Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raavan



Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 18th June, 2010
Time : 140 minutes
Director & Writer : Mani Ratnam; Music : A R Rahman
Starring : Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Vikram, Ravi Kishen, Govinda, Nikhil Dwivedi, Priyamani

The lack of a coherent story, a weak script, wafer-thin characters and unexplained relationships are counter balanced by some of the most beautiful locales you’re likely to see within India, some stunning camera-work and an Aishwarya who looks better than anything she has in the past 3 years (and yes, I am hopelessly biased on the last aspect, so you’ve been warned) !




Abhishek is a guerrilla warrior, lives in jungles, amongst the tribals. He kidnaps the new SP (Vikram’s) wife, Aishwarya to settle some scores with him. He intends to kill her but instead becomes mesmerized by her. They travel from hideout to hideout, with Vikram in hot pursuit, aided by trusted lieutenant Nikhil Dwivedi and a forest tracker (Govinda). While Abhishek, has his two brothers, (the elder one is Ravi Kishen) and to assist him. Abhishek soon is openly in love with Aishwarya, besotted by her, unable to think of anything else, asking her point blank if she also feels the same way, questioning her about her husband. Aishwarya will soon have to make a choice, between this simple tribal leader and her policeman husband.



Where the film fails is in building either of the three central characters, giving them any depth, any life, any attributes that we can really identify them. Instead it chooses to give us really broad stereotypes and just leaves us with that. The whole Ramayan angle is also very ham handed, a bit forced. Abhishek’s character is not sufficiently Raavan-ish, the cop husband far from being Ram and even the side characters (Govinda being named ‘Sanjivani’ or the whole Abhishek’s sister being humiliated via the nose a la Suroopnakha), none of it worked



What works is the lush countryside, the amazing ruins, the fine mist / water that surrounds most of the film, the clouds that seem to float mid-air and mid-set and the rivers and waterfalls that seem to be be omnipresent throughout. The innovative camera angles & the play with light and shadow also add to the charm, for example in one of the opening sequences we seem to descend on a boat from up above, only to realise later that it was the viewpoint of an eagle and then moments later we go underwater to track the boats progress. Kudo’s to Santosh Sivan for this.



I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is the best Aishwarya has ever looked, but she sure looks lovely, sensuous, a woman worth chasing. Her acting was fine, but even I found issues with her voice – shreiky, screechy, not matching the sensuousness of her character / her face at all. Abhishek is good, a bit over the top, but maybe that was the character as well, the look, eccentricites, style of talking not really helping to endear him to the audience. Vikram is a bit too stiff, unable to look convincing as the vulnerable husband but coming across just fine as the ruthless cop. Nikhil Dwivedi, Govinda, Ravi Kishen do their bits well, Priyamani looks & does a good job as the sprightly sister.


Funnily enough, I found it amusing that most film-makers go for exotic loaclaes abroad and spend a packet while Mani Ratnam found the most stunning scenery in India itself. I think it’s the weight of expectation combined with a genuinely weak script (plus a farcical, unconvincing ending) that leaves you with an unfulfilled taste as you leave the hall. I would watch it at least once though, just for the visual spectacle, story be damned…

3 comments:

rhythm fadia said...

the entire point of movie was ram n raavan r in every person....the end was a let down i felt......

yves said...

Hello Apurv,
What a great blog this is! It's funny how what you say somewhere (been reading a great deal here and there before writing) has confirmed you in your appreciation of recent movies: I suppose that's because for you as an Indian going to see them is an easy thing whereas for us in Europe, you have to wait for the dubbed releases...
It's also funny, because I have had a different trajectory: started with the recent ones and then fell... down to watching all the old ones, well, when I say all... a tiny little number!
cheers

Chaula Trivedi said...

Raavan, the whole movie revolves round the Music so the story is not that strong enough. To read more about review from my perspective you can visit the link http://chaula-moviereview.blogspot.in/2011/01/raavan-review.html