Review: Bollywood meets Ramayana in Mani Ratnam’s ‘Raavan’
Mani Ratnam’s ‘Raavan’ is Ramayana with a twist, for there is a wafer thin difference between the good and the bad. Starring Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and South superstar Vikram, ‘Raavan’ is a modern day adaptation of Hindu mythological epic Ramayana in the typical Bollywood style.
‘Raavan’ revolves around Beera (Abhishek Bachchan), a la Robin Hood, whose criminal activates include brutal murder of policemen. Blessed with sharp mind, Beera orchestrates his crime from the jungle. In order to tackle the unruly outlaw, SP Dev (Vikram) is posted to Lal Maati and is entrusted with the task of nabbing the dreaded criminal. However, life takes a violent turn for Dev as his wife Ragini (Aishwarya Rai) gets kidnapped by Beera. Incensed by the atrocious act of Beera, Dev sets out to hunt Beera with the help of a bumbling forest guard (Govinda) in order to track his wife.
For starters, the movie has everything - Mani Ratnam’s direction, A-list actors like Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and AR Rahman’s melodious compositions. Yet, in spite of having such big names associated with it, the movie lacks a certain depth in terms of a terse script and a gripping storyline.
The movie is slow in pace and looks stuck at times. For instance, take Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. Abhishek looks a sort of weird in his bouts of anger, almost shaking visibly. And on the other hand, Aishwarya does nothing except screaming at the top of her voice. When not ranting and screaming at each other, the two are torn apart by emotions bordering on love and hatred, even as Vikram frantically tries in tracking the duo.
In any case, if you are an avid fan of Mani Ratnam, you will be surprised to know that ‘Raavan’ is quite superficial in comparison to ‘Roja’, ‘Bombay’ or the Abhi-Ash starrer ‘Guru’. There is no punch is dialogues and the script looks predictable.
A word on acting, ‘Raavan’ is an out and out Abhishek Bachchan film, for the actor eclipses Aishwarya and Vikram to oblivion with his class act. No doubt, Abhishek has the advantage of an author-backed role, as he gets into the skin of his character with élan. Aishwarya and Vikram would have been equally effective, had their roles been written with same profundity. Govinda is wasted for sure.
The cinematography by V Manikandan and Santosh Sivan is breath taking, so does the music by Rahman. Catch the mesmerising ‘Ranjha Ranjha’ and ‘Behne De’ as they take you to a different world altogether.
If ‘Raavan’ is not a great film, it is not a bad deal either, for it is backed by Abhishek Bachchan’s power-packed performance, which guarantees Box Office success. A must watch for Junior B fans!
Ratings: Three cheers for this one!