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Kalki 2898 AD: Is India Ready for its Biggest Sci-Fi Movie Ever?


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Kalki 2898 AD: Is India Ready for its Biggest Sci-Fi Movie Ever?

India will find its next biggest movie in Kalki 2898 AD. Produced by Vyjayanthi Network, the multi-starrer movie will hit theatres later this June, after having released the trailer recently. While it may be the biggest movie — by all measures of scale — for the decade, Kalki 2898 AD is presenting a lot of new things to the Indian movie-going audience.

The film is a mix of dystopia, science fiction, and mythology. Director Nag Ashwin sets Kalki at the time predicted to be that of Kali Yug, or a dark phase of earth’s existence according to Hindu scriptures. SUM-80 (Deepika Padukone) is with child, and Ashwatthama (Amitabh Bachchan) makes it his mission to protect her and the unborn savior in her womb. Enter Bhairava (Prabhas), recruited by King Manas (Saswata Chatterjee) to capture SUM-80. Kamal Haasan too makes a presence, but it is unclear as to who he is playing.

Kalki 2898 AD promises big on VFX

A good science-fiction/dystopia is never complete without good VFX. Kalki 2898 AD is outshining the Ayan Mukerji-directed Brahmastra as the most expensive Indian movie ever made. A considerable share has undoubtedly been spent on VFX. Editor Vishal Kumar said that the film is “not your Adipurush,” another VFX-heavy mythological drama that failed terribly because of shabby VFX. He also said that nearly a decade went into researching VFX like those used in Avatar and Marvel movies. Nearly 38% of the film’s total budget went into VFX, and Kumar’s claims on Kalki 2898 AD’s visuals actually seem to be true. (At least in the trailer.)

The story is straight from the Mahabharata, but seems mixed with dashes of the Hollywood multi-million grosser Dune trilogy and the Star Wars franchise. Prabhas sports a suit that is akin to that of Hollywood and Bollywood superheroes, complete with chiselled metallic abs and everything. The fashion aspect of Kalki 2898 AD seems reminiscent of Dune, sporting a dull color palette including browns, blacks and greys. There’s also some Mad Max elements to it, especially with the inclusion of an AI-powered vehicle called BU-JZ-1 (Bujji). The car made a debut in Mumbai’s streets earlier this week, sending auto geeks in a frenzy. Automobile giant Mahindra partnered with Jayem Automotive to bring this futuristic car to life. 

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Will the multi-starrer film deliver up North?

Prabhas is lucky to have survived the failure of Adipurush. But whether Kalki 2898 AD, that features the greats of multiple movie industries, sweeps the audience off its feet is debatable. The movie is primarily Telugu, but has Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada versions as well. Films from South India have been making waves only with its massy blockbusters, like Baahubali, KGF Chapters 1 and 2, and Pushpa. Kalki 2898 AD is complete with its dose of mass as welll, featuring an 81-year-old Amitabh Bachchan making a dust-spewing landing in a fight sequence. Not only that, he’s also seen throwing 3 men off of him in a similar sequence. It leaves one to wonder if the rest of India is ready to witness an icon doing something extremely different to their persona. Until June 27, it remains unclear if Kalki 2898 AD is simply an empty spectacle, or a quality piece of Indian filmmaking.

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