Samantha has a lovely, fragile screen presence, but oddly, Shakuntala seems to register the least in this story. This is such a meek protagonist.
Gunasekhar’s Shaakuntalam, based on the Kalidasa play, has been marketed as #MythologyFor Millennials. So as a thought experiment, let’s drag this classic to the modern day. A beautiful woman falls for a handsome dude. He makes vows of marriage, they have sex, and he says he’ll be back for her. She pines for him, but he has a bout of amnesia and forgets her – until he remembers her again. They live happily ever after. On the surface, this is a story you are going to laugh off, but what made it work was the literary form, the poetic richness in Kalidasa’s writing. So to crack this on screen, you need a cinematic vision, something like what V Shantaram had when he made this story into Stree, in the 1960s. (He made an earlier version, too, but I have not seen it.) You need to expand a thin, borderline-ridiculous tale into a spectacle that fills the eyes and also the heart and mind.
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