Shaakuntalam (2023)

The movie starts as Menaka leaves the baby near Rishi Kanva’s hermitage before returning to heaven. During the summer, King Dushyanta pursued an antelope in the forest, when he was confronted by an ascetic. The ascetic told him that that the creature belonged to the ashrama of Kanva, and he was not to violate the sanctity of the land by slaying it. Dushyanta agreed to not kill the antelope, and was encouraged to visit the ashrama. He was told that he would be welcomed by Shakuntala, Kanva’s adopted daughter, due to the sage’s absence. Upon entering the ashrama, he came across three exquisite girls watering the plants, and became infatuated with Shakuntala, who was one among the trio. After a conversation with the bevy, he learnt that the true parents of Shakuntala were Vishvamitra and Menaka, which made Shakuntala a suitable bride for him due to her Kshatriya parentage. Dushyanta, however, chose not to reveal his identity. The company broke up due to hearing that an elephant was running amok, and Shakuntala grew enamoured of the visitor. The king directed his general to stop the chaos and instruct his men to stay away from the ashrama. He confessed his feelings to his companion and jester Vidushaka, urging him to think of a pretext to stay in the ashrama without arousing suspicion. Fortunately, a few ascetics approached him soon to request him to safeguard their yajna, which he readily accepted. He sent Vidushaka to his capital, and fearing that his friend would be a tattletale, he lied, stating that his feelings for Shakuntala were but a joke. For a time, he watched over the ascetics’ yajna. Shankuntala soon confessed her feelings for Dushyanta, and the two were married according to gandharva rites. The king left for the capital, and promised his wife that he would send a suitable guard to escort her to his palace.

Starring: Samantha, Dev Mohan, Jisshu Sengupta, Madhoo, Gautami, Aditi Balan, Ananya Nagalla

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