When the teaser for the highly anticipated and highly hyped film Adipurush was released earlier this month, its graphics became inadvertent meme fodder. The short teaser’s visual effects and visuals were heavily criticised by viewers. On social media, jokes and memes began to proliferate, with some even claiming that the animation of the 1992 Ramayana anime was superior. In response to all of this, the director of the film, Om Raut, stated that it was intended for a “big screen experience” and that those who viewed it on small screens did not experience its full splendour. On Friday, I viewed the preview on the big screen, and I’m sorry to say that it looks exactly as horrible as it does on my smartphone.
Adipurush is a retelling of the Ramayana, starring Prabhas as Raghava, Kriti Sanon as Janaki, and Saif Ali Khan as Lankesh, all of whom are based on Lord Ram, Sita, and Ravana, respectively. Many individuals criticised the teaser’s “cartoonish” visual effects and poor CGI. The team quickly organised a 3D screening of the trailer, where director Om Raut defended his film. “I was undoubtedly disheartened, but not unexpected, as the film is designed for a larger medium—the big screen.” You can reduce it to some extent, but you cannot reduce it to the size of a mobile phone. This is a setting I cannot control. If I had a choice, I would never upload it to YouTube, but it’s necessary at the moment… I was not surprised, as it is not designed for a smaller display. It is designed for a larger screen, and I cannot view it on a smaller one,” he said.
No screen in the world can justify a vanara sena that looks worse than video game animations, especially since Planet of the Apes established the standard years ago. However, I was willing to accept Om’s word for it. Then, though, I chance to view the Adipurush trailer on a large screen. It was performed prior to the October 14 release of the Hindi version of Kantara. Full disclosure: I did not view it in 3D, but I am willing to argue anyone who claims that doing so will improve it.
In all honesty, nothing about the trailer was enhanced on the large screen. Some graphics did appear better, but those were the ones with the least amount of CGI. Especially in the sequences where Kriti and Prabhas stand in a field of flowers or when Prabhas launches an arrow into the sky, the grandeur of the film was more visible on the big screen. Everything else appeared to have originated from a late-2000s Rockstar Games release.
I will concede that there was one positive aspect. Sharad Kelkar’s voice (who has dubbed for Prabhas), the Jai Shri Ram chanting, and the theme music truly filled the auditorium in Dolby Surround Sound (I’m guessing that’s what my theatre had), and that was quite remarkable. Regarding the fake Dementors and Ravana’s ten heads, the ‘large screen experience’ failed to impress me.
Om Raut must recognise that the modern audience is intelligent. Yes, the internet is harsh, but altering the screen size won’t make a difference if the general audience dislikes the visual effects. If anything, it may magnify the problems when viewed on a screen one hundred times larger. I certainly hope the filmmakers are competent. Follow the example of Ayan Mukerji. He continued to work on Brahmastra till three days prior to its release. You still have two months left. Do it, since a story as complex as the Ramayana deserves a better movie adaptation than what we’ve seen thus far.