Raavan- Movie Review (Humorous)

By Sanchit on Monday, July 12, 2010

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Raavan movie review

Raavan is probably the most hyped DUD of this year just like Messi or Ronaldo were in the world cup! I specifically chose this movie for this post because in recent times I haven't seen any other movie which had so much potential and still fell flat on its face or shall I say (10)faces! I went to the theatre with much expectations and the first 5 minutes gave false hope of it coming true. But 45 minutes into the movie when you start looking at your watch you know something went wrong somewhere.

Almost everyone had high expectations from the movie and the stunning trailers raised the bar even higher. But how many times has it happened that the scene in trailers are the only ones to look out for in the movie! Credit should be given to people who made the trailers, stills and posters for the movie because they all look so extra ordinary while the movie itself is quite ordinary.

Raavan is one of those movies where everything could have gone right. One of the best directors, arguably the best music director, nice concept, a grand epic to base it upon, breathtaking locations, powerful star cast and what not. But this is 1 of the few projects where everything went wrong. Its like someone gave a challenge to the makers that " I will give you the best of resources and lets see how you can make a flop out of that!". Sadly it seems the makers accepted the challenge and won it quite convincingly because in the movie direction is poor, music is average, acting is ordinary and it would be a shame to call it an adaptation of Ramayana. It seems like some elements of the epic were desperately inserted into the movie to get some free publicity by promoting it as a modern adaptation of Ramayana. One may argue that it is indeed an adaptation of Ramayana as Raghini (Aishwarya Rai) is kidnapped by Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) and Dev (Vikram) comes to rescue her just like it happened in the epic. Well if a villain kidnapping Hero's wife and hero coming to save her is an adaptation of Ramayana then half of bollywood movies can be said to be adaptations of the epic!

Thankfully all is not bad for the movie. The viewers are in for a visual treat that they rarely see in bollywood movies. Cinematography is top notch, the locations are breathtaking and you have to give it to the cast and crew for filming almost 90% of the film drenched in water. In fact the true worth of this movie can be realised if there is no audio and people just watch the visuals on screen or if it is watched by people who don't understand the language and thus can enjoy the visuals without worrying too much about the story!

The 1st half of the movie is dull and slow. The kidnapping scene raises hope of interesting screenplay ahead but unfortunately the pace of story drops drastically after that. Also character development of various important people in the movie is poor. Things get interesting in the 2nd half though but overall it fails to keep the viewer interested. The story unfolds at such a pace that you don't want to know what will happen next, you just want it to get over. During intermission I was wondering if it was only me who didn't like the movie till I saw one person sitting few seats beside me sleeping peacefully!

Acting specially of the lead cast is ordinary. Abhishek bachchan fails to leave an impact on the viewers. He is given the same license to ham as Shah Rukh was given in 'Raam Jaane'. He seems more like a person with a serious anger management issue and a psychological disorder rather than a nemesis who has the wit and the gut to challenge the hero in something more creative than kidnapping his wife. His actions seem to be forced and overdone and someone was right when he said that it looks like he can't take even 1 head forget about 10! Aishwarya's acting skills are not worth talking but I am sure she could get an Oscar if they include a category "Who can scream the loudest" or "Who can break a glass with just her voice".

Of the remaining cast Vikram does a pretty OK job considering his character is poorly developed and have nothing much to do in the movie. Govinda who could have been a show stopper here shockingly doesn't even have a role to talk about. His entry scene and specially the lines he say at start to Vikram may give viewers goosebumps and raises expectation sky high. But apart from that Govinda doesn't have any significant scene in the movie! Mani Ratnam should really explain to people why he wrote such a poor character for someone who was supposed to play "Hanuman" in the adaptation. Only 2 actors that pulled it off were Ravi kishan and Priyamani. Ravi kishan played his part effortlessly and Priyamani gave one of the strongest performances in just 10 minutes of screen time. Her monologue where she describes the events in jail have made bollywood directors sit up and take notice.

Music surprisingly is strictly average. You don't expect that from a music director of A.R. Rehman's calibre. There are 1-2 songs which can be hummed for a while but nothing like Rehman's earlier works like Taal, Swades or Guru. Also the background music is not convincing. A jungle except for looking should also sound like a jungle. But during the whole movie voice of an animal is not heard even once! Maybe the director also wanted to highlight the serious problem of species getting extinct!

Finally to consider the movie a modern adaptation of Ramayana is just nonsense. What sort of adaption is it where "Ram" is not good, "Raavan" is not bad, "Shrupnakha" is the victim!, "Lakshman" is the culprit and "Hanuman" doesn't have any significance. The main plot is completely different while unimportant stuff is added to movie to portray it as an adaptation. Whether its Raghini being kept for 14 days or Jamuniya (Priyamani) being dragged by nose to the police station. When you resort to such tactics it implies that the director himself isn't sure about the movie.

To conclude Mani ratnam totally messed it up this time. If you missed this one you haven't missed much. To be fair to Mani Ratnam he admitted that during the making he was "lost as a director" . People thought he was joking until they saw the movie.

Rating- 4/10

PS: It seems that the people associated with the project were too influenced by the epic that after the movie a different sort of Ramayana took place! Here Mani Ratnam was Raavan (the evil character), Abhishek was Ram and Amitabh played Hanuman who stood behind Ram with all his might to prove Raavan wrong so that no finger is pointed at Ram! But this was 1 battle where audience decided who was right and who was wrong and no prizes for guessing what they chose!