I cannot believe I fall for it everytime! Good promotion seems to be my weakness. 3 Idiots, Rajneeti and now this! But then again was Raavan well promoted?- that shall be left for another day.
Today I watched Mani Ratnam’s Raavan. This movie belongs to the yeah-they-can-make-that-crap-and-get-away-with-it genre. It is so disappointing that it inspired me to write something after almost three months. The fundamental flaw is that the producers thought that they could sell a movie by casting two actors in roles that would constitute a Freudian Nightmare. With that deceptive trump card in their pockets they went ahead indulged in sheer mediocrity. And so the plot never thickens; the water stays well below the bridge and the cookie never crumbles.
Abhishek Bachchan deserves a separate paragraph. This fellow is clearly not versatile in his craft. He did a good job in Yuva, Guru and Bluffmaster. But to portray an eternal Hindu badass I think you need to ACT better. He reduces Raavan to an idiotic stubborn juvenile delinquent who refuses to return the stolen mangoes. I think the director invented an innate quirkiness in Beera to distract us from his incompetence. So instead of having ten heads Beera makes an interesting noise ten times before/after or in the middle of every noteworthy scene. Some Most times it ends up being funny. But not everything is bad. Small B has an amazing screen presence that you cannot just throw out of the window. It is ruined everytime he opens his mouth(kinda like Dia Mirza). But like someone I know said: Write him a brooding role and he will win you an oscar; or at least a filmfare.
Ash- I don’t like her much so she didn’t really disappoint me. But thanks to Santosh Sivan’s mindblowing cinematography we can ignore her ultra sonic dialogue delivery.
Mani Ratnam- Why would you ruin that for us? It looked so promising. I think Mr. Ratnam and Mr. Jha met and flipped a coin to decide who would get which epic to ruin. Mr. Jha won Mahabharatasque Godfather and Mr. Mani ended up with Raavan.
The story- well there isn’t any. Pretty predictable if you had religious fanatics for grandparents: Raavan abducts Sita. Ram gets angry. He finds a Hanuman and gathers a hunting party and enters Lanka. Meanwhile Sita is busy issuing high frequency protests when she is not jumping off cliffs (too many people jump of cliffs!). We then see that thanks to a phenomenon called Stockholm Syndrome she seems to fall in love with Raavan (that’s sacrilege I tell you!) and there’s a reason other than her beauty why Raavan kidnapped her. After a few insignificant twists there is a pre-climactic out of this world (read bullshit) fight sequence on a shabbily made bridge (a literal metaphor of the Ram Setu which most people didn’t get because of the sheer obviousness). In which we see our actual hero Raavan giving a technically perfect tombstone to Ram and then proceeds to further kick Ram’s rear and then free Sita (Ram plays absolutely no role in her rescue). The tension never really builds up and yet Govinda manages to relieve it.
How could I sit through this ordeal?: Because of one guy called Santosh Sivan. The cinematography is so wonderful that he makes it almost worth it. It’s a treat for the eyes. Using a variety styles he has captured the landscapes, portraits and what not, perfectly. I’ve been a fan of his work for ages. I think he started from where he left off in Asoka. The palette used also adds to the mood. All the colors used in the jungle belong to the jungle. Tremendous work by the art department. You see the problem here.? I have to try really hard to appreciate the movie.
But I know what will happen: The box office earnings will cross Australia’s GDP next weekend thanks to its release in 2 million screens.
On the bright side: While walking out of the theater, Salil heard the guy in front of him say after a moments thought,”I think it was better than Kites.” I found it hard to disagree with him.