Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why Raavan killed Ravana.

Haven’t we all held a fascination for the burning Ravana and gushed over his evil abduction of Sita? He's stomped generations as the big villain in Hindu mythology. Most have a vague idea of his part in the Ramayana; what with the golden deer, the great Hanumana and the monkey march to Sri Lanka. A man who is vicious, powerful and much feared. A man whose 10 headed-ness Ratnam's built through a schizophrenic dement who's lost in the potency his character holds. If you haven't seen the film, there are spoilers ahead.

I’m not saying the film should have been a remake of Valmiki’s Ramayana. What I’m saying is the film wastes its time weaving overly powerful characters. I’m going to go ahead with the clichĂ© “Too many cooks spoil the broth”: With a great plot by Valmiki himself, the revered Mani Ratnam, the idolised A.R Rahman, star cinematographer Santosh Sivan, Kollywood king Vikram and two of the Bachchans in tow – there’s way too much trying to shine through Raavan. 

The film begins on a staggering note of Aishwarya a.k.a Ragini a.k.a Sita the wife of head cop Vikram a.ka Dev ak.a Ram being kidnapped by Abhishek a.k.a Beera a.k.a Raavan. And even though I see its potential to grip, the film leaves an audience like me pretty devastated.

We see a new lean, trying to be mean Abhishek. A role destroyed by too many dimensions. His magnanimity and aura is talked about through the film. The villagers talk about it, the cops talk about it, his sister talks about it and even he talks about it. Unfortunately, the audience doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Amongst favourite phrases like “Kach-kach-kach” and “Bak-bak-bak”, romantic notions, a violent fearless side, a tribe head, a brother, a good guy and more - we see Abhishek being more demented than 10 headed. Too much detail for a 2-hour film audience to fathom, let alone believe in. Especially when the tribesmen smear white mud on their faces as an excuse to burst into song. And by song, I can remember no song worth mentioning except
Beera Beera Beera Beera Beera ke dus maathe,

Beera ke sau naam,

Chede jo beera bol…

dhama dham dham dham
Yea whatever! 
Aishwarya is there. I mean she’s just there. Scrambling and screeching to connect with her unmoved audience. Gorgeous, yea. Divine and worth fighting over - no way! Her aviator clad and expressionless husband Vikram struggles with weak Hindi dialogues and random violent spurts. His insecurities a.k.a the evil side to Ram just blew by us and could have been harvested on. Like if you’ve seen Nina Paley’s Sita sings the blues

The good parts? There are parts of the movie that let you hope. They quickly let you down thereafter. We finally see a role that gives the monkey in Govinda a stage. Even though we cannot possibly imagine his huge self leaping about the way the film shows, I am convinced of his character. Also, there are frames that have a keen cinematographic sense and yet I cannot take away any single scene that was breathtaking. All I can think of is the final lap of the fight between Beera and Dev on a wooden bridge that swings in the middle of nowhere. There is so little shown of the steepness of nowhere that the audience feels no dizziness of the scene. In fact, Beera whispers something about Ragini being made of gold and THAT turns out to be the climax of the situation - a fact you will get to once the director is done winding you about a series of irrelevant flashbacks. 

All in all there's too much riding on too much. Spelling Ravana as Raavan doesn’t justify this clumsy attempt. The next time one decides to take on an epic, you must look up Raavan so you know what could go wrong when you’re competing with the gods.

Rating: **1/2


  1. Good review.. Movie was very far fetched!

  2. What can I say?Don't let BIG B see this review!

  3. you would'nt trashed the film had you seen the tamil version...Vikram is a farrr better actor than ahishek..

  4. I'm sure I would've Kamlesh! I'm willing to take a chance though.