Raavan is a Brave Attempt – Film Review

‘Raavan’ is a Mani Ratnam magnum opus starring Abhishek Bachchan,  Aishwarya Rai, Vikram, Govinda, Priyamani, Ravi Kissen. It is an unique interpretation of the oldest epic in Indian History, Ramayana. Incidentally the movie is shot simultaneously in Hindi and Tamil with different set of actors. It is also dubbed in Telugu.

We had ‘Rajneeti’ inspired from Mahabharata, 2 weeks back and now is the turn of another epic Ramayana. Raavan is adapted from an episode of Ramayana where Sita is abducted by Ravan and Ram searches for her with the help of Hanuman. Abhishek Bachchan plays Beera Munda, the tribal outlaw who kidnaps Ragini Sharma played by Aishwarya Rai, the wife of righteous police Inspector Dev Sharma posted in Lal Maati in central India,  played by Tamil star Vikram. Govinda plays role of  forest guard Sanjeevani who helps Dev in his hunt for Beera.

I had read all the negative reviews the whole day on various blogs, websites, tv channels etc and was expecting nothing much, which I think was the best thing to happen. Most critics had blasted the film left, right and centre. The same critics who loved master pieces like BLUE, KARZZ and HOUSEFULL had called it the Waterloo of Mani Ratnam or Mani Ratnam ki Aag.  I was expecting to get bored and sleepy but I did not. I never felt bored at all and in fact liked most of the movie. Its not a perfect movie but then nowadays which movie is ?

Firstly, the good parts. Visually the film is superlative. Each frame is brilliantly shot. The  music adds to every frame along with decent songs. Technically when you have Santosh Sivan, Mani Ratnam and  A R Rehman there could be no compromises. The film has possible the best production design and art direction for a film this year.  Definitely the best cinematography and brilliant background score.The picture perfect never before seen locations of Kerala are breathtakingly beautiful and you can feel the atmosphere in every frame of the film. You want to visit the locations and the film makes you feel that in parts. The Camera detailing and lighting would surely make this film a contender for technical awards next year.

The story is simple enough, however in the first half there are far too many disjointed scenes and dialogues, one continuous chase and the story doesn’t move much ahead. Characters are established a bit randomly using montages. The kidnapping is shot well, however Govinda’s entry is bit ridiculous. The 2nd half is much better, the flashback is well made and story does make more  sense, however the end is debatable but very well shot according to me.  Ravan not only doesn’t kill Sita but also saves Ram and Ram in turn kills him mercilessly, while using Sita as a pawn justifies the central theme of the film  that “there is Ram in every Raavan and Raavan in every Ram”.

Lots of action and killing and blood everywhere. The screenplay is good in parts but not the best. Certain sequences look quite unwanted in fact.  Frankly speaking the film is bit slow at times and bit predictable as we constantly have the Ramayana reference in our mind. The songs in 2nd half were a bit of a hindrance. Reputation of Mani Ratnam is such that we all were expecting a much much better film from the master director.

However the film is not bad as portrayed by most of the media, news channels and honorary critics. The film is definitely worth a watch. I do not know what were the critics expecting from this movie but if anyone had to make a different adaptation of Ramayana, this was the way to do it. Else Barjatyas adapted Ramayana for Hum Sath Sath Hain and so did Ramanand Sagar  for TV and Manoj Kumar for his Kalyug aur Ramayan. I think Mani Ratnam has taken a brave step especially by showing the ending shot when Sita screams for the dying Raavan.

Acting wise Abhishek as Beera plays his heart out and looks real intense, although does seem to go overboard at times, Beera looks a bit maniac at times rather than scary, but then that’s the demand of the role. I cant see any other top star portraying this role as effectively as he has done. Aishwarya looks good and she acts decent too, if only she could scream a bit less. Her eyes do convey a lot. Vikram is okeyish enough and has a straight forward role initially, which turns greyish by the end. He is probably the first South Indian star with almost no south Indian accent in his Hindi, which is a welcome thing. He does tend to go loud at times though.  Govinda and Ravi Kissen do well in small roles. Nikhil Dwivedi and Ajay Gehi are ok with smallish roles. Why did Tejaswini Kolhapure did the role she did, is a mystery though. Priyamani in a brief role is fine.

Overall not a perfect movie but not very bad either and surely merits a one-time watch.

My Ratings: 6.5/10 –  Watch it once , better interpretation of Ramayana then the Ramanand Sagar one.

Raavan aur Badmaash Company ki Rajneeti ne Kites ko Housefull kar diya

IPL is over, well almost. The Films are back. Since last 6 weeks or so thanks to the IPL, barring few low budget movies, art-house cinema stuff, made-for-multiplex movies and Prince ( don’t know  which category that film can be in….maybe absurd) no major films released.

From Next Friday this drought would be hopefully over starting with Housefull starring Akshay Kumar and gang ,directed by Sajid Khan, the film will open to full houses thanks to the songs, the stars, big budget setup, funny promos and a recent drought of quality film entertainment. Will it live up to the hype is another story.

Next up is Yash Raj venture Badmaash Company starring Shahid Kapur, Anushka Sharma and directed by Parmeet Sethi this film is targeted towards youth with its young starcast, foregin locations, casinos and theft theme. The film has a young and fresh look and an average music but would certainly appeal all fans of such movies.

Kites will be the biggest release of the month starring Hrithik Roshan,  Barbara Mori and the rest. Hrithik Roshan has a great box-office pull and his last major release Jodhaa Akbar was couple of years ago ( if you do not count Luck by Chance – where he was more a supporting role) . This film with supposedly hot scenes of the leading pair, fantastic action and romance appeals to young and old. The film has an international song less version as well and would certainly open the biggest this year, at least so far.

Rajneeti is the first major release which comes 2 weeks after Kites and promises to be an interesting political thriller loosley based on the mega-epic Mahabharata and featuring hottest actors like Ajay Devgan, Nana Patekar, Manoj Bajpayee, Naseeruddin Shah, Arjun Rampal , Katrina Kaif and this generation’s hottest young actor Ranbeer Kapoor in possibly a role with grey shades. This film based on Indian politics in the Hindi belt and directed by Prakash Jha is sure to attract both masses and classes to the cinema. People are loving the promos and cannot wait for it to release.

Mani Ratnam’s bilingual Raavan starring Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Vikram, Govinda and ensemble cast is the next one, releasing on 18th June. This film based on another mega-epic Ramayana is shot simultaneously in both Hindi and Tamil, has music by A R Rehman and is a modern day adaptation of the epic from the point of view of Raavan. The film shot in jungle of Kerala and Madhya Pradesh would surely be the one to watch out for simple because of Mani Ratnam’s magical touch.

Thus the next 2 months promises to deliver great new exciting films to the lovers of Hindi Cinema and hopefully the box office will not remain barren for long time.

May the best film win.

Teaser Trailer RAAVAN

Here’s Teaser Trailer of the Most Anticipated Movie of the Year..Mani Ratnam’s Raavan – Starring Abhishek Bachchan,  Aishwarya Rai Bachchan amongst a mega star cast. The movie shot simultaneously in both Hindi and Tamil is set to release on June 18th 2010. The Music by A R Rehman and Gulzar releases on 24th April 2010.

The stunt is terrific. Abhishek looks Killer and background Music is haunting.

Cant’ wait for the Movie to release.