“Madras Talkies Presents…” and my heart started beating faster as I waited for this day for almost two months now. But was it worth the wait?
Raavan is Mani Ratnam’s highly awaited film starring Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan & Vikram doing the lead roles.
The story is about Beera (Abhishek Bachchan), a Maoist leader who has plenty of respect in the forest but is a bad guy for rest of the world. On the other side, Dev (Vikram) is a sincere cop who has only one mission and that’s to end crime. Cold war between the two continues until Beera kidnaps Raagini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) who happens to be the wife of Dev. With this, Dev finally takes up the charge to put an end to this leader – Beera.
Story of Ramayana wasn’t an easy subject and had its own share of intricacies and handling a simple script with such an epic needs extensive research as well as skill. But somewhere down the lane, Mani Ratnam fails to put the two plots glued together and ends up with a baseless flick, the only respite being the music and the cinematography.
First of all, I would like to make it clear that I am just a regular viewer and not an art lover who could sit at Habitat centre and understand complex art forms. So, this review is by a guy who doesn’t know anything about art and likes the movie which actually makes sense.
Raavan might definitely appeal to art lovers but for people like me, it’s hard to bare this movie even though the runtime happens to be a few minutes up 2 hours. The narration was slow and the first half of the film goes off as if it was a patched tape of unsynchronized clippings.
The second half definitely brings relief as there is enough substance to stop your yawns and the climax being an emotional one makes sure you feel the same for Beera as Raagini feels.
Here is how my interest levels were at different parts of the film
Getting in to the background work by the technical team, I will have to start with Santosh Sivan’s cinematography which was out of the world and you could see life oozing out those mountains and trees.
The swiftly flowing water and high mountains were a delight to watch and Santosh Sivan captured them beautifully.
Music by A. R. Rahman needs no mention as none in the industry can match up to the standards of quality he sets in, Raavan being no exception here. Out of all the songs, I liked Thok De Khilli’s choreography which was wild and depicted the fun people have in the forest.
The reason why Raavan fails miserably is because there is no distinction between good and evil. Beera who happens to be a villain according to the trailers and also in Ramayana shows shades of being a good man while Vikram shows the opposite at places. Mani Ratnam does try to get his point that there is a Ram as well as a Raavan in each of us but it didn’t make sense to me what to expect when everything was good as well bad.
Abhishek Bachchan as Beera tries hard to make an impact but the narration as well as his artificial acting skills makes him look more of a sociopath than a powerful man. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Raagini was average with more screams than actual dialogues in the movie but overall her eyes could convey more than the dialogues (one quality of her which I truly admire).
Vikram as Dev marking his debut in the bollywood soil makes a solid impression with nice shades of good and bad. He delivers the macho feel that the character demanded with authority and control.
Govinda as Sanjeevani Kumar was a total waste of space. There was no need to have his character but he was there just to maintain a consistency between Ramayana and the movie. For all those wondering, he relates to Hanumanji in Ramayana. The worst part about his character was that director actually showed him jumping off tree to tree just as Hanumanji used to do. Ravi Kishen as Beera’s friend was good, at least better than Govinda’s role.
Raavan suffers hard to meet the hype surrounding it and fails to pull a chord. Art lovers might love it but average movie-goers might not like it at all. Only go if you are die-hard fan of Mani Ratnam or eager to see breathtaking locations on big screen else ask the usher at a theatre near you to actually let you sneak in for the last fifteen minutes – the only good part in the movie.