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Kalki 2898 AD Movie Review: Top-class visuals, ordinary writing

June 27, 2024
Vyjayanthi Movies
Prabhas, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Disha Patani, Kamal Haasan
Djordje Stojiljkovic
Swapna Dutt & Priyanka Dutt
Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao
Nitin Zihani Choudhary
Sai Madhav Burra
Archana Rao
Anil Jadhav, Santosh Shetty, Velu, Rembon
Praveen Kilaru
Vamsi - Shekar, Yuvraj, Venkatesh, Athira, Sabari
Silly Monks
Saregama Music
Santhosh Narayanan
Aswini Dutt C
Nag Ashwin

'Kalki 2898 AD', produced under Vyjayanthi Movies, is the latest box-office release. In this section, we are going to review the epic dystopian science fiction action film.


The film is set in a dystopian future wherein Bhairava (Prabhas) is a selfish bounty hunter who wants to reach The Complex, a malevolent world otherwise endowed with pleasures. An immortal named Ashwatthama (Amitabh Bachchan) believes that Sumathi (Deepika Padukone) is bearing a child named Kalki, ordained to be the Saviour of the damned world.

In the Complex, Supreme Yaskin (Kamal Haasan) wants Sumathi's serum for an ulterior motive. He knows that the birth of Kalki will bring catastrophe upon him.

The core of the story lies in whether Sumathi can be saved and whether Bhairava is cut out for higher things in life.


Prabhas brings physicality in playing a chilled-out character who knows that the world is immoral and he should be cynical to have his way. His performance is less penetrating than it was in 'Salaar' and more impactful than it was in 'Adipurush' and 'Radhe Shyam'. Amitabh Bachchan as Ashwatthama is gigantic in impact. Kamal Haasan is perfect as Supreme Yaskin, but is extremely limited in his screentime.

Deepika Padukone's existential worry is etched into the film's screenplay. Disha Patani as Roxie doesn't serve up unnecessary glamour. Rajendra Prasad, Shobhana as Mariam, Pasupathy, Mrunal Thakur, Malvika Nair and others are good.

The cameos are not overbearing. Dulquer Salmaan is good, while Vijay Deverakonda as Arjuna is poor. RGV and SS Rajamouli have cameos that trivialize the gravity of the genre.

Technical aspects:

The dismal surroundings of the multiple backdrops are brought out with thoroughgoing technical finesse. The striking exterior, where required, whiplashes across the surroundings. The production design by Nitin Zihani Choudhary is composite.

Santhosh Narayanan's music functions to convey the sense of trauma (or triumphalism, as the case may be) experienced by the characters. There are also moments of grandeur where the BGM comes into its own.

Djordje Stojiljkovic's cinematography is comprehensive with wide shots, close-ups and focus shots in optimal measure. The low-key lighting and the use of grays and browns are also balanced. The costumes by Archana Rao are somewhat artificial because of the borrowed feel they give.


Nag Ashwin makes the film as a dystopian adventure blockbuster comedy with the sci-fi aspect as the icing on the cake. The film is thinly written. The dialogues by Nag Ashwin (with additional dialogues by Sai Madhav Burra) feel like they were written for a convent school skit. Barring some references to the mythology, they don't feel real.

Thoughtful characterizations are missing. If the characters come alive here and there, it is because of the actors portraying them. The momentum is in question in the first half.

The fight choreography (led by King Solomon, Andy Long, Peter Heins, Satish, Anbariv, and Nick Powell) explodes with style in the second half. But here too, the choreography is not worthy of repeat viewings because of the pronounced Hollywoodian aesthetic. Razor-sharp cuts capture the chaos on display, though.

As the movie skids towards its climax, the momentum intensifies vastly. And the last 30 minutes is where the film comes into its own. For a 180-minute visual spectacle, the writing should have been way more tight.

The wait for a better tomorrow, the references to Puranic characters, and the element of everything being traded for "units" add a sense of mystique to the film. However, as far as the emotions go, the film lacks a core. The Rebels' fight for a virtuous era doesn't feel absorbing. The brief backstory of Bhairava feels half-baked. The context of a lot of conversations is lost on the viewer at times.

Closing Remarks:

'Kalki 2898 AD' should have got a better tone. It is visually gorgeous and aesthetically rich (although not rare) but the writing is mediocre.

Critic's Rating