Raavan - Review
It's so confusing when seriousness is dealt with song and dance. Wish the film was advertised as modern Ram Leela performed in a tribal theater. That expectation would have prepped me to deal with the over-dramatization a lot better.
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What is my job as a person who's writing her opinion of a film? To let you know how I liked it and why. Sure. But Raavan made me want to warn you. Warn you that though it is not an exhilarating experience, one might have expected it to be, there is a trick you could use to enjoy the film. Don't think of it as drama, or an engaging take on one serious issue or the other. Think of it as a decently-made musical. An opera.
Almost everything about the film is poetic. Barring a few places, the cinematography and the background music are fabulous. There are a couple of scenes where the camera goes round and round the character with the sole purpose of making the audience's head spin. Other than that though, you can sense the fog, the dew, the breeze around the characters. The mist adds to the lyrical photography.
Similarly, save a few spots, the background music is extremely different and covers a HUGE range of music. My understanding of music is pretty basic, but I loved the use of folk/tribal music. Also, using different types of music for different characters and situations was not only noticeable but rather lovely. How I wish we could get complete OSTs of our films.
But like love can't finance your materialistic needs, a technically beautiful film can contribute only so much to making the film "good". The culprits here are the pace and narrative style of the film. The key word in that previous statement is 'style'. In his attempt to make the tough terrain visually suave, Mani Ratnam forgot the K-I-S-S principle. The montage that the film starts out with is truly breathtaking. Without saying a word, a few situations and characters are established. But, it doesn't remain that smart throughout. In fact, there is a huge slack-off period before the climax-with-great-potential. The dilemma is wonderfully created by a statement that the film is trying to make, "In every Ram there's a Raavan and vice versa." All too sudden and too late.
Nothing is made out of it. Also, there wasn't time left to delve into the details. ow which one was the cause and which one the effect, I do not know. All I know is that I was saddened to see super-gray characters killed because of hollow writing. Given that and the decision to make the film as close to a theatrical performance (hopefully intentional), the cast section should have been titled over-actors. Govinda brings that occasional smile. I never thought the prettiest human, nature must have created, Aishwarya Rai, was any good as an actor. But Abhishek Bachchan films always attracted me towards them. This film has made me reconsider him as an actor. It was uber-annoying to see him stylishly walk like he walked in Bluffmaster.
And despite all of the above, there are times when you are made to think. Especially when compared to the ages-old epic. It occurred to me that the agni pariksha was not only an insult to Sita's honor but also offensive to Raavan's virtuousness. And did Laxman just cut Surpankha's nose, or that was the metaphor we have been conditioned to ignore? Oh, the blasphemy!
While it's pretty neat that the film does give these things to ponder about it also gives as bonus the agony of having to wait even longer for a film I can highly recommend. sigh
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: Loads and loads, a couple of scenes with brutal beating too.
- Language: Clean
- Nudity & Sexual content: A few making out scenes and reference to rape
- Concept: Raamayan in Ayodhya of today
- General Look and Feel: Brown and muddy. Lilting music through the film.
Raavan - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Website Facebook Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Madras Talkies, Reliance Big Entertainment Ltd
- Producer: Mani Ratnam, Sharada Trilok
- Director: Mani Ratnam
- Lead Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Govinda, Vikram
- Supporting Cast: Tejaswini Kolhapure, Ravi Kishan, Nikhil Dwivedi, Priyamani
- Screenplay: Mani Ratnam
- Dialogues: Vijay Krishna Acharya, Vijay Krishna Acharya
- Cinematography: Santosh Sivan, V Manikandan, Manikandan, Santosh Sivan
- Editor: Sreekar Prasad
- Background Score: A R Rahman
- Action Choreography: Sham Kaushal, Peter Hein, Peter Hein, Shyam Kaushal
- Choreography: Ganesh Acharya, Brinda, Shobana, Astad Deboo, Ganesh Acharya, Brinda, Shobana, Astad Deboo
- Music Director: A R Rahman
- Lyrics: Gulzar
- Costume Designer: Sabyasachi Mukherjee
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 140 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Crime