A film made within the limited cheap trickery of our bhakti mainstream.
The film statrs with an animated sequence (with Bapu’s sketches) of how Dattatreya came into being and just when you are wondering "may be…" cuts to the appalling Raghavendra B.A’s live action and in an instant we are reminded about the art of glorified existence with nothing remotely aesthetic backing it.
A traveller/drifter/orphan/stranger in clean dry washed rags settles down under a neem tree one day. The bells of the local temple start chiming, rain doesn’t wet the tree area and a few other magic magics happen and the town people start hanging out around the tree. Except for Bhatia (Shiyaji Shinde) who drives the kid away from town.
The kid starts hanging out with sadhus on mountain tops and being the liberal director our man is, he’s put in a few muslims and christians on the moutains too. Muslims in their namaz outfits and a bunch of guys who look like your local parish brothers, on moutain tops. And with all the gyaan the little Sai acquires on these mountains he returns to the neem tree once he’s old enough to be Nagarjuna.
Baba keeps growing in popularity and Bhatia keeps trying to drive him away from town. The subplots include a bunch of characters who consider the Baba to be a fake and are too easily stupified when they meet Baba and hear the kind words.
Personally, I don’t know much about Sai Baba. All I know is whatever any South Indian would know, the bare minimum. And even I can tell that the events of the film are historically incorrect and down right insulting to the audience.
The title sequence has a statue of Baba getting a slow motion abhishekam with milk, honey etc. And you can just tell, that the makers have no real interest in what Baba had to say, his way of life or what his preachings were about. To them this is just pop religion and Sai will be worshipped in the same extravagantly wasteful manner that is applied to other Gods. To them, its just another pilgrimage.
All the women of the film, and there are plenty of them around Baba. All of them had lipstick on. That kind of sums up the seriousness of the performances.
Nagarjuna uses the same act that’s worked for him at bhakti box office, but, being Sai Baba he was supposed to portray, it was funny as hell.
It is over dramatised, badly picturised and historically fallacious. An abusive bio-pic.