Review: 'Adi Sankara' Disappoints

Film: Jagadguru Adi Sankara
Rating: 2.5/5

Nagarjuna in Jagadguru Adishankara
Banner: Global Peace Creators
Cast: Kousik Babu, Nagarjuna, Mohan Babu, Srihari, Tanikella Bharani, Sai Kumar, Kamalinee Mukherjee, Rohini, Sreerama Chandra, Kamana and others
Music: Nag Srivatsa
Cinematographer: P K H Doss
Director: J K Bharavi
Producers: Jayasri Devi, Global Sai Financiers
Release date: 15/08/2013

Noted writer J K Bharavi who has penned for big hits like ‘Annamayya’ ‘Sri Ramadasu’ has now wielded the megaphone and this time he has chosen a subject which is rather challenging. Let us see how good this is
Story
In a remote part of Kerala is born a boy in a Brahmin family. He is named as Shankara and right from childhood his thinking and questioning impress those around. Shankara’s mother (Rohini) is shocked when she hears her teenage son deciding to become a saint. Shankara leaves home and sets foot in the quest for eternal truth. In that process he gains knowledge, enlightenment, wisdom and grows to become Guru Adi Shankara (Kousik). But a chance encounter with a scholar’s wife (Kamalinee) questions Shankara’s purpose and what he does to achieve it and become Jagadguru forms the rest of the story.

Performances
Kaushik is an absolute disaster who when not looking dazed, looks intensely agitated. He neither has the screen presence nor the acting ability to carry off such a role. 

Nagarjuna was brief but he made his presence felt, Nagababu was apt, Mohan Babu was good, Tanikella Bharani was adequate, Sai Kumar and Suman did their parts well, Kamalinee Mukherjee was sensuous and impact creating.
Indian Idol Sreerama Chandra was confident and effective. Rohini was standard. Srihari was impressive.
The others didn’t get much scope to perform.
Highlights   
  • Songs
Drawbacks
  • Length
  • Consistency in scenes
Analysis
Firstly, J K Bharavi must be appreciated for showing courage to take up this project. There is no heroine in the film, the genre is unconventional and that too the protagonist is not a popular god, he is a historical character.

As such, there is no commercial flavor possible. If it was then by this time all would have taken it. In the past T Subbarami Reddy did a docufeature of sorts on Adi Shankara with Sarvathaman Banerjee. But here, Bharavi attempted the subject in a commercial way too adding a dose of glamour quotient. He was well supported by the technical and production team.
On the flip side, the film would have worked if depth quotient was increased. Like in ‘Gandhi’ we see how the character shows patience, perseverance and heroism is projected. It is the same with Adi Shankara. In his lifespan of 32 years, his traits should have been exhibited more explicitly. Character graph is important. As such, scene by scene it looks OK but the film as a whole has lot of gaps.
The introduction of characters played by Mohan Babu, Bharani was much needed.

Still, on a whole it was indeed an appreciable effort and to those who wish to know about our culture and essence of Advaita this film may be ok.

- Greatandhra
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