Raavan Review

Personas are often deceiving. A man who comes across as evil and menacing can be godly in reality, if watched closely and vice versa. Deception rules and dominates the world. Although, once the truth unravels, bad starts seeming good as in the case of Beera (Abhishek Bachchan).
Beera hides in the dense forests of north India from where he orchestrates his criminal activities against the police, a la Veerappan. He ruthlessly kills the policemen and loots their weaponry. Going by Beera’s sharp hunting skills and knowledge of the jungle, even the police is now scared of the dangerous outlaw except for SP Dev (Vikram).

Right after being posted to Lal Maati, Dev finds his wife Ragini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) caught in Beera’s clutches as he kidnaps her and takes her to the jungle where he resides. Turns out Beera has been meaning to settle a personal score with the police for a long time. Dev takes the help of a funny forest guard (Govinda) in order to get back his wife. Ragini on the other hand oblivious to Beera’s power, does every thing possible to escape her nightmare.

Mani Ratnam’s modern adaptation of Hindu mythological epic Ramayana with a twist, is a film made with good intention, beautiful music and mind blowing cinematography but unfortunately lacking everything else!

To start with, the story of the film as if on a long pause, just doesn’t move ahead for a good one hour after the film begins.

The scenes seem repetitive with Ash screaming from the bottom of her lungs even when she speaks (in a voice that seems inspired by Vidya Balan’s from Bhool Bhullaiyya, after she is possessed that is) and Abhishek doing some weird jig jig jig…not a dance, but the words he says as he shakes his hands around his head vigorously when either angry or amused.

The two keep staring, screaming at each other when not climbing a rocky mountain or jumping off a cliff as they play hide n seek in the forest for almost an hour. Their chemistry and the dialogues fall short of portraying the angst or the attraction they hold for each other thus making their interaction simply a waste of time.

A brooding Vikram keeps flashing his forehead frown lines and quizzical eyebrows as he hunts for Beera in the forest using minimal dialogues but maximum action & style (His fans will like it).

The only actors who provide good comic relief with their words and bindaas act amidst this insipid chase are Govinda and Ravi Kishen… both wasted to a large extent.

The dialogues are highly uninspiring for a film that intends to tackle a subject of this stature. (Ash asks Vikram: Yeh Beera Robin Hood hai ya Raavan)

Raavan is no Mani Ratnam signature film at all. It in fact looks like Mani attempting a Ram Gopal Verma (in terms of camera angles and direction) or even a Vishal Bhardawaj (feel, setting and twist of the film) while being inspired by Ghai’s Khalnayak (story).

The filmmaker seems inspired by so many things at a time that he forgets to retain his own USP. There is no punch in the script which doesn’t rise above clichés, no tenderness in the love between Dev and Ragini and no depth to Ragini or Dev’s character as they come across as silent spectators to Beera’s eccentric antics. The ten facets of Beera’s personality too doesn’t stand out.

The film moves you only when Abhishek and Priyamani come to picture. Both actors act superbly and infuse soul into this otherwise lifeless drama. Abhishek walks away with the main role and does a good job as he gets into the skin of his character very well. Wish his character would have been written better.

Ash holds one disgruntled expression on her face throughout and so does Vikram.

The film can be watched for its brilliant cinematography by Santosh Sivan and V Manikandan. Jungles, waterfalls, rains…have never looked so beautiful in a Hindi film before nor has a de-glam Ash in an extreme close up.

Music by AR Rahman is mesmerizing. Behne De, Ranjha Ranjha and Beera Beera are tracks that grow on you and are capable of being listed in Rahman’s all-time hits.

Outfits by Sabyasachi go perfectly with the theme of the film.

We assume Mani Ratnam went through a writer’s block this time around which is natural for creative geniuses of his calibre. We hope he regains his brilliance that gave us Roja, Bombay, Guru and Yuva. (TOI)


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