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Kalki 2898 AD, a movie that is unexpected in all the good ways(spoilers!).

Kalki 2898 AD poster

Kalki 2898 AD, is a really refreshing experience, let me begin with that, so far in Indian cinema, lot of "blockbusters" have had the same through line of oh look a hero who is downtrodden but happy go lucky and how he stumbles his way through getting a really hot girl and beats up a villain and gets the girl and what not an everything is hunky dory.

But in recent times, the South Indian movie industries especially, like Tollywood and all are really setting a new standard for the industry with movies such as Bahubali.

Now Prabhas on a whole has left a bitter taste in a lot of people's mouths after is absolutely atrocious performance as Lord Ram in Adipurush.

Oh no wait, Adipurush is the best movie ever and thats the gospel.

And a lot of the things that I mentioned as not liking in modern blockbusters, or being repetitive at least are present in this movie, at least in the beginning when Prabhas as a character is introduced.

there is a lot of him being one of the best bounty hunters ever and simultaneously being the laziest man ever, of course a lot of it is calculated on his part as he uses holograms to his advantage.

And the Holograms as well are used to do a lot of comedy, but I never really much hated that aspect as it is used by the character in universe to his own advantage.

And their sole existence is not comedy so they are quite tolerable even though they might not be as funny on their own and they do flow seamlessly into the character that they have cr ated.

Hologram Bhairavas

Bhairava the character that is later revealed to be a reincarnation of Karn from Mahabharata is introduced and art up quite well even though the scenes on their own might be a little not that great.

It is very clearly established that why his character is important and what role he plays with even before the reveal.

We see how he desperately wants to go to "the Complex" the flying city in the sky that immediately reminded me of alita battle angel and a million other sci fi franchises.

And there is a reason creatives keep copying this same idea, and that is because that's how someone who sees themselves as a god would establish themselves

Above the rest, above the masses.

And we see that in this world created by the supreme Yasuke that takes resources from the earth and from the poor to make the complex even better and more lavish, our main character is actually pretty typical of what you would expect from someone living in this era.

Most people only think of themselves and so they would obviously just want to go to the complex where life is like a dream.

The Complex.

And the entire sequence where Bhairava and his girlfriend Roxy sneak away from their jobs and go off the beaten path in to the greater reaches of the Complex is pretty necessary both to further establish Bhairava's motivation to go into the complex and for us the audience to see the contrast between the lavish world up there and the downtrodden world here.

The world above is all trees and clean water and amazing places where people party and dance all the time with some lower levels where workers work their ass off to maintain this fantasy, Roxy basically gets this job and that is how Bhairava is able to go there getting a one hour permit to go alongside her.

And as I said all of this is quite important, but me being an Indian could very well see the hands of the producers asking desperately for a love interest and of course its Disha Patani what else will you make her do? I mean it's not like her character is shown to be much more interesting than a simple love interest in this very film...

And the scenes while necessary do feel somewhat contrived, like these are essentially workers going off of their designated place and sneaking around this place, and they are just riding around on horses and going to parties? Like I get from a character point of view these two are shown to be the rebellious type, especially Bhairava, but after an initial "I'll lose my job" we hear nothing from Roxy, in fact she seems pretty into it.

I guess she would be, but she has a lot to loose innit? If she is caught, and they show like a drone... I'm gonna break my brain aren't I?

And then this play literally no role in the rest of the movie, like the fact that Bhairava is caught is never brought up again.

Bhairava fires his Jetpacks to get out of his car Bujji

Now since I brought it up I must mention how the lower world is, it's basically destroyed, the entire place looks like a barren wasteland akin to a desert where people aren't even ready to give water without a price.

The entire place is ruled by bounty hunters and soldiers from the complex and the worship of a deity is basically forbidden.

Now the thought did cross my mind that perhaps this is specifically Idol worship and maybe they are drawing some real world parallels, but then this is never brought up again and so I think this is simply a commentary on how authoritarian regimes ban all that they cannot control especially a religion or a deity.

And this absence of a deity is symbolically over when Bhairava prevents a large disk from falling on people and while he is surprised at his own strength it is revealed that the other side has the Idol of a God and all of this happens when the primary Plot of the movie reaches its first climax.

And that, is another thing that looking at it I feared controversy on the internet, as the entirety of the primary plot revolves around the mother or "maa" who is said to carry the tenth and final Avatar of the God Vishnu.

The Serum extraction chamber in Project K

The first half of this plot revolves around something called project K, get it? Kalki? Regardless. Project K is basically a long running scientific experiment where those select few women who are able to conceive are inoculated with an experimental Serum to get them pregnant and then the Serum is extracted from their bellies when it reaches "maturity" and that is Ideally after a hundred and twenty days, but no one is able to carry the fetus that long.

And it is a growing theme in this movie that Women are not able to conceive and the mere presence of a "fertile" woman is immediately reported to the Complex by bounty hunters as they are paid handsomely for them.

There is a lot of talk about how it is a great blessing for a woman to even be pregnant in these times. And I was concerned that while treating pregnancy as a gift is to be expected from a time such as this, some might find this idea offensive, for obvious reasons, however, in my own humble opinion, there are a lot of badass women in the entirety of the movie and this isn't played up too much, even the "motherly" Figure over at Shambhala which the Rebels hidden homebase, is shown to be well adept at fighting and pretty much leads the entire operation.

Besides, this fixation on her Fetus is even called out by the "maa" (i.e. Deepika Padukone, or Sum 80, also named Sumaty by a side character who sacrifices herself for the greater mission) when she asks Ashwathama that how can something that isn't even born be worth so much death, even though back at the complex she wanted to keep the child.


And lets talk about the way the whole Project K is structured over at the complex, the "fertile" women aren't even given names, and are sorted into two categories, those who the Formula could conceive with and they wear all white and are given better food, and a slightly larger place to live, whereas the others wear black and are made to live in basically sleeping tubes.

Their Identification numbers are written in the form of a scannable triangular code on their wrists which they scan every morning to sort of "check in" and the ones in black serve the ones in white and are routinely tested on to see if they become "positive".

The ones in white are basically Pregnant but they can never carry to term as way before that they either miscarry or die or their Fetus is extracted to form a Serum, and if they survive this process they are inoculated again, else their body is burnt.

And Deepika's character Sum 80 does get pregnant through this but she comes up as a false Negative, and one of her colleagues finds out her pregnancy and initially it seems she sold her out, but it turns out she is an undercover rebel from Shambhala who wanted to get her out and the only way she could was getting her tossed towards the incineration chamber before the Serum is extracted and then save her from there.

There is also a soldier who tries to sexually harass her, just showing the power dynamic between the two.

But what is this Serum? This Serum is used by the Supreme Leader/Ruler, Supreme Yasuke. Who lives isolated in a chamber constantly meditating and levitating over what seems to be a form of healing fluid with balls circling around him that can shapeshift to do the Supremes bidding as the Supreme himself is very sickly and bone thin, to be expected as he has been alive for over two hundred years.

And it is implied that these Serums are what are keeping him alive.

Supreme Yasuke

And I have talked about all of this and haven't even touched on the Mythological elements of the story, and while I call this mythology I am not implying that this is fake or anything, to me a Mythology is simply a group of supernatural stories that are widely believed by a particular community.

Whether or not they are true is another story.

However, this story of course has an appearance by Ashwathama, a combatant in the Mahabharat great war who was the son to Guru Dronacharya, in the event of the defeat of the Koravas he had used the Brahmastra on the un born Pandava, and as a punishment for that Krishna had cursed him with eternal life and taken away the Gem in his head, basically telling him that when it returns to him, he will have to protect the Mother of the Avatar Kalki as a way to make up for his sin.

Till that time he will be lonely and separated from society, and after we see the flashback scene of a young Ashwathama being cursed, we see an animated montage of all the events through the history that Ashwathama sat through.

And if the idea of an undying loner with a wound on their head marking their curse sounds familiar, then that is because that is the tale of Cain, now I will not comment on that similarity except say that the Mahabharata was written before the story of Cain and Abel. that doesn't imply one is true other is not, or anything, it can go either way, or none can be true, doesnt imply one copied the other or anything, one is simply written before the other, and that is a fact.

However, that said, Ashwathama is played brilliantly by Amitabh Bachhan, who may I remind you is actually eighty one years old! and just like he slays this role, Ashwathama comes on the scene and mercilessly without a sweat massacres the soldiers from the complex to protect Sum-80 as she is currently carrying Kalki.

Ashwathama stops Bujji the car.

And Bhairava is important to the story as he is the only one who could even lay a finger on Ashwathama and not be completely massacred.

And this leads to the second half of the movie where once Shambhala is set up, and the motivation for Bhairava is set up as he is banished permanently from the complex but gets a deal of coming there permanently if he gets the baby, we just have a straight up futuristic war on the level of Dune or Star Trek.

And so Bhairava repairs his car Bujji and makes her into a mech suit and tricks one of his earlier bounties to take him to Shambhala under the pretense of joining the rebellion.

And then we have an amazing shot of Ashwathama vs Ashwathama as Bhairava uses his holotech to fake Ashwathama's appearance, to trick Sum-80.

Now I was a little confused as to whether the fake one had already joined Sum-80 or whether he was the one coming in, because there is a really touching scene between those two where they talk about a vision Sum-80 had of everyone dead around her and Kyra a rebel who had sacrificed herself to make sure Sum-80 got away, and I would really hate it if that was the fake Ashwathama.

Bhairava picks up Karn's weapon.

And then we go to a straight up fight between Ashwathama and Bhairava in a mech suit and in the meantime the armies of the complex bring a weapon that can just shatter shields, I believe the followed Bhairava here?

And then we learn why Bhairava is the only one who can stand up to Ashwathama, and that is because he is the reincarnation of Karn, to whom the stick that Ashwathama carries used to belong, and it was a golden bow who could stand up to Arjun and was a friend to Ashwathama in his past life.

and as the weapon touches his hand, he for a moment becomes Karn and just straight up cuts through the beam that can destroy shields and destroys the vessel, but at the last moment, Bujji calls to him and awakens him and he runs away with Sum-80

On the other side, the one drop of the serum that was made from Sum-80 is given to Yasuke and he regains his youthful vigour as the balls make his six arms and he picks up Gandiv the bow that belonged to Arjun.

Now all that said, let's talk about Bujji.

Bujji and Bhairava

Bujji is an artificial intelligence that Bhairava found and gave a body to, making her his car, obviously giving me even more of those Alita Battle Angel vibes.

And she is an absolutely amazing special effect, and that is the main reason this movie is amazing, in India, we rarely get good sci fi movies, and if they try they are terrible, either because of bad CGI and VFX or when they are good like in Ra.One or Brahmastra, the story is not that great, and this is one of the first times that we get an absolutely amazing Story with amazing effects like Bujji that one absolutely cannot tell from the real stuff.

And while much of the story is inspired from movies such as Dune and what not, the inspiration is on the same level as most of Hollywood, and there are many other amazing special effects like the Complex ships, the hand elevator that carries them to the top, the sets are amazing, there is a speeder thing that Kyra rides and that is also amazing, and this whole movie is amazing.

There are some strange things, like early on a Project K scientist tries to poison Yasuke and insists to go and meet him on that attempt, so he can kill him, which why? Give the Serum and then f*ck off! But no he has to go there, so Yasuke can kill him and we can see how evil he is, and he is amazing by the way, the actor, Kamal Hassan, plays him absolutely amazing.

Supreme Yasuke

Those are my thoughts go enjoy.

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