The hindi version has Abhishek Bachan playing Beera, Aishwarya Rai as Ragini and Vikram as Dev Pratap, the three lead protagonists. Now coming to the whole hoopla about Ramayana, i was thinking about it and realised that every case of a kidnapping (of someone’s wife) becomes a take on Ramayana. Its not an original take on things. Yes, the fact that people think of Ram, Sita and Raavan as epitome of good, devotion and evil is something that could have taken another take but when it comes to human beings, everything is flawed. No human is all good or all evil.
Raavan is breathtakingly beautiful. Shot by a Ratnam favourite Santosh Sivan, it has some amazing shots and great use of frames and light and the surroundings where it was shot. Aishwarya looks more beautiful because she is surrounded by mud and dirt and people who have a skin tone 50 times darker than her. And to a certain extent that is her use in the movie. She is this goddess like beautiful woman who has the guts to stand up to Beera when she is kidnapped. She is a little egoistic and foolish in the way she looks at things in the beginning though. Abhishek as Beera, a role that has been one of the most overrated role of this year is just as much. Overrated. He is worst when he starts talking to himself or when he makes this screeching chekackekacheka sound. It doesn’t looks complicated. It just looks irritating. He is good otherwise, mostly when is speaking normally. One of the most genuine scenes between him and Ragini is when he asks her to stay with him, inspite of the fact that she is married and kidnapped. And his desire for her is not hidden through the movie only that he never attempts to use his power on her because he understands her sense of self. Her self esteem and the fact that his power has no effect on her.
I must give some credit to Vikram for the way he speaks. It doesn’t look like he just learnt Hindi before shooting. But that aside, his role is just a caricature of a police officer who can’t see ahead of his own ego. The few moments of pain and love for his wife are very conveniently wrapped up in one bad song between them. Does not make the audience feel anything for him. The chemistry between Ragini and Beera is much more because of their clashes and you never even want her to leave. That is the first failure from the director’s end. The second failure i felt was the fact that the songs are just not right. The lyrics, which could have been very powerful in the background, end up becoming nothing more than just songs because of the illogical lyrics. You have lyrics of a love song when there should be pain, confusion and anger. Not to mention the average background music. A R Rehma has done an average job. Nothing even remotely groundbreaking. A special mention to Priyamani, Govinda and Ravi Kishan who have brought some freshness to this stale tale.
Is it really bad. No. Is it good? No. I didn’t break my head while watching it but to be truthful i didn’t enjoy it either. The locales are beautiful and thats about it.
The review is quite interesting…
Ravaan- the Hindi version could not do well because the audience in north india, especially the Hindi heartland could not digest the greying portrayal of Ram. The popular image of Ram in north is that of an 'ideal man' (maryada purshottam) which is far from true if we read the scriptures right. But thats a different debate..
As with most Mani Ratnam films, he likes to dwell into the minds of his characters and explore their thinking process- but then with a wide range of characters this becomes an ardous task in a 3 hour film..
But still he remains one of the most sensible and creative expressionists in Indian cinema.. Though I feel he is much better in Tamil as the language itself has a lyrical quality…
Well, your blog looks amazing.. the placement of pictures makes is visually appealing, the navigation is good too.. Cheers! 🙂
"Aishwarya looks more beautiful because she is surrounded by mud and dirt and people who have a skin tone 50 times darker than her."
Slightly racist, don't you think?