Whoever funded this film must be really crazy or rich.

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