wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)
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.Read more
NOT A REVIEW - Just refraining my excitement lest…
Hope never dies. Since January 2010 - week after week, we have waited for the "most" awaited film of the year so far. Friday after Friday we have been more or less taken aback by how things went wrong with an otherwise sure winner. And yet, this third week of June 2010 too, we wait with bated breath and the enjoy the excitement it brings along.
This once, we can claim, we are fully justified. Mani Ratnam - most of us will claim, he hasn't gone wrong too often. And the look and feel of the film as seen in the promos, don't do anything to keep high expectations at bay.
What with Abhishek Bachchan playing the anti-hero with a turmeric face-pack on.
What with Aishwarya Rai playing her "<most challenging role ever".
She is the one who's pushed, pulled, tied, thrown and put through all such trying situations. And I had to do that. The number of takes & different magnifications, the director would like to shoot in, and that too in both versions (Hindi & Tamil) made the whole procedure very taxing physically.
What with Govinda playing the Hanuman equivalent only his character understands both sides of this battle. Understands that they both are fighting against the same enemy only from opposing sides.
What with the new-age Ram (Vikram) has an ego that makes him ignore the "wrong" means he uses to achieve the right ends.
But then, there is doubt too. While the official site makes enough room for positive anticipation -
The battle between good and evil, between Dev and Beera, between Ram and Raavan. But when the lines dividing good and evil are blurring fast whose side will you take. When hate turns to love and the good starts looking evil, which side will you battle for?
Putting me in a dilemma always works for the film. But, what's scary is what the lady has to say -
She actually discovers an insight into his persona, the truth behind why he has committed this so-called crime
Is this then the regular misunderstood Mr. Crusoe being understood by the lady who has been wronged? And her understanding of the situation actually makes her fall in love with him? shudder
But there is still hope. It could be done in a way that makes it a riveting story, a spectacle. Despite more shudders while you look at the filmi-giri in the promotional trailers. It might just be restricted to the promos, you convince yourself.
Will Vikram be able to do justice to Ram in Hindi while he's playing the title role in Tamil? Is it finally Abhishek's turn for a hit? Is it finally our turn to see a good film? June18th is when we'll know!
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This article was first published at meetu's Times of India Blog
- meeta, a part of the audience
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
Thumbs up, by Stefan S, A Nutshell Review : ...I thought the end result was something clever, boosted by great production values, and slick casting with the Bachchans and Vikram in leading roles.... full review
Thumbs up, Blogeswari : ...The one (word) difference between both the films - VIKRAM. His body language, dialogue delivery is engayo when compared to Sodappal Bachchan. Abhishek Bachchan is really really bad. ... full review
Thumbs up, Filmiholic : ...Mr. Govinda Ahuja, for whom I confess I have long carried a torch. He has a smaller but charming role as the tipsy, chatty guard at the forest entrance who is subsumed into Dev’s search party and he delights.... full review
Thumbs up, by Ray Bennett, Hollywood Reporter : ...Vikram cuts a strong figure as the police officer, though in his dark glasses, he often resembles a sinister hard man from a film about a South American dictator.... full review
Thumbs up, by Karthik, Milliblog! : ...There is enough intelligence pumped by Mani into this film but unfortunately the country is very busy trying only to compare it to the epic and being massively disappointed at the so-called literal adaptations.... full review
Thumbs up, by Subhashish Chakraborty, Passion for Cinema : ...It is a movie more than the sum of its parts for me. It’s not uniformly great. It alternates between being a great movie and a movie with its flaws.... full review
Thumbs up, by justjoke, Sulekha : ...the scene where Abhishek Bachchan expresses his love for Aishwarya between the waters is simply superb and for sure there are possibilities of audiences keeping quiet with shock or may freak out raising for applauses.... full review
So-So, by Naresh Kumar Deoshi, Apun Ka Choice : ...Ratnam weaves a telling tale but clutters it up with unnecessary songs and a jarring background score that at times sounds as annoying as the drone of a thousand vuvuzelas.... full review
So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...It’s tempting to think what a better actress, one less prone to dainty posturing, might have accomplished with this character, but Aishwarya, to her credit, at least, doesn’t frustrate you to the extent that her real-life husband does... full review
So-So, by Samrat Sharma, fullhyd.com : ...For a film whose point could have been made without relying too literally on the epic, Raavan tries to fill in every known point of the story with a modern equivalent.... full review
So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ...The image of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plunging from the heights into a waterfall and getting trapped in a dry tree remains the one visual that surpasses all other recent celluloid mise en scene suggesting a link between nature and vulnerability.... full review
So-So, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ... the film is a string of breath taking images. So much so, you seem to forget -- and almost forgive -- the fact that the first half hardly has any story.... full review
So-So, by Amrita Rajan, Women's web : ... Aishwarya Rai Bachchan screeches until you wonder at Beera’s restraint in keeping his finger off the trigger but is terrific in the moments where she brings Ragini’s dawning self-awareness to the fore. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Amodini Sharma, Amodini's Movie Reviews : ...Ratnam seems to have made the film about good and evil incarnate instead of actual people because he uses characters that seem to have found their primordial roots; they scream, shout and prance around as if possessed. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...Ratnam, with his Santosh Sivan and Manikanandan- shot pretty frames (but too many people falling in slow-motion down the same cliff into the same waterfall!), is curiously indifferent to his characters – you feel no sympathy, no tension, no shock, no relief... full review
Thumbs down, by Aniruddha Guha, DNA : ...An adaptation is always more enjoyable when a maker gives an oft-repeated story a novel spin, and in that respect Mani Ratnam has taken an initiative worth lauding. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Pritam, Gomolo.in : ...Aishwarya looks beautiful, but the movie didn't require her to look her beautiful self, mostly...so she negotiated for a couple of scenes, where she could strut her designer stuff and exude the glamour look... full review
Thumbs down, by Mihir Fadnavis, india.com : ...When she's not falling for the umpteenth time on a tree branch, or dancing awkwardly for Vikram, Aishwarya Rai either whines and yelps in a migraine-inducing tone, or stares vacantly, arching her eyebrows curiously... full review
Thumbs down, by Anuj, Indian Auteur : ...plays like a supermarket shelf with a gratuitous variety of products(aesthetic choices) – each of which Ratnam shows off his ability to purchase – but eventually, not taking any one of them home... full review
Thumbs down, by Komal Nahta, koimoi : ...It is not clear why the two writers did not show scenes to very clearly establish why Beera is the enemy of law and what are his illegal activities... full review
Thumbs down, by Partha Pratim, Mixed Bag : ...The scene where Dev decides to give his shaving plan a miss only to be seen completely clean-shaved in the next scene is one of those bad days of less sleep and poor editing by Sreekar Prasad.... full review
Thumbs down, by Ashok Nayak, Now Running.com : ...Aishwarya Rai's performance and beauty, Santosh Sivan's cinematography and the crisp to-the-point dialogues act as the only saving graces of this Mani Ratnam film.... full review
Thumbs down, by Padmaja Thakore, Passion for Cinema : ...The start of the film Raavan, the first ten minutes, zaps you with its superb look, inspired editing and brisk pace. If only the rest of the film could match it! ... full review
Thumbs down, by Great Bong, Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind : ...Screaming even higher than she had done in the entire movie, she let loose—-”Wait ….wait… that’s not the Director is it? Oh my God…….. it’s actually Mareech in disguise? Oh no ! Ramu —-is that you?” There was no response. Just the silence of an empty hall.... full review
Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...sloppily swaps antagonist with protagonist, and ends up giving an earnest Bachchan far too much scenery to chew in far too much spotlight. Oh yeah, this new Raavan is clearly Mani Ratnam Ki Aag.... full review
Thumbs down, by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters : ...there is no urgency to the search it seems, because he has all the time in the world to stop at villages and ask for people’s opinions on Beera, to read maps and even to shave. You never get the feeling that he wants to find his wife.... full review
Thumbs down, by Janhvi Patel, StarBoxOffice : ...She brings out the layers of her character and is particularly graceful in the song Khili khili where she enchants you with her classical dancing.... full review
Thumbs down, by K K Rai, STARDUST : ...It is strange that Abhishek Bachmann, who plays the main character in the film and has such a terrific chemistry with director Mani Ratnam, fails to deliver in the role of an anti-hero... full review
Thumbs down, by filmbear, Upper Stall : ...Abhishek Bachchan gives it a lot of energy but is undone by the lack of a focus script and poor support performances. Govinda and Ravi Kisan are much too over the top as well.... full review
Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
A police officer, Dev (Vikram) known for his finesse at getting hold of law-breakers offends the local Robin Hood, Beera (Abhishek Bachchan). The latter kidnaps Dev's wife, Ragini (Aishwarya Rai) as revenge only to be mesmerized by her bravery.