So what is Raavan about ! Well, its Mani Ratnam’s way of saying “Boo” , I guess you did not expect this ! Well, he did surprise me in more ways than one. The storyline starts off with the description of a despicable being who is both Raavan and Robin Hood. Yet, you never see him do a truly horrendous act. The most he does is cut off the hand of a man who was disloyal to his sister ! Otherwise, he's just another average good Samaritan who is bestowed the status of “ Mesiaah “ by the poor and a real monster by the law. Then there is this bulldoggish cop, who is known as Dev, but non of his acts ever make you believe he can live up to his name. And so, you have already guessed what’s going to happen. Another protracted series of events of kidnapping lead by the Stockholm Syndrome and you have an ending which leaves you going “WTF”.
The question that comes to my mind is does greatness lead to eccentricity. The movie is an ugly display of brilliant cinematography and slick editing. It’s like a SHOW OFF of your skill sets. Because otherwise why would you write a film, so slim on storyline and so heavy on visual brilliance. The first half is just a series of excellent frames, but they say nothing. He could have rather shown a 15 minutes PPT of his best shots !!The characterization itself is so vague, that even if Abhishek Bachchan keeps shouting from the top of his lungs that he is a RAKSHAS, you don’t believe it for a second. Vikram, the cop, whose wife Aishwarya believes him to be a godly man, does not by one single deed prove he is! Then why does his wife believe it? You wonder. But that’s the whole point of the movie - Deception. Yes, you can concoct your own interpretation of an Epic, but when you do it, do it with as much depth as the epic. Mani Ratnam simply skims the surface and goes ahead. Hardly acceptable from a man who has made films like Nayagan, Iruvar, Roja.
I have never seen a more wide spread expression of “WTF” in the theater as I saw when the screen said INTERMISSION. I myself , was wondering if I should leave. I stayed back, only to be disappointed further. As the characterization is so vague and the director wants to put forth the question “Who is god and who’s the demon?”, the characters surfer. Vikram is reduced to a bulldog sniffing for his wife. Abhishek’s character is said to be 10 faceted and hence he does not have to stick to a character, he keeps switching his tone of speaking, behavior etc. Nice excuse for not writing a strong character. As for Aishwarya, well it’s a case of “been there done that”. You keep wondering where you have seen her act in the same manner or dance the same steps, but her attempt is sincere. And please don’t even get me started on Govinda as the monkeyish Hanuman!
Even the songs by Rahman are not the saving grace. It’s like when Abhishek sings “Behne De”, you silently go “Rehne De” !! The songs are just set pieces, excuses for Mani Ratnam to set hundreds of frames, use nifty gadgets and show off some astounding locations. He even shows off the skills he picked off from ANG LEE – the crouching tiger hidden dragon director.
I keep hoping that the next Friday, would be the day when I would be blown away by a movie, but unfortunately something has really happened to the film industry. Even the promo of “I hate Luv Stories” is hardly encouraging. If you want to really know what the expression “WTF” looks like on a 100 faces at a time, go watch Raavan !
Rating : 3 / 10 -- have corrected this after some introspection .... 3 is APT.
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