Kalki 2898 AD review: Prabhas, Kamal Haasan-starrer is a cinematic spectacle bridging past and future


    Kalki 2898 AD

    The epic tale of Kalki 2898 AD intertwines mythological roots with a futuristic vision, setting the stage for an ultimate showdown.

    Director :
    • Nag Ashwin
    Cast :
    • Amitabh Bachchan,
    • Prabhas,
    • Deepika Padukone,
    • Kamal Haasan
    Genre :
    • Mythological sci-fi
    Language :
    • Telugu, Tamil, Hindi
    Platform :
    • Theatrical
    Kalki 2898 AD review: Prabhas, Kamal Haasan-starrer is a cinematic spectacle bridging past and future
    Updated : June 27, 2024 11:06 AM IST

    Director Nag Ashwin's Kalki 2898 AD is the melting pot of all mythological stories that we grew up listening to. In Indian literature, the great war of Mahabharata provides endless muse to writers and poets. The epic story has been reimagined and retold in hundreds of variations, and yet it continues to fascinate artists and audiences alike. Similarly, the main narrative in Kalki 2898 AD keeps returning to the Mahabharata battle to provide a mythological context to events that happen 6000 years in the future.

    Kalki 2898 AD begins in the middle of a Mahabharata battle. The battlefield is overflowing with destruction and death. Lord Krishna appears before Ashwatthama (Amitabh Bachchan) and condemns him for using a weapon against an unborn child. The curse burdens Ashwatthama with immortality. While all great heroes pass away peacefully, Ashwatthama is stuck amidst humans, as they inflict inconceivable suffering and pain on Mother Earth and on themselves. Ashwatthama experiences hell on earth. And 6000 years later, the earth turns into hell.

    The world has been stripped of all its resources. The silver lining is, that there are no more wars. But, all the power in the world has been consolidated in Supreme Yaskin (Kamal Haasan). He is said to be about 2000 years old, and he's rotting. Thanks to his wealth and god-like stature, he stays alive with the help of advanced technology. Like Ashwatthama, Yaskin is also immortal. But unlike Ashwatthama, Yaskin actively seeks immortality to become more powerful.

    Yaskin has cornered all the world's remaining resources in the Complex, a mega-city suspended between the earth and the sky. Every man and woman in Kashi dreams of becoming a citizen of the Complex, including the legendary bounty hunter Bhairava (Prabhas). Bhairava needs one million units, a form of digital currency, to gain admission to the Complex. Bhairava is assisted by an AI called Bujji, which operates his bounty-hunting car.

    This is the primary setup in the first part of Kalki 2898 AD. It should not come as a surprise though. The Mahabharata is a sprawling epic with countless stories, dynamic characters, and overlapping narratives, brimming with timeless wisdom. One movie cannot contain all these elements in just a single movie.

    This dystopian setup foreshadows the grim future for mankind should the world continue on its current course, but underneath, it's packed with mythological symbols and diverse cultural, spiritual, and religious beliefs. Nag Ashwin has explored the themes of greed and the innate senselessness of humans. "I am trying to fix the defect in humans," says Yaskin, in an attempt to explain the reason behind his megalomaniac actions. It doesn't matter that Yaskin's scorched-earth policy uses the earth as fossil fuel to cater to the comfort and luxury of a few.

    At the end of Kalki 2898 AD, the good guys seem to have been defeated, and the evil is revitalized. But the movie ends on a triumphant note, after having set up a potent ground with numerous possibilities to foster a movie franchise that can fascinate not just Indians, but people of all cultures, traditions, and countries.

    The special effects in Kalki 2898 AD are top-notch. According to reports, the producers, Vyjayanthi Movies, have spent Rs 600 crore making it, and every rupee shows on the screen. The background score by composer Santhosh Narayanan gives a unique personality to the movie, and it sounds new and refreshing.