India, Aug. 30 — Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor, Chunky Panday, Jackie Shroff, Mandira Bedi, Neil Nitin MukeshDirector: SujeethRating: 2

You rarely get served with hoots and whistles in a lazy morning show. Saaho is that exception till you realize that the cheering is for its star Prabhas – last seen as Baahubali in a film that changed the scale of Indian cinema – and not Saaho itself. Not that the saga hasn’t enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame. Made at a maddening budget over two years, Saaho is supposed to be the action thriller we have been all been hoping for. Alas, it barely lives up to the genre.

Watch the trailer for Saaho here:

Saaho Official Trailer

Writer-director Sujeeth has done everything he could to ensure the audience experiences the adrenaline rush through some high-octane action sequences, quality VFX effects and an exhilarating larger-than-life experience. But sadly enough, Saaho falls flat when a needless romantic angle between lead actors Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor – which weakens the narrative – takes over the story.

With the kind of hype that was built around Saaho, especially its whopping Rs 350 crore budget, you end up wondering where all of it was spent. Go figure.

The film starts on a high note with suave and suited men discussing millions, and setting the stage for a series of events to unfold. Amid a case of mistaken identities and undercover cops, this action-crime thriller focuses on the search for a black box, which supposedly holds the key to money and secrets. By the time you realise who is good and who’s not, the first half of Saaho is already over. Sujeeth doesn’t leave it at that; he keeps bombarding you with unforeseen twists and turns at every point – necessary or not, you decide.

While Prabhas fans are all gung-ho to see the Baahubali star take over the screen once again, his entry in Saaho feels rather underwhelming as you wish for the Baahubali magic. However, that is all in vain. Sporting a clean-shaven look with a casual demeanour, Prabhas lacked the grandeur that one was expecting. However hard you try to ignore Prabhas’ slow dialogue delivery or his awkward dance moves, they do jar.

Even Shraddha’s character of a tough-cop-with-soft-interior lacked depth. She somewhat manages to do justice to the part whenever she came on screen doing everything but the cop stuff.

However, the extended lineup of supporting cast turns saviour at several points. Chunky Panday can finally move on from his Akhri Pasta act in Housefull film franchise, as his deadly villainous avatar in Saaho is too good to be true. He impresses you with every move he makes. Taking a break from her noodle straps is Mandira Bedi, who is a sight for sore eyes in those lovely khadi saris. Jackie Shroff owns the screen with his uncompromised swag in well-tailored shiny suits. The rest of the actors including Neil Nitin Mukesh, Prakash Belavadi, Mahesh Majrekar, Arun Vijay, too, were aptly cast.

While the first half is quite slow and drab, the fast-paced second half covers up for it to some extent. The climax especially — with two extensive action sequences, each lasting for about 10 minutes – is what keeps you on the edge.

There are moments in Saaho when you are prepped for action – choreographed by internationally acclaimed Kenny Bates — the film decides to serve you song and dance instead. Surprisingly, romantic music playing in the background as you watch gun-fire onscreen won’t irk you as much as this highly odd placement of songs. The only takeaway is the majestic and picturesque locales where the songs have been shot, perhaps that’s where most of the money was spent.

Saaho star Prabhas says he’d like to do keep making Bollywood movies

To cut a long story short, Saaho is a classic action thriller that could have been made on par with Hollywood but is reduced to an average story sprinkled with elements of romance, suspense and revenge. Watch it for the last 30 minutes and don’t expect pieces of puzzles to fall into place and make up a believable story, because there isn’t any.For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.comHT Digital streams Ltd