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HomeUncategorizedRam Setu (2022): The Controversial Adam's Bridge - The Movie Blog

Ram Setu (2022): The Controversial Adam's Bridge – The Movie Blog

“People Call Me Bollywood Star…My Name Is Akshay Kumar!” That’s right; and “he” is back, this time with a thrilling action-adventure ride titled “Ram Setu”. Written and directed by Abhishek Sharma, Ram Setu runs for 2 hours and 25 minutes. The film was released worldwide across theaters on October 25, 2022, during Diwali festivities.
Ram Setu, also known as the Adam’s Bridge, is a chain of natural limestone shoals between the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka. This natural bridge is supposed to be a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka.
This is the story of an archaeologist, Dr. Aryan Kulshrestha (Akshay Kumar), who has been assigned the task by a businessman named Indrakant (Nassar) to uncover the truth of Ram Setu. Indrakant was all set to destroy the natural limestone chain for his own profit. So, he appointed Dr. Aryan Kulshrestha, and asked him to perform his research in his “own way”. Indrakant wanted Dr. Kulshrestha to somehow certify that Ram Setu was not built by Lord Ram but is a prehistoric natural formation so that demolishing it for him would become easy, and doing so won’t be hurting Hindu sentiments.
Dr. Kulshrestha was a non-believer in God, and that’s why he agreed to this investigation project. But while performing his research work, he got suspended by his department. Following his suspension, Indrakant sponsored his further research and asked him to formulate a report stating that Ram Setu is a natural formation that was present much before Lord Ram came into existence.
However, as Dr. Kulshrestha continued his further research on the limestone formation, he uncovered some evidence regarding Ram Setu that would question all historical facts. Based on his discovery, he placed his opinion before the Supreme Court of India on the existence of the demon king Ravan and his kingdom, the golden Lanka. In his opinion; if Ravan was existent, then Ram should also be existent. Will Dr. Kulshrestha be able to save the legendary Ram Setu from Indrakant’s destructive plan? Watch the full movie, and find out!

An Interesting Story
The Hindu epic Ramayan mentions that Ram Setu was constructed by Lord Ram and his race of forest-dwelling men known as “Vanars”. Many have the misconception that the Vanars were monkeys who were devotees of Lord Ram. But actually, they were human beings, just like you and me, who belonged to the “Vanar” sect of society. Just being addressed as “Vanars” need not make them real monkeys. The greatest devotee of Lord Ram, Lord Hanuman, was not a monkey but he was a man who belonged to the “Vanar” community. Addressing the “Vanar” sect of the then Indian society as “monkeys” would be equivalent to considering Indian actor Tiger Shroff as a real tiger or a person named “Justin Leopard” as a real leopard!
Coming back to the story; the legend goes that Lord Ram along with his Vanar group constructed this bridge by throwing huge stones into the Indian Ocean so that they could reach the kingdom of Lanka. Mind it that the kingdom of Lanka mentioned in Ramayan is not Sri Lanka. The legendary golden kingdom of Lanka was ruled by the demon king Ravan who had kidnapped Lord Ram’s wife Goddess Sita in order to seek revenge. Ram’s younger brother Lakshman had cut off Ravan’s sister demoness Shurpnakha’s nose. The legend reveals that by constructing this limestone bridge, Ram was able to reach Lanka and kill Ravan.
But the fact is that Ram Setu, according to Ramayan, was constructed between India and the mythological land of Lanka. Most people today consider Sri Lanka to be Ravan’s Lanka. But that’s not true! Ravan’s Lanka, according to Ramayan, was located somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean, not where the present country of Sri Lanka is. So it is a misconception that Ravan ruled present-day Sri Lanka, and Ram had traveled there to save his wife and destroy Ravan. Ram traveled to “Lanka”, not “Sri Lanka”.
In this film, archaeologist Dr. Aryan Kulshrestha is a non-believer like me, which means he doesn’t believe in God. Dr. Kulshrestha is tasked with disapproving of the legend of Ram Setu that it had been constructed by Lord Ram, and proving that the existence of Lord Ram was just a myth. However, as he investigates Ram Setu along with an environmentalist assistant Dr. Sandra Rebello (Jacqueline Fernandez), and a local Sri Lankan guide AP (Satya Dev), after dodging several obstacles, he discovers a lost trail that shed light on the path to Ravan’s golden Lanka!

Remember the good old Hollywood times when Harrison Ford or Nicholas Cage would go on globetrotting adventures to uncover ancient archaeological secrets? Well, Ram Setu takes the help of this Hollywood adventure genre and blends it with Indian history, mythology, and socio-politics. The result? An enjoyable thrill-a-minute fun ride that is sure to keep the audiences engrossed as the mystery of the controversial Ram Setu slowly unfolds!
Convincing Performances
Akshay Kumar as always gave a stand-out performance. I don’t have the authority to elaborate on Akshay’s performance as not only is he way senior to me, but I have been watching his movies since I was a high school kid. His movies are always entertaining for sure. In fact, my favorite pastime is watching Akshay’s movies only. The flop ones are those for which the filmmakers are to be blamed, not he.
Nassar as businessman Indrakant and Satya Dev who played the role of Dr. Kulshrestha’s research team’s guide in Sri Lanka, “AP”, gave enduring performances. In spite of their supportive characters, they truly did make their screen presence felt. Nushrratt Bharuccha carried out her role of Dr. Kulshrestha’s wife, professor Gayatri Kulshrestha earnestly.
However, the problem lay with the lead female cast. I didn’t find the performances of Jacqueline Fernandez as Dr. Kulshrestha’s team member, Dr. Sandra Rebello, and Jeniffer Piccinato as another member of the team, Dr. Gabrielle to be convincing enough. The fact is that they appeared confused throughout their screen time and perhaps didn’t have any idea of what they were supposed to do during the filming.
Impactful Dialogues
Ram Setu is bundled with some amazing thought-provoking dialogues. One such dialogue goes, “Jis Duniya Me Ek Saal Purani Sadak Bhi Gaadhe Me Kho Jaati Hain, Waha Saat Hazaar Saal Purana Itihaas Asaani Se Kaise Milega?” which means, “In A World (Indicating India), Where A Year Old Road Can Disappear; How Do You Expect To Find Something That Is 7000 Years Old?”
Another dialogue goes, “Duniya Me Shree Ram Ke Lakho Mandir Hai…Par Setu Sirf Ek” meaning, “There Are Millions Of Temples Of Lord Ram In This World…But Only One Ram Setu”.
Good Camerawork…But Not So Good VFX
The great camerawork by Aseem Mishra is one of the factors that made Ram Setu enjoyable. I mean, you would be surely enchanted by the stunning and thrilling underwater sequences concerned with the investigation of Ram Setu. The way in which the camera angles have captured the beauty and grandeur of Ram Setu under the Indian Ocean is reminiscent of the Blue Planet documentary of BBC Earth.
In spite of the magnificent real-time camerawork, the quality of the VFX and CGI is questionable. The deep ocean diving scenes showcasing the underwater divers in their exosuits look somewhat cartoonish, indicating poor-quality CGI. Also, the editing and scene placement which have been performed by Rameshwar S. Bhagat, leave a lot to be deserved.
If you ask me, what’s lacking in this interesting story of Ram Setu? I would say; it’s conviction. The story looks so easy-going that in spite of being engrossing, it appears somewhat fake. I mean, the research work and investigation of Ram Setu get done easily by the team without any hassle. At one point, you may start feeling that anything is possible in this story. Dr. Kulshrestha and his team are shown achieving their research goals so easily that at some point you may feel, is this a story or some joke?!For instance, there is a scene that shows Dr. Kulshrestha and his team being chased by the villain’s henchmen during their investigative trip to Sri Lanka. Suddenly, a local Sri Lankan rebel group emerges out of nowhere to save them from the villains. How the rebel group was made aware that their archaeologist friends were in danger? Nobody knows! As I said, anything is possible in this story!
The ending scene shows Dr. Kulshrestha barging into the highest judicial body in India, the Supreme Court, which is all set to deliver its verdict on the fate of Ram Setu, whether it is to be sustained or demolished. Dr. Kulshrestha and his team travel to New Delhi, India from Sri Lanka within a matter of a few hours on the very day the verdict is to be delivered, which looks absurd. In this scene, we can see how easily people can barge into the Supreme Court of India with an “I object milord” phrase, and not get arrested. This is far from reality. Don’t ever think of trying this stunt at any court. Leave it to Akshay Kumar!
Akshay’s Untidy Look As An ArchaeologistAkshay Kumar was one of the most handsome actors in Bollywood who has aged now. During the 90s, he was the heartthrob of almost every Bollywood actress I remember those days. But what on earth have the filmmakers chosen the look of Akshay in Ram Setu?! Akshay is looking way older than he actually is! In certain scenes, he appears as if he is in his mid-70s.
Akshay can be seen sporting an unshaven face full of a white beard, massive spectacles covering almost half of his face, and long unkempt hair. I can understand that his role is that of an archaeologist who has spent his years researching in his field. But the filmmakers should have considered giving him a tidier look. After all, Akshay is a star we all look upon. He is the image of the movie which he does. One need not look untidy just to be showcased as some great archaeologist or researcher. A renowned archaeologist who has spent his life researching can be a well-suited gentleman also. The filmmakers need to understand this. So, I feel that the untidy look of Akshay Kumar in Ram Setu was absolutely unnecessary from the film’s point of view.

A lot of questions were raised in the climax court scene with regard to the legend of Ram Setu. The prosecution told that Christians and Hindus have different opinions concerning its history. Christians in India opine that Adam, the first man on Earth, used that natural bridge to cross from Sri Lanka to India and that’s why it is known as “Adam’s Bridge”. However, the Hindus believe that it was constructed by Lord Ram for the purpose of traveling to Sri Lanka.
Dr. Kulshrestha finally made the Supreme Court judges aware that it was actually the British, who ruled India, who had changed the name of the natural land connection between India and Sri Lanka to “Adam’s Bridge” just to suppress the belief in the existence of Lord Ram in the minds of Hindus. This is as the story goes. However, if you ask me, the controversy regarding Ram Setu or the Adam’s Bridge joining India and Sri Lanka still persists. Nobody knows whether it was really constructed by Lord Ram during his travel to Ravan’s Lanka or whether it existed long before that.
Ram Setu has two religious tracks promoting Hinduism, which are “Jai Shree Ram” and “Om Namah Shivaay”. These two tracks are not at all connected with the film, and I feel that they have been put in just to promote Hinduism. You may be aware of what the slogan of the ruling party in India, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is. It is “Jai Shree Ram” which means “Hail Lord Ram”. Though this is a very common slogan that is chanted by almost every Hindu, including me; I may not be wrong if I think that this film has got something to do with the upcoming 2024 General Elections in India?
Whatever may be the political case, I must tell you that the filming of Ram Setu faced a lot of hardships. The plot of Ram Setu originated in the mind of Abhishek Sharma in 2007. Filmmaking began in March 2021. The crew faced a lot of hardships in their shooting schedules in Mumbai, India as several crew members including Akshay Kumar had tested positive for COVID-19. With filming schedules postponed due to lockdowns all over India, the filmmakers were not able to decide on the exact shooting locations. Even filming of the major underwater action scenes, oceanic shoots, and the climax which were to be done in Sri Lanka was not possible due to the pandemic. So the filmmakers opted to shoot the underwater sequences and the climax at the Daman and Diu union territory of India instead of Sri Lanka.
Even if Ram Setu may lack logic in certain instances, overall it is engrossing and entertaining. I mean to say that once you look past the flaws in logic, the film does emerge as a fun popcorn adventure, the kind Bollywood hasn’t produced in quite a while.Meta film critic. Never make the same mistake twice. Make it three or four times just to be sure 😉
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