It seems like Akshay Kumar acts in more movies in a year than there are months in the calendar. With the box-office failures and critical disappointments such as Samrat Prithviraj, Raksha Bandhan, Bachchhan Pandey, and Cuttputtli, Kumar’s 2022 calendar isn’t over yet as Ram Setu is slated for a Diwali release this year.
The teaser for Ram Setu dropped on YouTube today and it is as amusing as expected. Judging by the chaotically-edited video clip, Kumar’s archaeologist character seems to be tasked with protecting the Ram Setu before it collapses in three days.
Also known as Adam’s Bridge, Ram Setu refers to an actual “bridge” of natural limestone deposits that connects India to Sri Lanka. If one were to look at it mythologically, it obviously seems to be the bridge of stones from the epic Ramayana that Ram’s army of monkeys (vaanar sena) helped build.
The CGI diving suit becomes the unintentional highlight: But Lord Ram cannot help our hero Aryan Kulshrestha. Instead, he resorts to some sort of diving suit (that is being compared to a cheap Iron Man suit by many netizens) to go underwater and discover the mythical origins of the bridge. The Aquaman-Iron Man hybrid suit is comparable to real-life diving suits by Hublot. But it’s just the poorly-done CGI that is bound to draw laughs.
The Rohit Shetty-like “boom baam” blasts accompanying the narrative seem formulaic to say the least and might offer little to no hype except for self-professed “Akkians” (that is an actual word for Akshay Kumar fans).
On Twitter, even the ones who were expecting some actual history from this exploration of “myth vs reality”, have been disappointed with what they are terming as “sasta Iron Man”.
An expected Islamic foreign threat: The teaser doesn’t give away much but it is clear that the enemy is some sort of IS/Taliban-like organisation with ties to Afghanistan. Some white flags with black letters printed on them along with an Afghanistan flag are visibly tied to pick up trucks that are being driven in a desert landscape. It’s highly probable that these are the “terrorists” who plan to bomb the Ram Setu.
Who else is in the cast: Kumar is reunited with his Rowdy Rathore co-star Nassar whose role remains unclear. But given how he plays the villain in most of his Tamil and Telugu films, he might most probably be playing the leader of the aforementioned terrorist organisation.
If Akshay Kumar cannot manage to draw much attention, neither can the other actors with the ensemble including Jacqueline Fernandez (whose current money laundering troubles are drawing more attention than her films) and Nushrratt Bharuccha (best known for her role in Pyaar Ka Punchnama).
Telugu actor Satyadev Kancharana plays one of Kumar’s accomplices, this marking his second Hindi film after The Ghazi Attack. However, 2022 has been a sad year for Telugu stars appearing in Bollywood flicks. Just ask Laal Singh Chaddha’s Naga Chaitanya or Liger’s Vijay Deverakonda!
An unpredictable director and a disastrous creative producer: Abhishek Sharma is the director of Ram Setu. The unpredictability of his filmography is evident from how he began with the 2010 socio-political satire Tere Bin Laden and followed it up with an unwatchable sequel Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive in 2016.
His other credits include the comparatively well-received Parmanu, the retelling of India’s first nuclear tests in Pokhran. But then, Sharma has also helmed disasters such as
-The Shaukeens (that movie with that Manali Trance song)
-The Zoya Factor (that Sonam Kapoor movie you might have watched only for Dulquer Salman)
-Suraj Pe Mangal Bhaari (that Diljit Dosanjh and Manoj Bajpayee film you never even knew existed in the first place).
Now, one can wonder if Ram Setu (or Kumar’s suit) would save Sharma’s sinking career.
But Sharma is not who you need to worry about as the teaser reveals Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi as the film’s “creative producer”. Does that name ring a bell? Well, Doordarshan audiences would remember him in the show Chanakya which he also directed and starred in. But modern audiences would know him as the director behind the disaster that was Samrat Prithviraj...starring Akshay Kumar! One can wonder what “creative” decisions Dwivedi might have taken.
So, Ram Setu’s teaser leads us to the question: Will Indian archaeologists ever be cool? Archaeology might not be the best job out there but in countries like the States, at least, an Indiana Jones became a good unofficial ambassador. In India, a country where the already underfunded Archaeological Survey of India is turning into a relic of the past, history students can just resort to movies like Sunny Deol and Vivek Oberoi’s Naksha and the upcoming Ram Setu. Lootera’s Ranveer Singh made for a good archaeologist but then again he turned out to be a…lootera.
Ram Setu releases in theatres on October 25 followed by an Amazon Prime release.