About the story: During excavations in Yala/Sri Lanka in 1990, worker Bhuria (Suniel Shetty) annexes an amulet. He doesn’t know that this amulet is a rudraksh – a tear of the god Rudra/Shiva – and that touching these tears is highly dangerous as they contain forces which destroy everyone who is not worthy of them. More than that, Ravana, the Prince of Demons, once put all his demonic powers into this rudraksh before he lost his fight with Rama. Bhuria has no chance against this amount of evil powers who turn him and his girlfriend Lali (Isha Koppikar) into demons who henceforth work to establish a new reign of demons in the world. But after 14 years Bhuria realizes that his powers are not enough for this task. So he tries to ensure the help of the healer Varun (Sanjay Dutt) who inherited transcendental powers from his father Pandit Ved Bhushan (Kabir Bedi). But Varun, whose powers are being studied and explored by scientist Dr Gayatri (Bipasha Basu), is determined to stop Bhuria...
When I saw the Videosound DVD cover featuring two attractive men (Sanjay and Suniel) armed with swords, my first thought was that this might be a sort of an Indian Highlander. But I got a wrong impression. Rudraksh is a rather crude fantasy construct where Indian myth world and contemporary global computer world shake hands without finding some common ground on which to base for a workable story. The plot is rather askew, many mysteries are not really solved, and if you are not familiar with the Ramayana or don’t know what a rudraksh is, you’re partially really left out in the rain. The word rudraksh obviously cannot be translated, but of course it doesn’t help at all when in the subtitles only the word "rudraksh" appears as long as you have no clue about it, and when it later finally is explained you have already missed too many important pieces of information and have to re-start the film to understand it. The special effects were surely made with loads of ambition, the result, however, more amuses than amazes you. And the sexy chicks in hot outfits you are supposed to take serious as respectable scientists from California finish you off for good.
By the way, the outfit is an issue you could write books about. Kabir Bedi is so much overgrown with ice-grey hair and beard that you can only recognize him by his voice. Suniel Shetty, with all due respect, looks like a Neanderthal man with his longhair wig, only after a long while he may expose (with shining blue contact lenses) in all his attractivity. But mostly they have sinned against Sanjay. With his expressive eyes he technically is cut out for a healer with transcendental powers, but what’s the use when these eyes are permanently half-hidden behind a thick hair curtain? And when Bipasha believes that she can save something by cutting a few inches of his mane, she is totally wrong as Sanju with the shoulder-length wig looks even worse than with the long shaggy mane. In addition they made him wear a white lace shirt which baffles all description. Later he gets a Crow make-up, red-glowing contact lenses, green cat eyes, vampire teeth – nothing is left out. When Sanjay after 105 minutes finally gets rid of his wigs and presents himself with his fashionable Plan hair-style, one of Bipasha’s girls intelligently exclaims, "You’re looking different." Sorry, sweetheart, but that’s what he does all the time in this film.
Too bad, for Sanjay and Suniel are a good and (as the last quarter-hour shows) very attractive jodi, and thanks to their excellent physiques they surely would have been able to deliver great fight scenes. But even those were spoilt by too many special effects. A flying sword fight? Ridiculous. And the final showdown is very very close to the border (which side, you decide). Bipasha and her pseudo-academic girls are a bit unnerving, not to mention the scene when Sanjay has to oil Bipasha’s body – supposedly this was to be erotic but it isn’t. No more words. I just hope that Amitabh Bachchan did his narrator part for Rudraksh before he knew the film.
Rudraksh is recommendable to people who’re dying to see Kabir Bedi as Gandalf the Grey with apple laptop or Sanjay Dutt with cat eyes and vampire teeth. Or to people who just love fantasy trash. Other than that, I would be very careful with this film... though, some people say that Rudraksh is so funky that it’s good again. And there is definitely something in this point of view. After having watched Rudraksh for the third time, I start liking it. Just don’t take the film too serious then you can absolutely enjoy it.
Produced and directed by Mani Shankar
132 Min.; DVD: Videosound, English Subtitles (including songs)