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Shaakuntalam Movie Review - Weakly dramatized

April 14, 2023
DRP- Gunaa Teamworks
Samantha Akkineni, Dev Mohan
Dil Raju
Sekhar V Joseph
Prawin Pudi
Ashok Kumar
Sai Madhav Burra
Neeta Lulla
Ram Babu
Chaitanya Prasad & Sree Mani,
Raju Sundaram
Biswadeep Chatterjee
Alagar Saamy
B A Raju
Dhani Aelay
Kommineni Venkateswara Rao & Hamambar Jasti
Anil Kumar, Krishna Chaitanya, Johnny Shaik Yakub, Akil Krishna & Surya Kiran
Mani Sharma
Neelima Guna

'Shaakuntalam', produced by Neelima Guna and presented by Dil Raju, was released in theatres today.


Shakuntala (Samantha) grows up as an orphaned child of a celestial beauty in Kanva Maharshi's hermitage in a jungle. She falls in love with King Dushyanta (Dev Mohan) and opts for a Gandharva marriage with him. Due to Durvasa Muni's (Mohan Babu) curse, Dushyanta forgets all about Shakuntala and returns to the capital city. Will Shakuntala ever be able to achieve a reunion with her lover, who has all but forgotten about her existence?


Samantha Ruth Prabhu is a proven talent but, to be frank, she has delivered a dull acting performance here. Her dubbing in Telugu is hardly striking, making the dialogue delivery lackluster. In any case, she gets too few lines to speak. She is reduced to a supporting artist for the most part, with Dev Mohan leading the film as a male protagonist. Dev looks appealing, although the poor VFX fails to elevate his spirited performance.

Mohan Babu's intro scene is the only high moment in the entire first half. Kanva Maharshi, played by Sachin Khedekar, gets a rather plain role. Prakash Raj as Sarangi gets to shine in an enjoyable song that otherwise feels cliched. Gautami as Gautami gets an ill-written role. Madhoo as Menaka doesn't exude an angelic aura. Kabir Bedi (as Kashyapa Maharshi) and Jisshu Sengupta (as Indra Deva) don't deserve a mention.

Kabir Duhan Singh (as King Asura) is simply lost in a script that doesn't know its true identity. Harish Uthaman and Subbaraju barely register their presence; their get-ups are extremely mediocre. Above all, what were Aadarsh Balakrishna and Siva Balaji were doing in a mythological? Aditi Balan as Priyamvada and Ananya Nagalla as Anasuya are decent enough.

Allu Arha as Prince Bharata makes a dashing debut. One would have wanted more of her in the third act.

Technical aspects

Sekhar V. Joseph of 'Chandramukhi' fame delivers no impactful cinematography. The film was not planned as a 3D outing in the pre-viz phase. Mani Sharma's songs are enjoyable despite their been-there-done-that feel. 'Rushivanamlona' and 'Mallika Mallika' are good. Yelelo Yelelo (sung by Anurag Kulkarni) and 'Madhura Gathamaa' (sung by Armaan Malik and Shreya Ghoshal) are promising. His BGM, however, is a lost cause. His work is well past its sell-by date in the age of Baahubalis and RRRs.


Director Gunasekhar adapts the dramatized 'Abhijnanasakuntalam' written by Kalidasa in telling this mythological that appears more like a costume drama. We don't get a sense that Shakuntala and Dushyanta are caught in the crosshairs of a divine plan or something.

Don't even begin to talk about the Devas versus Asuras element. The film doesn't attempt to rise above serial-ish production values in staging the tectonic war between Evil and Good. When Dushyanta locks horns with the villains, we simply gasp!

Sai Madhav Burra's dialogues are not funny and that's the only merit we can think of. If you walk into the theatre after knowing the tale of Shakuntala and Dushyanta, there is literally nothing that is going to catch you by surprise.

Closing Remarks

'Shaakuntalam' lacks the creative energy that a mythological drama demands. You can well forget that it is Samantha's movie. It's Dev Mohan's movie more. The VFX, the 'neerasam' ending, the listless script, and feeble production values really test your patience.

Critic's Rating