‘Kalki 2898 AD’ Review: Prabhas Epic Is Terrific, Cathartic Fun

Kalki 2898 AD is a gigantic event from the very beginning; the planet is a wasteland, with dead bodies illuminated by covering the earth to the luridly lit horizon, drums thundering, and voices rising in a choral tide. Ashwarthama, the only person who appeared to have survived the battle, was cursed by Krishna, who was riding a chariot drawn by four appropriately apocalyptic black horses. He was avenging the sin of shooting an unborn child.

In Nag Ashwin’s magnificent Telugu-language epic, the courageous Ashwarthama, like many of the others who are bumbling through it, does not have a moral foundation.

It is because of Krishna that he will have plenty of time to acquire one; he is not to be punished with death, but rather with thousands of years of a miserable life waiting for his destiny, which is to save the god Vishnu in his final incarnation. They teach us that a god can manifest himself in a variety of ways.

To Vishnu’s tenth and last incarnation, the name Kalki was bestowed upon him. It is said that Kalki will make his appearance in the great epic poem Mahabharata at a time when everything is so terrible that it needs to be cleaned up once and for all.

As a result of the fact that there is always someone asserting that the worst of times is now, it is not surprising that there have been quite a few Kalki pretenders in real life. And despite the fact that the title makes reference to the year 2898 AD, Kalki 2898 AD could be interpreted as a sequence of allusions to contemporary events.

The story’s skein of plot threads includes a climate disaster that was caused by humans, femicide, the erasure of democratic liberties, and an outrageous gap between the rich and the poor. All of that. Alternately, you could think of it as a massive space opera that combines elements from Star Wars, Mad Max, Blade Runner, and The Handmaid’s Tale with elements from Indian mythology, bringing them together in a fantastic, cinematic froth. Feel free to choose. In either case, it is extremely oppressive. But this is only the first episode.

Jump ahead of the titles and continue. It has been 6,000 years since Ashwarthama walked through that field of the dead, and it is now Shazam. There is now just one city, Kashi, which is teeming with impoverished grafters who are pleading for the leaders’ indulgence at the gates of The Complex, which is the top of the line when it comes to gated estates.

The Complex is shaped like an inverted pyramid and is so enormous that the park on the flat roof includes an ocean. If it were an apple, these individuals would kill each other off.

New arrivals from the wastelands beyond are being apprehended by guards who are searching for young women who are fertile or who have the potential to become fruitful in the future. They are “seeded” and fed while they are incarcerated. Their amniotic fluid, which is extracted during the early stages of pregnancy, is the most coveted thing in the world.

It is not that anyone desires babies. This “serum” is being administered to the ailing monarch Supreme Yaskin (Kamal Haasan, who is perpetually magnificent) through yet another horrific network of tubes.

There is, however, a rebel village known as Shambala that is located somewhere beyond the boundless desert. The idea behind this community is that one day, a blessed mother will arrive to give birth to a messiah who will put everything back in order. Above all else, this movie demonstrates how much myth is passed down from one culture to another.

Under the watchful eye of the now-ancient Ashwarthama, she successfully makes her entrance in the enticing persona of Sumathi, played by Deepika Padukone. Amitabh Bachchan, a Bollywood film legend who is 81 years old, plays the role of Gandalf. He exudes the sorrow of millennia and looks very much like Gandalf. This is a brilliant piece of casting. The majority of the props, including the magic staff that he holds, have the tendency to catch fire. He even carries it.

Bhairava, a battle-weary bounty hunter, is also on Samarthi’s trail, and he is hoping to sell her to The Complex. Of course, the monsters who inhabit The Complex are equally intent on capturing her. As portrayed by Prabhas, a very successful pan-Indian actor, Bhairava is never less than lovable, humorous, astoundingly invincible, and indisputably attractive.

He is not just out for himself and the devil take the hindmost, but he is also out for himself. Imagine Harrison Ford from Star Wars, with that sly smirk; Bhairava even has a robot as a sidekick, just like Han Solo of Star Wars. Watch this very big and very chaotic space; despite the fact that he is a very mischievous youngster, he has the potential to become a hero in the real world.

Without a doubt, the architects and designers of that area have had a great time. Shambala is a combination of high-tech forcefields, steampunk vehicles that have been thrown together, and medieval armament, just like Kashi, or better yet, like the world of Mad Max. There is a significant amount of dramatic fighting, which frequently includes flying; fist fights bring down entire buildings while remaining unharmed for the combatants taking part in them.

This is the art of the impossible, which brought it to us via computer-generated imagery (CGI), which, in contrast to many of its western equivalents, is allowed every opportunity to go big. Why would you make an effort to conceal something that you can rejoice over?

The world comes to an end in this manner, not with a whimper but with a great many enormous bangs, battles, and increasingly convoluted alliances, betrayals, and impassioned melodies along the way.

Given that Vishnu’s next avatar has reportedly not yet been born, what is dubbed in the marketing blurbs as the Kalki Cinematic Universe may be expected to rage, burn, and rip-roar for a good few editions yet, leaving fans happy flattened with weariness at the end of each and every one of them. It is a wonderful and cathartic experience. I don’t know what to say. That flaming staff deserves all the power.

“Kalki 2898 AD” directed by Nag Ashwin and featuring Prabhas, is a highly ambitious film that blends elements of the ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata, with a futuristic setting. This movie has garnered significant attention due to its star-studded cast and massive production scale.

The storyline begins in the era of the Mahabharata and extends 6000 years into the future, culminating in the year 2898 AD. The narrative follows Bhairava, a bounty hunter played by Prabhas, who embarks on a quest involving ancient and futuristic elements. Bhairava discovers that Sumathi, a character played by Deepika Padukone, is the mother of Kalki, a prophesied savior. The film explores Bhairava’s journey, filled with battles, alliances, and betrayals, as he attempts to navigate through complex futuristic societies while dealing with remnants of ancient legacies​.

Prabhas plays a dual role as Bhairava and Karna, an ancient warrior. Amitabh Bachchan portrays Ashwatthama, an immortal warrior from the Mahabharata, and Kamal Haasan plays the antagonist, Supreme Yaskin. Deepika Padukone and Disha Patani play pivotal roles, with the former’s character Sumathi being central to the prophecy surrounding Kalki​.

The film is directed by Nag Ashwin and produced by Vyjayanthi Movies. With a budget of approximately Rs 600 crore, it is one of the most expensive Indian films ever made. The production team faced significant challenges, particularly in integrating a distinctly Indian aesthetic into a futuristic world without making it look like a generic sci-fi setting. Ashwin aimed to keep the essence of Indian culture intact while imagining a futuristic society​​.

“Kalki 2898 AD” promises groundbreaking visual effects and set designs. The film’s aesthetic is a blend of traditional Indian and high-tech futuristic elements. This juxtaposition is expected to create a unique visual experience that sets it apart from other sci-fi films. The production team worked with various concept artists to create detailed and immersive environments​​.

The film’s trailer received positive feedback, with many praising its visual grandeur and ambitious scope. It is anticipated to set a new benchmark for Indian cinema in terms of storytelling and visual effects. Given its star cast and the director’s vision, “Kalki 2898 AD” is poised to be a significant cinematic event, potentially revolutionizing the Indian film industry​​.

“Kalki 2898 AD” explores themes of destiny, heroism, and the cyclical nature of time, drawing heavily from Hindu mythology. The character of Kalki, the prophesied tenth avatar of Vishnu, symbolizes the destruction of evil and the ushering in of a new era. The film’s narrative structure, spanning thousands of years, emphasizes the eternal struggle between good and evil and the role of heroes in shaping history​.

“Kalki 2898 AD” is more than just a film; it is a grand experiment in storytelling that aims to bridge the past and the future. With its all-star cast, intricate plot, and innovative visual style, it has the potential to leave a lasting impact on audiences and redefine the boundaries of Indian cinema. The movie is scheduled for release on May 9, 2024, and is eagerly awaited by fans and critics alike​.

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