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Shaakuntalam Review


The 2023 Telugu-language historical romance drama film Shaakuntalam was written and produced by Gunasekhar. It is distributed by Sri Venkateswara Creations and produced by Neelima Guna through Gunaa Teamworks. The movie, which is based on the well-known Kalidasa drama Abhignyana Shakuntalam, stars Samantha in the lead role of Shakuntala, Dev Mohan in the supporting role of Dushyanta, the king of the Puru dynasty, and Mohan Babu, Jisshu Sengupta, Madhoo, Gautami, Aditi Balan, and Ananya Nagalla in the minor roles. Shakuntala and King Dushyant get married in the movie, but due to a sage's curse, Dushyant completely forgets about Shakuntala.

Shaakuntalam Review

Gunasekhar unveiled the initiative in October 2020.The movie was made at Hyderabad's Annapurna Studios from February 2021 to August 2021.

The movie's production cost 65 crore. Ramoji Film City, Ananthagiri Hills, and Gandipet Lake are just a few of the locations used for filming in and around Hyderabad.On April 14, 2023, the movie was released in theatres. Critics blasted the movie, and it was a colossal commercial flop.


Menaka abandons the child close to Rishi Kanva's hermitage at the film's beginning before ascending to heaven. In the woodland during the summer, King Dushyanta pursued an antelope when he came across an ascetic. The monk advised him not to kill the beast because it belonged to Kanva's ashrama. After all, doing so would violate the land's sacredness.

Dushyanta was persuaded to go to the ashrama in exchange for his promise not to kill the antelope. He was informed that Shakuntala, Kanva's adoptive daughter, would welcome him since the sage was away. When he first entered the ashrama, he saw three beautiful females watering the plants and fell in love with Shakuntala, one of the girls. After speaking with the bevy, he discovered that Shakuntala's birth parents were Kshatriyas Vishvamitra and Menaka, making Shakuntala an ideal bride for him. However, Dushyanta opted not to expose his identity. After learning that an elephant was out of control, the group dispersed, and Shakuntala became enamored with the guest.

The king ordered his general to end the mayhem and tell his men not to approach the ashrama. He confided in his friend and sidekick Vidushaka his feelings, pleading with him to come up with an excuse to remain at the ashrama without raising any red flags. Fortunately, a few ascetics immediately approached him and asked him to protect their yajna, which he did without hesitation. To avoid his friend becoming a spy, he despatched Vidushaka to his capital while lying and claiming that his love for Shakuntala was only a jest. He kept vigil over the ascetics' yajna for a while. When Shankuntala acknowledged her emotions for Dushyanta, the two were legally wed using Gandharva ceremonies.

Before departing for the capital, the monarch assured his wife that he would send a capable guard to accompany her to his palace.

Shakuntala failed to extend proper hospitality to the irritable sage, Durvasa, while she was alone because she was preoccupied with the thoughts of her husband. She was cursed by Durvasa, who claimed that the man she had been obsessing about would never remember her. Anasuya, one of Shakuntala's associates, explained why her friend was careless and begged the sage's pardon. In exchange for a gesture of recognition, Duravasa consented to grant a concession of the curse, promising that the guy would remember her.

Because Shakuntala had a symbol of recognition, her friends decided not to tell her about the curse because they assumed her husband would remember her anyway. Kanva went back to his ashrama and gave his approval for the union. After the curse took effect, Dushyanta could not recall Shakuntala at all. Shakuntala began to exhibit pregnancy symptoms. Therefore Kanva decided to send her to her legal spouse while outlining the responsibilities of a wife and a daughter-in-law. They had to take a canoe crossing across a river on the way, and Shakuntala stroked her fingers through the water, drawn in by the river's rich blue color. Without her realizing it, her ring?Dushyanta's ring?slipped off her finger. When they arrived at the king's palace, Dushyanta didn't recognize Shakuntala; instead, he feigned shock when the sages with them persuaded him to accept her as his queen.

Shakuntala looked for the ring the king had given her when they parted ways but discovered it had disappeared during the journey. Shakuntala, who is distraught, is carried away by an apsara as they leave the room. After some time, a fisherman found the ring Shakuntala had fallen in a pool of water inside a fish, which was produced before Dushyanta after charges of stealing. When the king saw the ring, Durvasa's curse was broken, and his memory of his wife was revived. He set out immediately to find her, but when he got to her father's ashram, he found she wasn't there anymore. While searching further into the jungle for his wife, he unexpectedly came upon a small kid counting the teeth of a lion whose mouth had been forced open by the youngster. The kid was received by the king, who was astounded by the boy's bravery and fortitude. When the youngster responded that he was Bharata, the son of King Dushyanta, he caught him off guard. The family was reunited when the boy escorted him to Shakuntala.


  • Samantha Ruth Prabhu plays Shakuntala.
  • Dev Mohan portrays Dushyanta.
  • Sachin Khedekar portrays Kanva Maharshi.
  • Mohan Babu plays Durvasa Maharshi.
  • As Priyamvada, Aditi Balan.
  • Anasuya, played by Ananya Nagalla.
  • Prakash Raj performs as Sarangi.
  • Gautami acting as Gautami.
  • Menaka as Madhoo.
  • Kabir Bedi as Kashyapa Maharshi.
  • Jisshu Sengupta's portrayal of Indra Deva.
  • King Asura is played by Kabir Duhan Singh.
  • Varshini Sounderajan as Sanumathi.
  • Allu Arha as Prince Bharata.
  • Harish Uthaman, Subbaraju Aadarsh, Balakrishna, and. Yash Puri

Reviews form different platforms

  • The movie received 3.5 out of 5 stars from The Times of India, which called it "a grand cinematic experience with underwhelming storytelling." The critic praised the movie's aesthetics, VFX, and art direction but believed the plot needed more work.
  • According to The Hindu, the movie received 2.5 out of 5 stars and was "a misfire with subpar writing and visual effects." The reviewer criticized the movie for its lack of emotional depth, slow pacing, and poor special effects.
  • Film Companion scored the movie three out of five stars, describing it as "an emotionally flat but visually stunning film." Despite feeling that the characters were underdeveloped and the plot was predictable, the critic commended the film's production values.

Here are some more comments about the movie:

  • Samantha Ruth Prabhu portrays Shakuntala admirably. The chemistry between her and Dev Mohan is evident, and she gives the character a sense of purity and tenderness. The cinematography, sets, and outfits are all of the highest caliber.
  • he movie's tempo is occasionally slow, and the plot is rather predictable. Shaakuntalam is an all-around visually breathtaking movie with solid performances. The pacing is occasionally slow, and the tale has several flaws. Shaakuntalam might appeal to you if you like mythological films. However, you could be disappointed if you expect a picture with lots of action and a quick pace.

Plus Points

  • Samantha performed admirably as Shakuntala. The actress gives Shaakuntalam her all despite unanticipatedly having less screen time in the second half. Samantha's presence was felt in the moving scenes
  • Dev Mohan had a gorgeous appearance and performed brilliantly as the king; it was undoubtedly a bold choice for a leading woman to portray the lead in a legendary drama in today's times, and she deserves praise for it. His charisma and attractiveness enable him to advance further in his career. Dev Mohan also gave a strong performance. Mohan Babu does a great job as Sage Durvasa and the interval scene gains from the veteran's powerful appearance.
  • Allu Arha's cameo is unquestionably one of this movie's greatest assets. Arha has a remarkable on-screen presence that will surprise viewers. The young girl is evident even if she is only present briefly. Fans of Allu Arjun will be in for a treat when they see Arha on the big screen because of how skillfully she executed the difficult speech. Her presence gives this otherwise boring movie some intrigue.

Minus points

  • Since the story's narrative is so constrained, creating a full-length movie on it wouldn't be wise. Even people unfamiliar with the plot might be able to guess how it will end. One can't relate to the characters since there is so little conflict. The actors' potential to succeed beyond a certain point is constrained by the story, which likewise restricts their success.
  • Some talented actors entirely wasted in useless appearances are Subba Raju, Jisshu Sengupta, Aditi Balan, Gautami, and Harish Uthaman. For a movie that costs 80 crores, the visual effects ought to be at least acceptable. However, this element is woefully inadequate; remarkably, any images were even included in the final cut. The image failed much more in the 3D version, which led one to fault the subpar graphics.
  • The visual style is reminiscent of earlier Telugu mythological movies, and the entire production looks like it was shot indoors in a studio. Regarding the battle scenes, the less we say, the better. The narration is monotonous throughout, and the tempo is quite slow.

Technical Aspects

  • Mani Sharma gave his all regarding the music and background soundtrack. While some tracks appeared good on the screen, their placement was inadequate. The cinematography of Shekar V. Joseph is only somewhat above average. The editing could have been considerably better if a few sequences had been cut. The production values for a movie with this budget are poor.
  • Gunasekhar's directing of the movie was below average. Although it is wonderful that he wanted to tell a mythological story to modern youth, Shaakuntalam's execution is the main transgressor.
  • Neither the narration nor the character portrayals are particularly noteworthy. The drama shouldn't have been badly missing for a mythological epic. Most importantly, the poor VFX separates the viewer from the action. Millennials, who make up most of the film's target audience, would not be familiar with the antiquated Telugu used in a few places.


The mythological play Shaakuntalam fails as a whole. There is a terrible absence of drama and the emotions required for a cinematic experience. Poor VFX and action scenes further diminish the impact. This pricey film is a major letdown, save for a few scenes and Samantha's earnest performance.

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