Sunday, July 18, 2010

Raavan - Brilliant Shots, Excellent Acts

What is it all about?

Master helmer Mani Ratnam again proves his technical brilliance in this modern take of 'Ramayana' and dares to be different.

No make up for Aishwarya; Abhishek in different colour shades on his face, the movie is shot in difficult and different locations and is a visual treat.

With this film, Mani with Big Pictures ventures into the entire Indian screen with its Hindi, Tamil and Telugu versions.

Unlike most mainstream filmmakers, Mani Ratnam doesn't try to include something for everyone, 'Raavan' is for those who wants to see something 'hatke' and it has no similarities to Subhash Ghai's 'Khalnayak' or 'Hero' as rumored earlier.

This modern take of 'Ramayana' is more of debate on the evil in you, held on stage made in a jungle and it deliver handsome things over here and also polishes the Bachchan couple as powerhouse performers.

The Story…of course

The take on Ramayana has Dev (Vikram) as Ram an encounter specialist happily married to with Ragini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) as Sita a spunky classical dancer who is as unconventional as him. Vikram gets transferred to Lal Maati, a small town in India (which part a question mark). A town where the world of law is not the police, but Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) as Ravan a tribal who has, over the years, shifted the power equation of the place from the ruling to the have-nots of the area.

Dev knows that the key to bringing order to any place is not to vanquish the big fish; in this case - Beera. In one stroke Dev manages to rip open Beera's world and set in motion a change of event which will claim lives. Beera, injured but enraged, hits back, starting a battle that draws Dev, Beera and Ragini into the jungle. The forest becomes the battleground. The battle between good and evil, between Dev and Beera, between Ram and Raavan.

What to look out for?

The movie starts with Beera taking a dive in the river, policeman getting killed burnt and Beera playing drums and kidnapping Ragini within seconds, cinematographer Santosh Sivan gets in to the mode and delivers what Mani ordered.

This first half Mani wants to show us the madness of this character Beera which may sound weird to some as he laughs, makes faces and smoothly tries in building the negative, hating shades of his character where the southern edge to the picture is clearly evident.

The movie tries to balance character with visual spectacle.

Visually the movie is a treat. Shooting the film at tough locales was not easy and Santosh Sivan with V. Manikandan had done an exceptional job in 'Raavan.'.

Rahman's music is more rhythmic then melodious but adds tempo to the proceedings.

The dialogues between Aish and Abhishek especially during the climax speak love and nothing else and are well written.

Abhishek's role in 'Raavan' is more of madness then the intellect of Guru or the innocence of Lallan Singh in 'Yuva' but his performance is powerful as it relies mainly on the madness.

Aishwarya is top class in her role and she delivers it with panache. Vikram as Ram is excellent in whatever scope he gets. Nikhil Dwivedi impresses a lot. Ravi Kishen is superb, Negi adds valuable support and Priyamani is top rate.

The second half manages to create sympathy towards Raavan and that's Mani and Renzil's biggest achievement as the writer and the helmer wanted this to be.

Post interval portions triggers the debate on good and evil where the women is torn between and that's where the movie rises from common intellect.

Smartly edited by Sreekar Prasad, the action sequence are awesome choreographed by Shyam Kaushal especially the bridge fight between Abhishek and Vikram.

Production values are mind-blowing

What Not?

Govinda is filthy; the comparison to characters from Ramayana may not be digestible to some as Govinda is shown as an alcoholic and his character is inspired from Hanuman.

The movie may become enemy of its own intelligence in the Hindi speaking belt as here Raavan is considered to be evil.

The story moves only in the second half, though a lot is heard about Beera's unlawful practices but the viewer is hardly made privy to them otherwise the emotional impact would have been much better.

Conclusion: 'Raavan' is for those who wanna different taste of Bollywood, this visual treat may not be at par with Mani's previous flicks but it certainly has its stamp marked over it backed by excellent performance and technicalities the movie is recommended for a big screen watch.

Rating ***



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