Raavan – Review…( By Nina Rothe )

Ratnam’s ‘Raavan’ Is Like Nothing You Have Ever Seen Before! 

Undeniably, we live in times where things are seen as black and white, no grey areas allowed. Take the case of the gushing oil in our Gulf: BP is bad, President Obama is good – unless he’s also bad and that’s depending on the day – the environmentalists are good, the people who are trying to fix the problem bad, since they have yet to succeed. It is increasingly more rare to find a film, a TV series or a book which does not depict the battle of good vs. evil while leaning grotesquely on the side of good, making evil appear… well, evil. The Hero is always pure and good – and incredibly attractive – while the Villain is hideous, mean and plain hard to root for.

raavan_bridge_vikramIn this world of black and white, Mani Ratnam’s ‘Raavan’ is an exhilarating breath of fresh grey air. I found myself rooting for the bad guy time after time, and the last occasion I remember doing any such thing was during a Hitchcock film… Which wasn’t nearly as much fun visually as Ratnam’s film is!

ravan_ashwariya‘Raavan’ is one of the few, rare films out of India that actually gets better after Intermission. While most Indian filmmakers only see the second half of their films as a prolonged segue to their ending, ‘Raavan’ actually gains momentum, and nuances, in its last hour. It is in its second act that ‘Raavan’ becomes a riveting story – with strong social and gender messages – beyond its visually stunning cinematography and great performances. When people say that no one showcases Aishwarya Rai like Mani Ratnam, they are right! She is superbly beautiful and absolutely perfect in his films.

raavn_abh_ashAfter a sepia-colored title sequence, the film begins, immediately blending basic elements of the Sita and Rama story, with class and caste issues – the haves vs. the have nots – and the idea of ownership. Is love truly about what we feel or what we can possess? Are good and evil really that easy to tell apart? What happens when the villain isn’t who we think he should be and the god/hero isn’t perfect after all? Right in that fabulously provocative grey area lies the story of ‘Raavan’.

raavan_abhishek1The main characters are Dev – played by Vikram – the police commander, who’s described in the director’s notes as an “encounter specialist”; Beera – played by Abhishek Bachchan – the voice of the underdog, a man described at once as good and evil; Ragini – played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan – Dev’s wife, a feisty, strong woman who is at once fearless and vulnerable; and Sanjeevani – played by Govinda – an alcoholic Forest Guard who knows both Beera and Dev for the men they truly are, basically two sides of the same coin. In the Tamil version ‘Raavanan’, Vikram – the actor who plays Dev in the Hindi version – actually plays the Beera (Veeraiya) character and indeed, the two actors are even meant to look similar in body type, hairdos, facial hair and demeanor. It makes the lines even more blurry for the viewer…

raavan_ash_treeAt the very beginning of the film, the question is asked whether Beera is a ten-headed demon or a Robin Hood. It’s an answer you’ll have to work out for yourself. Although, most of the story does takes place in an apocalyptic Sherwood Forest of sorts, damp, muddy and soaked with water through ninety-five percent of the film. It’s a spectacle of wonderful cinematography – courtesy of Santosh Sivan – and keeps the viewer entertained through those moments when the action may move a bit too slowly. I did find myself getting lost in the beauty of the photography for the better part of the first half, since the guts of the story – with its themes of courage, true honor and objectification – really do start after Intermission. If I could offer a negative comment in my otherwise gushing review, it’s that the story takes a while to take off. And it tries to deal with too many themes at once, in the first half of the film.

raavan_ash_rainA friend made me privy to some insider’s info, which is that those who worked on ‘Raavan’ spent most of their time filming in waist-deep water. All this under the super-disciplined watchful eye of Mr. Ratnam, who is known to be quite a perfectionist, hence a bit of a despot on the set. That combination is true filmi commitment right there. Whatever it took, the effort was well worth it in the end.

raavan_ash_sabyasachiThe dramatic effect of the film is accented by the stunning costumes courtesy of Sabyasachi – at his best in this South Indian setting of vegetable-dyed cottons and gold brocade borders – as well as the haunting soundtrack by A. R. Rahman. Could there ever be a Ratnam film without Maestro Rahman’s sound taking it to new heights? I think we all know the answer to that question. And the lyrics by Gulzar are divinely poetic, even to a not-so-good Hindi speaker like me.

raavn_mani_abhi1Mani Ratnam will be awarded the Jaeger- LeCoultre, Glory to the Filmmaker award at the 67th Venice Film Festival this year. It is an honor that sums up the international appeal of a man who has never really cared that much about it. While most other filmmakers are scrambling to put together the next crossover hit, Ratnam’s been contently and extraordinarily making films for the Indian market, albeit in a variety of Indian languages, for the past 25 years. And yet, while I watched ‘Raavan’ I realized that within its human message, star performances and impeccable cinematography lies the most worldly of films I have seen in a long time.

In the words of Mani Ratnam himself: “Raavan is not a story, it is a world.” Indeed, a world we want to explore, learn more about and live, deep inside our hearts.

The film opens in theaters worldwide this Friday, June 18, in North America, India, UK, UAE, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and other countries. It will be shown in some markets in the Telugu version titled ‘Villain’ and the Tamil version titled ‘Raavanan’.

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35 Responses to “Raavan – Review…( By Nina Rothe )”

  1. Manoj Grover Says:

    Kool reviews, looking forward to catch this Raavan…..jai shree ram, intresting review by times of India which says Raavan is a chicken soup for our senses !!

  2. NY Times Review

    This film has been designated as a Critics’ Pick.

    The low-caste Beera rules the forest in “Raavan,” Mani Ratnam’s richly atmospheric adaptation of the Indian epic “The Ramayana.” Though the film takes place in the present, Mr. Ratnam’s forest remains an appropriately primeval place for mythic doings, full of fog and mists and rain and Beera’s mud-painted followers (shades of “Apocalypse Now”).

    Raavan (Ravana in Sanskrit), as every Indian knows, is the demon in “The Ramayana” who kidnaps Sita, the wife of Rama: king, deity and model husband (as Sita is the model wife). Early on in Mr. Ratnam’s film the question is asked: Is Beera (a gleefully hammy Abhishek Bachchan) Robin Hood or Raavan? He’s both — and more a hero in this telling, set on his turf, than is the Rama character, a cop called Dev (Vikram), who matches Beera in brutality and cunning, but not in heart.

    “Raavan” has Bollywood glamour aplenty, with the lovely if occasionally dramatically challenged Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Mr. Bachchan’s wife, playing the Sita stand-in. The real star, though, is Mr. Ratnam, a talented visual storyteller who directs action crisply and fills the screen with striking images. (One, of Ms. Bachchan’s falling body landing gracefully on a tree branch, is so good he uses it three times.)

    Artful but not arty, Mr. Ratnam, whose films include “Dil Se” and “Guru,” delivers the goods: There are songs and dances (A. R. Rahman of “Slumdog Millionaire” fame did the excellent score), and an eye-popping climactic battle, between the bad-good Beera and the good-bad Dev, on a teetering suspension bridge. And that, folks, is entertainment.

    RAAVAN

    Opens on Friday nationwide.

    Written and directed by Mani Ratnam; directors of photography, Santosh Sivan and V Manikandan; edited by Sreekar Prasad; music by A. R. Rahman; costumes by Sabyas Achi; produced by Mr. Ratnam and Sharada Trilok; released by Reliance Big Pictures. In Hindi, with English subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 18 minutes. This film is not rated.

    WITH: Abhishek Bachchan (Beera Munda), Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Ragini Sharma), Vikram (Dev Pratap Sharma) and Govinda (Sanjeevani).

  3. Telegraph India –

    Twenty minutes from the end of Raavan, which had a world premiere last night in London, you sit up and say: “This isn’t a bad film.”

    That is the point when the real Mani Ratnam of Roja and Bombay takes over.

    The film explores a grown-up issue: that there can be some good in the most evil of men, such as Raavan, and lurking evil in the most virtuous of men, such as Ram.

    The film begins with the kidnap of Ragini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), beautiful wife of Dev Pratap Sharma (Vikram), a ruthless police inspector, by Beera (Abhishek Bachchan), a village brigand.

    It is only when Beera, having held on to his prize for most of the film, lets her return to her husband, who remains determined, despite the peace offering, to hunt down his quarry… it is only when Ragini comes back home that the trouble begins.

    Had Beera hit her? Ill-treated her in any way? Roughed her up? After all, she had been away for 14 days and “14 nights”? Had anything happened between them? Basically, what Dev is fishing for is whether his wife had slept with Beera.

    She is shocked. Her lips quiver. Of course, not. In that case, Dev suggests, she would not mind taking a simple lie-detector test – this is the Ramayana being played out in contemporary India.

    A distraught Ragini pulls the emergency cord of the train on which they are travelling, gets off and makes her way back to Beera. Just what lies had he told her husband, she demands angrily.

    There is a flashback to their last fight on a high bridge in which Beera, instead of killing Dev, allows him to return to his wife who had confessed to him that she loved her husband, indeed worshiped him as a God. All Beera had said was that Dev was very lucky to have such a pure wife and he had to let her go because he could not trust himself in her presence any more. Pure gold when it goes into fire comes out pure gold, Beera had said.

    Ragini’s lips quiver again as she realises the depth of Beera’s passion is much greater then her husband’s. Unfortunately, Dev has tracked his wife to Beera’s lair, along with a battle group of his sharpshooters …. The Telegraph does not wish to give away the end except to report Beera’s profound question which lies at the heart of the movie: “Who is the demon and who is the God?”

    Until the critical turning point, the premiere, attended by its principal stars, had been rather more interesting, many in the audience seemed to think, than the 2-hour-20-minute movie itself. Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan came, too, as did their daughter Shweta.

    Shah Rukh Khan caused a stir when he arrived with his wife, Gauri, and their daughter, Suhana.

    Hollywood premieres are traditionally staged at the Odeon in Leicester Square. Possibly that venue was not available but British Film Institute on the South Bank by the Thames turned out to be a more attractive location on a perfect summer’s evening.

    “Raavan: World Premiere,” said the huge outdoor screen in case anyone missed the significance from the most expensive offering yet from Anil Ambani’s Reliance Big Pictures.

    Several of its senior executives had also flown into London, led by Amit Khanna, chairman of Reliance Big Pictures.

    Ratnam, who is so unfamiliar a figure to western agencies that some spelt his name as “Ratman”, walked the red carpet, guided by the PR girls, and gave interviews to a long line of microphones representing mainstream British television networks as well as a bewildering array of Indian channels and online outlets.

    London was probably picked as the right place to hold the premiere because in Bollywood terms, it is the capital of Greater India.

    “I think the UK has always been open to Indian films and is getting more and more so now,” the director acknowledged. “It becomes a platform where we can showcase (our films) to the rest of the world.”

    Quite a few cinema historians have been struck by the similarity of the posters for Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 psychological horror movie, The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson, and Raavan
    Raavan releases in India on Friday. It will hit about 2,200 screens in 58 countries across the world.

    All was set up for the arrival by silver limousine of the main attractions – Ash and Abhi, who spent well over 90 minutes giving sound bites and doing “meet and greet”.

    “It’s wonderful,” said Abhishek, who held his wife’s hand or had his arm protectively round her. “Look at the reception we’ve got. We are feeling on top of the world and we are so happy that we came to London to premiere the film.”

    Aishwarya, it has to be admitted, looked radiant, more beautiful than she has done for a long time.

    “We love the fans here… they are out here appreciating our hard work… so it’s time to say ‘Thank you’,” she said.

    She discussed the shoot. “We talk about how hard it was physically but, that apart, it was creatively challenging for all of us and that’s the kind of challenge actors enjoy. So we truly cherished this entire experience.”

    Shah Rukh, who is still suffering from his back troubles, looked a trifle gaunt, in the opinion of many who met him. But he – like the Big B — struck just the right balance between making helpful comments and taking over the show.

    “When Abhishek calls me anywhere, I know it’s going to be a great party, a great film,” said Shah Rukh. “Aishwarya, Abhishek, Amitji, Mani Ratnam – all my favourite people here. It couldn’t be a better evening to meet your friends, see such wonderful performances, see one of the finer films the country has made, I had to come… and the kids are very fond of Abhishek…so they all wanted to be here.”

    He had not seen the film, of course. “I think it’s one of the finer stories I have heard. Insha Allah it would do well and everybody else would like it as well. Aishwarya is way too fantastic an actor for me to make a comment on. Whenever I have worked with her, I have only gained from the fact that she has stood in the same frame as me.”

    He added: “I am a little biased towards Abhishek.”

    Abhishek said: “He is like family. He has always been there for us.”

    His father, too, had not seen Raavan. “I’ve yet to see the film. From the bits I’ve seen from the promotions, I think it looks stunning.”

    He was moved by the warmth of the popular reception. “I’ve never seen anything like this before and it just shows the love and affection that people outside of India have for our films.”

    Vikram, too, entered into the spirit of the evening and more than did his bit on the red carpet.

    “This is my first Hindi film so I’m very excited because I’m going to get a totally new audience that kind of gave me a thrill,” he said.

    Ratnam, asked why he had cast Abhishek, replied: “The character is a little mad. And Abhishek is close to it.”

    Quite a few cinema historians are struck by the similarity of the posters for Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 psychological horror movie, The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson, and Raavan.

    Aamir Khan, who had been invited, issued a statement apologising for his absence: “Amitji invited me for the premiere of Raavan in London when I was there. But I had to come here (back to India) for my mother’s birthday on June 13 and go to Pune to be with her. However, I wish the movie gets success and all my best wishes to Abhishek and Aishwarya.”

  4. Times of India –

    Story: Cop Dev Pratap Sharma (Vikram) has just one mission in his life. He wants to capture the local outlaw, Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) who may be a Robin Hood for the tribals around, nevertheless, he is a law breaker. More importantly, he has kidnapped the cop’s beautiful wife, Ragini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) to avenge a personal grouse and has escaped into the dense jungles. Turn ofevents: the kidnapper falls in love with his trophy victim who too gets indecisive about where her loyalties lie….

    Movie Review: The epics return again to contemporary cinema. After a re-telling of the Mahabharata against a political backdrop in Prakash Jha’s Raajneeti, cineastes can now feast their eyes on a modern-day rewrite of the Ramayana, against a cops-and-robbers canvas.

    Feast? Yes. The high point of Mani Ratnam’s film is primarily its visual opulence. The film is literally a work of art where one luminescent frame follows another as the scenes keep shifting from one wet and rocky landscape to another misty mountainscape. You can’t seem to get enough of the montages that leave you breathless with the excellent camera artistry by Santosh Sivan and Manikandan. From the opening sequences where Beera (Abhishek) smashes his boat into wide-eyed Aishwarya’s canoe, to the fleeing, flinging, fulminating visage of Aishwarya, captured against wild waterfalls, turbulent tidal rivers, crumbling trees and silken drizzle, the film is a string of breath taking images. So much so, you seem to forget — and almost forgive — the fact that the first half hardly has any story. It is essentially just one prolonged chase, where cop Dev (Vikram) relentlessly pursues criminal Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) in order to rescue his wife (Ragini) and book the fugitive who garners great local support.

    ——————————————————————————–
    Best Readers’ Reviews Vikram performance is real gud unless somebody’s voluntary opinion about his acting skills…Read more
    Vikram performance is real gud unless somebody’s voluntary opinion about his acting skills is made to influence people mind and read. Boom ! swamilion Mumbai 17 Jun, 2010 2333hrs IST» MORE READER REVIEWS YOU CAN NOW SMS YOUR REVIEWS TO 58888
    The paper-thin plot in the first half, does get you somewhat restless, despite a seminal scene where Sita-esque Aishwarya suddenly discovers a strange new emotion for a Raavan-esque Abhishek. After having labelled him beastly and brutish, a complete low-life when compared to her devta-like husband Dev, she finds herself being involuntarily drawn towards her kidnapper, despite his muddy visage and his gory past. And herein lies the second hook that draws you to the film: it’s revisionist tale of a Sita-like heroine flipping for a Raavan-like anti-hero, even as the traditional hero gets imbued in grey tones…. The anti-hero has always remained an alluring figure in cinema lore and Mani Ratnam carries his charisma forward with Raavan.

    The second half of the film does get a semblance of story, with adequate twists and turns which reflect the Surpanakha legend (again revised), the Hanuman-Sita encounter, the Agni-pariksha demand (re-interpreted again as a polygraph test) and the film moves from sheer visual to visceral too. There are enough punches in the second half to keep the momentum going, but by and large, the film scores mostly on art and aesthete. Everything seems to be geared to make Raavan an object d’art, including the music (AR Rahman and Gulzar create a few foot-tapping numbers), the stunts, the cinematography and the no-make-up and heavily-made-up look of Aishwarya and Abhishek respectively. However, a little more attention to the narrative was desperately needed in Raavan.

    In terms of performance, Aishwarya stands out as the lead actor, with her competent rendition of a woman who is torn between her love and loyalty towards her husband and her attraction towards a misunderstood brigand, with a heart of gold. Vikram, by and large remains a side hero: somewhat undefined and formless while Govinda’s Hanuman-like rendition of the forest guard is flippant. Which brings us to Beera: Abhishek Bachchan is immensely watchable, but he fails to lift the character of the anti-hero to another level altogether. Maybe, a less of multani mitti (mud packs) and `bagad billa’ antics would have allowed the natural actor in him to surface and bloom. Also, his other two outings with Mani Ratnam — Yuva and Guru — definitely tower above Beera.

    But hey, Raavan is chicken soup for the senses. Go, indulge yourself.

    A word about:

    Performances: Aishwarya leads, Abhishek follows, Vikram lags behind, Govinda’s going nowhere.

    Story: The screenplay by Mani Ratnam needed more substance and bite.

    Cinematography: Absolutely riveting! The camera artistry by Santosh Sivan and Manikandan is the heart and soul of Raavan.

    Music: AR Rahman and Gulzar create an interesting audio track, although Rahman’s earlier associations with Mani Ratnam remain unforgettable. Numbers to watch out for: Beera, Behne De and Khili Re.

    Styling: Sabyasachi Mukherji’s costumes are apt, blending modernity with tradition, just as the film tries to do. Aishwarya’s no-make-up look is a winner.

    Inspiration: The film is a modern day, revisionist adaptation of the epic, Ramayana.

  5. And from Taran Adarsh, A bit disappointed with this one. He gave Kites 3!

    It’s time for the modern-day version of ‘Ramayana’ to unfold this Friday, exactly two weeks after ‘Mahabharata’. The very thought of watching an epic in the present-day milieu only enhances the curiosity for the film. And if the present-day adaptation of ‘Ramayana’ is helmed by a master storyteller [Mani Ratnam], the moviegoer should, and must expect the moon. Nothing less would suffice. After all, a Mani Ratnam film is not merely an experience, it’s an event!

    Mani Ratnam, who has penned the screenplay of RAAVAN, models his characters on the lines of ‘Ramayana’:

    An upright cop, the punisher, the law/Lord Rama [Vikram];

    His doting wife/Goddess Sita [Aishwarya Rai Bachchan];

    The lieutenant he befriends in the forest/Hanuman [Govinda];

    His confidante/Lakshmana [Nikhil Dwivedi];

    The antagonist’s sister, who triggers off the war/Surpanakha [Priyamani]

    And, of course, the antagonist, the Robinhood turned Raavan who kidnaps the top cop’s wife and keeps her in his custody, in his Lanka/Raavan [Abhishek Bachchan].
    Write your own movie review of Raavan
    Mani Ratnam has also included the part where Goddess Sita was banished from the kingdom of Ayodhya due to the gossip of kingdom folk. It was agni pariksha then, but in the film, the husband [Vikram] asks the wife [Aishwarya] for a polygraph test to prove her chastity/fidelity. At the same time, RAAVAN brings back memories of a movie that, coincidentally, had a similar storyline — JUNGLE [Ramgopal Varma].

    You’ve come to expect scintillating visuals in the master film-maker’s films and RAAVAN is no exception. But RAAVAN falters in narrating the story with dexterity. In fact, this one’s a game of see-saw, with a dull and lifeless first hour, an absorbing second half and a weak, lacklustre climax.

    Final word? RAAVAN comes with the baggage of humungous expectations, mainly for the one name attached to it: Mani Ratnam. Even though comparisons with the genius film-maker’s earlier accomplishments like MOUNA RAAGAM, NAYAGAN, AGNI NAKSHATRAM, GEETHANJALI, ANJALI, ROJA, BOMBAY and GURU are sacrilegious since all belong to diverse genres, RAAVAN is nowhere close to those epics. The benchmarks only get higher and higher every time Mani Ratnam makes a film and RAAVAN, unfortunately, is a step down. Sorry, several steps down!

    Dev [Vikram] falls in love with Ragini [Aishwarya Rai Bachchan], a spunky classical dancer who is as unconventional as him. They get married and he takes up his new post in Lal Maati, a small town in northern India. A town where the world of law is not the police, but Beera [Abhishek Bachchan], a tribal who has, over the years, shifted the power equation of the place from the ruling to the have-nots of the area.

    Dev knows that the key to bringing order to any place is not to vanquish the big fish; in this case — Beera. In one stroke Dev manages to rip open Beera’s world and set in motion a change of event which will claim lives. Beera, injured but enraged, hits back, starting a battle that draws Dev, Beera and Ragini into the jungle. The forest becomes the battleground. The battle between good and evil, between Dev and Beera, between Ram and Raavan.

    Mani Ratnam’s adaptation of ‘Ramayana’ begins with the wife getting kidnapped and her husband launching a massive hunt to track down his wife and nail Raavan aka Beera. The reason why Beera takes this extreme step is revealed much, much later, towards the post-interval portions, which means that Mani Ratnam follows the nonlinear pattern to narrate his story.

    Let’s talk about the factors that pull this film down. First and foremost, when you’ve a title like RAAVAN, the demon king, who couldn’t be vanquished by Gods, demons or spirits, you expect Raavan aka Beera to be equally powerful, who could send a chill down your spine, who spells terror and fear. But, in RAAVAN, Beera comes across as a psycho. The streak of madness in his character makes a mockery of the character itself.

    Also, his makeup and also the shabby avtaars of his family/henchmen is not something that makes them looks menacing. In fact, it makes the entire gang look repulsive.

    Even the finale leaves a lot to be desired. Ideally, the film should’ve ended after the fight on the bridge, but the entire track thereafter seems like an add-on, which is forced into the screenplay. Ash having a change of heart for Abhishek is equally unpalatable and makes you wonder, how and when did she develop such strong feelings/emotions for Beera? The writing is flawed, no two opinions on that!

    On the plus side, the track, which starts from Nikhil’s kidnap to the entire flashback portion, is attention grabbing. The factors that prompt Beera to spell havoc in Dev’s life are apt, although Beera’s sister’s portions, while narrating the atrocities committed on her, aren’t easy to comprehend in entirety. What was she trying to say, frankly? Yet, the impact of the flashback portions is worth noting.

    The fight on the bridge — between Abhishek and Vikram — is astounding. One hasn’t watched something like this on the Hindi screen yet, I’m sure. In fact, the execution of each and every stunt [Shyam Kaushal, Peter Hein] is exceptional. Every Mani Ratnam film is embellished with stunning visuals and RAAVAN boasts of mind-boggling visuals as well. Shooting the film at tough locales isn’t easy and Santosh Sivan and V. Manikandan’s vision creates magic on screen. Every frame is worth admiring and applauding.

    A.R. Rahman’s music is excellent and the visual appeal only enhances the impact. I’d like to single out ‘Behne De’ and ‘Thok De Killi’, two tracks that I’d like to hum even after the show has concluded. In fact, the latter is very energetic in terms of choreography. Vijay Krishna Acharya’s dialogue hit you like a sharp object at times, which is in sync with the mood of the film.

    I’ve admired Abhishek’s work in Mani Ratnam’s earlier films YUVA and GURU, but despite putting his best foot forward, for some strange, inexplicable reason, Abhishek doesn’t look convincing for the part. Also, the dialogue delivered by him aren’t coherent at times. Aishwarya is wonderful, looking ethereal and enacting her part with conviction. Vikram is first-rate, although the role isn’t substantial enough. Govinda fails to create any impact whatsoever. Amongst the plethora of actors, Nikhil Dwivedi [a revelation; very good], Ravi Kishan [nice] and Priyamani [perfect] stand out.

    On the whole, RAAVAN is a king-sized disappointment, in terms of content. From the business point of view, a Mani Ratnam film might ensure a healthy opening [at plexes mainly], but the weak script on one hand and the heavy price tag on the other will make RAAVAN see red.

  6. Rediff Review –

    Mani Ratnam’s Raavan is an overwhelming film. At times a tad bit overproduced, the film is an onslaught of brilliant use of technology on the viewer’s senses — stunning cinematography, the fluidity of the camera, quick edits, loud soaring music, with the actors thrown into wild nature.

    Ratnam working with his regular cinematographer Santosh Sivan and also V Manikandan, and editor A Sreekar Prasad, gives us a hellish vision — an innocent woman Ragini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan [ Images ]), kidnapped by a Veerappan-like outlaw, Beera (Abhishek Bachchan [ Images ]).

    Much of the film is the cat and mouse game — Beera and his gang, in harmony with the forests, rain, rivers, cliffs, mountains and a lot of mud, always a few steps ahead of the police force led by an officer Dev Sharma (Vikram), who also happens to be Ragini’s husband.

    Ratnam is one of the most remarkable filmmakers in India [ Images ], taking unique story ideas — although some with muddled political messages, working within the framework of popular cinema, and yet creating memorable films in Tamil, Hindi and other languages.

    From the days when he used to shoot his films in one language (Roja [ Images ], Bombay and Dil Se) and then dub them for other markets, he has now moved to working simultaneously on two parallel productions.

    This time he shot Raavan in Hindi and Raavanan in Tamil — shooting each scene back-to-back, with at least one actor interchanging roles. Vikram plays Dev in Raavan and then Veeraiya (Beera) in Raavanan, while Ash appears as Ragini in both films. He also has a third version — Villain dubbed in Telugu.

    That is a lot of ambition for a soft-spoken 54-year-old man, who first attended business school before becoming a filmmaker. There is ambition written all over Raavan and at most times it succeeds.

    But it all happens at such speed that it takes a while to absorb the pace of Raavan. The film needs to be digested, absorbed and mulled over. The visual images are often so powerful and strong, each shot packed with so much activity — rain, mud, trees, cliffs, and, of course, the actors, that many filmgoers will miss out on all that they see on the screen.

    I tried to get ahead of Ratnam and started counting the number of edit cuts during the grand dance performance to the song Thok di Killi, but soon I felt I was on a roller coaster ride, and had to stop to breathe.

    Raavan is Ratnam’s interpretation of the Ramayana [ Images ] (yes, the rumours and speculations are true), with Bachchan, Ash and Vikram playing the roles of Ravana, Sita and Rama, respectively. And in one of the most brilliant strokes of casting, a delightful Govinda [ Images ] plays Sanjeevani — a modern day Hanuman [ Images ], playfully hopping from one spot to another as he joins Dev’s mission to search for his wife.

    The film is replete with references to the Ramayana — from the 14 days it takes Dev to rescue his wife, to a disturbing take on the Soorpanaka story, which becomes the justification to the kidnapping of Ragini.

    But Ratnam takes Raavan beyond the Ramayana. I am not giving away the ending, but I wonder what the purists and Hindu fundamentalists will think about the departures of the film from the religious text.

    Ratnam gives us all shades of the three main characters. Beera is not always as evil as Ravana is often portrayed; Ragini’s Sita has a strong inner core, and while she starts with hating Beera, she is sometimes in awe of his sudden spouts of gentleness; and Dev turns out to be the not so perfect Rama.

    I wish the script and the film in general, had not spent so much time in its technological grandeur, because the real crucial conversation around the Ramayana starts to happen near the end of the film. By this time Beera, Ragini and Dev have stopped being the traditional Ravana, Sita and Rama.

    That transition makes Raavan a significant milestone for modern India to move beyond the Ramayana as just a religious text. And so Raavan is perhaps Ratnam’s most definite political film.

    Bachchan’s best work to date has been with Ratnam in Yuva [ Images ] and Guru. But here the actor goes beyond anything he could have imagined he was capable of doing. Through the film he stands tall, observing his landscape, his face twitching with myriads of thoughts and his menacing smile unnerving all those who come in contact with him. Bachchan has never worked this hard in a film and it shows in his performance.

    Like him, his wife Ash also gives one of the strongest performances of her career. Few directors have succeeded in making us look beyond her beauty and see the actor in her. Rituparno Ghosh worked wonders with her in the under-appreciated Raincoat and Ratnam did that in Guru and now here in Raavan.

    Vikram, a star in Tamil films, is a real find for the Bollywood industry.

    The fate of Raavan and its Tamil and Telugu versions will be judged in the next few days by audiences across India and abroad. But this much is clear — Ratnam, the quiet master, is in top form here. It will be a challenge for him to outdo himself.

  7. Sharmila,

    All the 3 reviews above, give me this impression about Mani Ratnam’s cause:

    मानी कुटिल कुभाग्य कुजाती | गुर कर द्रोह कराऊँ दिनु राती ||
    अति दयाल गुर स्वल्प न क्रोधा | पुनि पुनि मोहि सिखाव सुबोधा ||

    … For the proud, conspiring, ill-fated lower classes | I expressed my hate day-night ||
    … But my kind teacher was never angered | He kept teaching me good ethical morals ||

    जेहि ते नीच बड़ाई पावा | सो प्रथमहिं हति ताहि नसावा ||
    धूम अनल संभव सुनु भाई | तेहि बुझाव घन पदवी पाई ||

    … The ones who improve the lot of the vile | The vile consumes them first ||
    … Brother, like the smoke from a fire | It is a cloud that kills the fire ||

    रज मग परी निरादर रहई | सब कर पद प्रहार नित सहई ||
    मरुत उदाव प्रथम तेहि भरई | पुनि नृप नयन किरीटन्हि परई ||

    … The dust trodden by all on the road | Suffers the batter of all the feet ||
    … But if air blows it up, it fills it first | Then the King’s eyes and Crown ||

    उत्तरकाण्ड, “रामचरितमानस”, तुलसीदास 105: 4,5,6

    Uttarkand (Epilogue), “Ramcharit Manas”, Tulsidas

    • Correction: Not 3 reviews… so many 🙂

      • I am yet to watch Raavan and I am not getting influenced by reviews and more so the negative ones. Keeping Abhishek aside for a moment and speaking only of Rathnam, I believe this is one man whose thinking and creativity is on a different dimension altogether and beyond realms of our own understanding at times. When he translates his genius into making a commercially viable ” Allaypayudhe”, he has made something “ordinary” ( by his standards ) that has created an extraordinary result at the box office. When he makes something ” extraordinary”, like in the case of Iruvar, which I regard to be his best the result at the box office is tepid.( I do not believe Iruvar was a box office hit, correct me if I am wrong.) Rathnam was somewhere between the ordinary and extraordinary with films like Bombay, Roja..love stories (where terrorism was not the main theme but woven in between for sensational reasons), this formula got him the desired result at the BO and also did reasonable justice to his creativity. Unfortunately from a BO persepective Raavan is likely to be ordinary yet will be an extraordinary one in terms of creativity as per Rathnam’s standards ( judging by the snippets of how this movie has been made and a few sensible reviews). I wish Rathnam continues making films that allows us to peek into his genius, in short Rathnam is best when he makes movies for himself and not for all.
        Re – Abhishek as some think he is who he is because of his father,in this industry it is impossible to sustain oneself with a fancy surname alone. There may be initial opportunities, but they dry up if one is ordinary. Abhishek has come this far on accord of his own merit. One cannot work in three of Rathnam’s movies unless he is bloody good! One area where I believe Abhishek gets opportunities because of the Father has been reality TV, certainly not movies anymore.

      • Sahrmila,

        Very interesting debate. I wish I knew Tamil. I am only able to see what comes across with sub-titles or made in Hindi. I had the same problem with bengali movies starring Uttam Kumar – one of the finest actors on celluloid.

        Mani Ratnam’s talent is indubitable.

        The risk factor is in the basics of his choices. Mani Ratnam is not a formula film maker like Manmohan Desai or Prakash Mehra who churned out the same story, the same actors (AB, Nirupa Roy, one of the Kapoors etc) and still each one was a mega success at the BO.

        In Mani Ratnam’s case, each film is a new baby in the family and no two are the same. For each one the theme, story, plot and screen play are different. For instance, Dil Se was a based on the politically disturbed tribes on the indo-china border. Roja was about the nefarious nature of the seduction of locals on the Kashmir border. Bombay was a take on the ethnic divisions in India’s richest city. Guru was a comment on the wicked ways of the government babus. So, as you see, each film is a new baby. Albeit there is a pattern in his presentation. From simple village backgrounds in Roja to the larger-than-life canvas of Dil Se and Guru he has increased his investment on the commercial impact – which is not bad at all.

        Also, ARR continues to remain his anchor in many ways.

      • Oops… Sharmila… not Sahrmila… sorry.. the ‘H” on the keyboard is under the right hand fore-finger and the ‘A’ is under the left hand ring finger… the ring finger, poor thing, always falls faster…

      • And yes, regarding Abhishekh Bachchan… he was a celebrity and star even before he had signed his first film as an actor… the general viewer who comes to enjoy a film cannot set a benchmark… no matter what he does…

      • To complete that one… its quixotic trying to defend Abhishekh when no one is attacking… majority of the media, public and the who’s who of the industry have left him alone at his devices…

      • The attack on AB Jr is quite rampant, hence, my commentary in his defence but probably irrelevant to your comment though, should have not raised AB Jr here.:)

      • Thats a nice thing to have – even if not a ‘must have’. If there is a rampant attack, then he is still in the business.

        There was a movie where AB pulls off a bank robbery with the help of 3 blind men. I was almost convinced that a new metro-genre was in the making, and for once I felt he should have left his son to do the role. A few days later someone showed me a James Hadley Chase quick-flick that had the same story. a La Dharmendra’s Shalimar (Chase’s ‘Vulture is a Patient Bird’) and Rishi Kapoor’s Duniya Meri Jeb Mein (World in My Pocket). I gave up any hopes of original genres in the near future.

        ‘The Angry Young Man’ will probably remain the last original Indian genre for a long time. Deewar, Do Aur Do Paanch, Natwarlal, Naseeb, Yaraana, Dostana, Lawaaris, Amar Akbar Anthony, Khuda Gawah, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Giraftaar, Andha Kanoon, Akhri Adalat, Do Anjaane, Adaalat,… incidently all were multi-starrers and big banners..

      • Oops.. not Akhri Adaalat… Aakhri Raasta… and while I am on it I may add a few more… Hera Pheri, Khoon Pasina, Mard, Coolie, Agnipath.. quite a long lost for a single type…

        But now I have to return to the TV… Italy is on oxygen against minnows New Zealand… the drone of the vuvu is like a bee-hive shaken up…

        🙂

      • I mean long list.. not lost.. sorry

    • Reader – Wonder what Rathnam would say to this.any idea?

      • Sharmila,

        He is not the inspirer.. he is the inspired… a satyuga theme made in the kalyuga must spin the other way… it goes with the territory… btw is Veera short for Veerappan?

      • Reader – Possible by Rathnam to make the bandit king into a Robinhood of sorts in reel life too.

      • Sharmila,

        Mani Ratnam’s scripts are not really in the past although he banks on proven themes to underline the story.

        His film ‘Bombay’, which was incidently the first movie released by ABCL, covered the Hindu-Muslim riots in the city carefully crafted into a love story.

        He has a natural flair for making statements without entering into a debate and avoiding cross-fire by changing the USP before the release.

        ARR and Remo’s music caught the attention prior to release of Bombay. Guru was sold on the idea of a Dhirubai bio-pic (which it wasn’t so much). Yuva was not sold and no one bought it – though the lead lady (forgot the name… Kajol’s cousin.. bong.. forget my own name next).. she tried the Abhi-is-just-a-friend I love Jaya aunty etc… but it didn’t quite click as Abhi-sheikh announced his marriage and blew the whistle..

        Speaking for myself, the Tamil version of Roja (subtitled) is his best so-far… because terrorism was only used as a plot within the story… not as a theme… and ARR didn’t care less in the music… he stuck to romance…

  8. Divya Suresh Says:

    Great review!! your blog is always a good read Sharmila!

  9. Anand Khare Says:

    Dear Sharmilaji,

    It is not fair to pass any judgement on ‘Ravan’ without watching it. But promos do not encourage me to spend INR 1K on this.I will rather wait for ‘word of mouth’ of courageous spectators in first week.Film critics are having their point of view and I will not blame them for +ve or -ve bias.

    It is also a very audacious decision to screen this movie when FIFA fever is on. It is certainly going to hit a lot of business interests.

    Aishwarya is very pretty for 37-38 years. But Katrina is not there in Ravan.

    Liked Ranja-ranjha song specially the female voice some sachdeva..

    Anand

    • Anand – Fair enough. Re FIFA, I believe it is only the metros which may impact Raavan’s business especially on weekend nights. Yes, I agree the FIFA may be a slight distraction but whats stopping us from watching a good movie and heading back home in time to catch the football too. Was not aware that you are a Katrina fan. Thanks for letting us know.

  10. Aishwarya Says:

    Hi Sharmila,

    Here’s the opinion by a few friends who watched it the first day…I was hoping it would be a winner through and through…

    …Saw Raavanan First show at Birmingham. Good location, camera and lot of hardwork gone in the movie; good performance by all actors- should be commended. BUT- storyline is weak and dialogue is telegraphic. Relationship between main characters is very patchy, logical hiccups and not strong enough to create an impact. Mani fans will like it.

    …Why does every hype end in disappointment? I read a review which wasnt good too. But never mind. We will watch it for Mani.

    …Maniratnam’s tendency to romanticise every single, fricking thing ruins Ravanan. He has done a Gowthan Menon this time; style over substance. Pity!

    …RAVAAN movie buckwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas.

    …Can’t believe Mani Ratnam who made ‘Guru’ with Ash & Abhi, has created this crap, he tried to repeat a ‘ yuva’ type of performance from Abisekh, but failed.

    Aish.

  11. Satyam’s review – ( from satyamshot )

    Not the least of Rathnam’s subversive strategies in this very singular of films is the employment of a narrative ‘machine’ which introduces non-linear ‘shards’ to upset canonical expectations. The film offers a ‘revaluation’ of the Ramayana contours not by setting up a formal anti-text but by using gaps in the orthodox versions to insert Raavan’s text within them. The plot is therefore reconfigured at every turn almost surreptitiously. The flashback device has rarely been used more effectively because each time one emerges from one of these a bit more oriented toward the title character and his motivations, a bit more naturalized in his surroundings. It is also crucial to point out at the outset that this is also not an anti-Ramayana that renders Raavan more human or accessible. In fact the film always shrewdly maintains a certain distance toward him. Rathnam does not switch the places of the two central male protagonists as much as he interrogates the entire system of co-ordinates within which this opposition acquires minimal sense. Not surprisingly the film ‘happens’ in Raavan’s abode because it is only at this site that the ‘questioning’ can really come about. And while it is not ‘Sita’s tale’ the work is perspectivized through Ragini who offers the only possible access into Raavan’s realm. The entire framework allows Rathnam to formulate a startling political critique that might well be his most consistently sustained.

    But every discussion of Raavan ought to begin with its visual schema which arguably highlights the director at his formalistic best. This kind of judgment might seem a bit hyperbolic for a master who has created so many seminal works in this regard but here for the very first time Rathnam also imagines an entire ‘new world’. All of Terence Malick’s pristine, virginal nature seems to be present in Raavan except that it is not rendered quasi-mystical as in the American director’s transcendental longings. Consequently Rathnam’s natural world is only a physical site which houses his characters and not the ‘house of being’ that it is for the Heidegger-soaked Malick. This ‘edge of the world’ setting is neither a mythic landscape of memory nor an Edenic site of nostalgia nor even a ‘sound and fury’ personification of ‘nature’. It is only Raavan’s ‘other’ abode, a little mysterious much like him. This topological richness forms the entire physical space for the ‘story’. It is as if Rathnam intuits that real subversion in this tale is possible only when one moves out of Ram’s comfortable surrounding and starts dwelling in Raavan’s stranger environs. And perhaps appropriately for the themes of this movie there are always precipices and abysses round the corner. Always the possibility of a fall. Hence all sorts of horizon shots. A world where there is all the clutter of a tribal community in areas of dense foliage or tiny villages ensconced within but equally cascades and flowing water, moist rocky terrain that provides perching places for so many of the characters. It is almost never a level landscape. Characters appear geometrically on screen in various heights and postures. But there are always falls and drops dangerously lurking around the corner of a glance. This ‘challenging’ geography that Raavan inhabits mirrors perfectly the equally challenged ethos of his community. For it seems to be forever under siege by the forces of ‘Ram’.

    Rathnam opens he film with a marvelously dynamic montage. He starts in medias res and there is almost nothing of Raavan in the movie that is not mediated through Ragini’s perspective. In other words we never see a Raavan that she does not. In fact looking at many of the earlier stills one realizes that the director moved even more in this direction as time went on. But Raavan remains somewhat other to us as he does to Ragini and the edits reflect this. At the same time the camera also captures all the immediacy and visceral qualities of these new surroundings for Ragini, all the ways in which her motor responses are perhaps always more unhinged in her state of captivity and the extent to which she can always be unsettled by human company. If Ram Gopal Varma’s films have often privileged a longitudinal destabilization Rathnam here while doing a fair bit of this is also equally interested in lateral displacement. Even as there are ‘vertigo’ shots and all kinds of high/low angles there are even more effectively executed swipes and flicks. This is essentially important because while physical height and the possibility of ‘falling’ is always a factor in this work there is the additional one of Ragini imprisoned in a setting where she usually finds Beera in her ‘orbit’. The touchstone moment here and which might also be considered the film’s supreme visual trope occurs when Beera in a scene of exquisite erotic tension encircles Ragini with one hand blocking her face, one her chest, and then his face constantly getting closer to her, all this without ever touching her. Meanwhile the camera itself encircles the pair and moves with them and even closes up on them at one point. A kind of ‘mimicry’ moment that is positively unique specially with the stunning soundtrack playing an alternate version of Ranjha almost as an alien sound. If Macbeth’s witches could have been given this song the result might have been approximately this. It makes for mesmerizing cinema and really reminds one of a scene in Red Desert (Antonioni) when the girl goes out to swim and a rather unsettling female vocal strain suddenly erupts. The song in Raavan itself works like a shard from the original, it seems to convey a sense at once primeval and post-apocalyptic. Eventually of course this is connected with strains from the original song in a flashback which then connects this gorgeous scene to the trauma of the past. The visual and sound cues are extraordinarily well-matched in the moment. Elsewhere there are superb tracks, hand-held gravitational shots, sparingly used wide angles that emerge with a certain force because the viewer is so acclimatized to relatively tight frames. This is not a claustrophobically shot work but it is also not one of dazzling vistas. Rathnam and Sivan create a very neat economy between the two and the marriage between thematic intention and visual translation is near-perfect.

    The very same could be stated for what seems to be the most extraordinary of Rahman’s background scores. The soundtrack veers mostly on the experimental and only occasionally reveals more familiar cues. The mix is quite intoxicating and the significance of Rahman’s work in the film’s overall texture of image, sound and sense can scarcely be overstated. Oddly though the songs are perhaps not as effectively used as elsewhere in Rathnam probably because the tone of this narrative never really allows those easy transitions. This does not rise to the level of a complaint but contrasted with the fabulous background work the ‘formal’ songs seem lesser within the body of the film.

    The camera does not just frame Raavan in the film but the Beera Ragini always ‘witnesses’ in some form or fashion. This is a crucial point which might also explain some of the problems many have had in gauging Abhishek’s performance. It is not that his is an underwritten character but of necessity a somewhat mysterious one because he can only be represented by way of the female protagonist. This is not at all true for Ram who is shown independently in many moments. The comparable ones are very few for Beera and of a certain contingent sort. The overall principle holds. Even as Ragini grows to understand Beera, even as she is drawn to him (though this is represented very subtly as opposed to Beera’s own attraction to her), even as she definitely grows to care for him she can never completely ‘know’ him. He is always a bit of a shadow to her, the very silhouette he is introduced as and often framed as through the course of the film. Abhishek’s performance is actually very even here even if the introduction of certain psychological ticks to the character seemed less necessary. But this is not a fault with a performance that is beautifully keyed to the tone of the film and the mystery of Beera’s world. As the film progresses Beera gets more vocal and when he is most in confessional mood the end has arrived for him. Ragini allows Beera to develop certain registers of language. On the other side of this equation her immersion in Beera’s universe allows her to comprehend the violence that the Devs of the world have inflicted on it and from being repelled by the violence of the former she is eventually even empathetic to it, understanding it perhaps as a ‘positive’ response to the ‘oppressor’. Rathnam in this sense does not have a formal political program but he is certainly polemical enough in unmasking the presumptions of bourgeois complacency. Beera’s community represents the displaced and the marginalized. Rathnam in turn ‘places’ their violence within context. There are unsettling moments of violence in the film that almost always make Dev and his ‘confederates’ seem less sympathetic. As an aside one should add point to an obvious example — those recent events of mind-numbing Maoist violence and the bourgeois imagining of the same as occurring in a vacuum with no political contexts. Dil Se to this degree is the complementary film to Raavan.

    This is arguably Aishwarya Rai’s best part. The charismatic center of the film remains quite naturally Beera but her character is the ‘soul’ of the film and as mentioned before the viewer’s guide. An always engaging performance on her part that also usefully incorporates her star signature. It would be hard to argue for superior casting for her part. Vikram who forms perhaps the truer complement to Abhishek is despite the limitations of his part in fine form here. In fact rarely has the actor been more economical than in this film. It is a part with not much variation at all but Vikram conveys everything important about this character very quickly into the film and he is always arresting to behold. Abhishek finally is the film’s enigmatic and ultimate ‘signifier’. It is his world and his ‘order’ that Rathnam intends to explore. Dev’s ‘civilization’ is transported to his ‘anarchy’ by way of Ragini and the inversion begins. He is the center of Ragini’s fascination eventually, he is certainly at the heart of Dev’s obsession but he is also a character importantly in dialogue with himself on key occasions, a somewhat unhinged soul presumably offered by Rathnam as a byproduct result of Dev’s impulses. Ram in a sense begets Raavan. Abhishek in any case is perfectly attuned to all the cross-currents of this narrative. The actor reveals formidable range in his part but this is an ‘auteurist’ work not meant to be one where the actor can ‘take over’ Guru-like. In missing this point one risks missing an encounter with the film itself.

    And so one gets to the extended finale. A brilliantly executed fight on a bridge and the truly scintillating aftermath. Here Dev’s ambiguity is more truly revealed even as Beera is definitely humanized a great deal. One leaves the film moved by Raavan but in unease about Ram. The aftermath portions condense the film and there is not a hero and villain at the end of it, just two modes of violence, neither of which one can completely embrace, each of which one can empathize with in parts. Rathnam nonetheless is more invested in Beera, as is Ragini, as are we. Beera passes away with a certain ‘happy knowledge’ about Ragini and the audience is left wondering about what kind of a marital future she now has with Dev. Beera first emerges Nosferatu-like on a boat and finally falls with an inner peace into the abyss but also triumphant over Dev. Sita’s tale? Not really. But only she knows the truth of the Ramayana.. and there are some words she has never said..

    [couldn’t really incorporate this into the flow of the piece but the supporting cast is simply superb here in every single instance.. a treat to watch one and all.. and there are of course other aspects of the film that I might have occasion to discuss with others here in the comments…]

    • Sharmila,

      Thank you for the review. I am enjoying this movie more on the blog. Hope to see one of your own, if you are planning to see it.

      Regarding the review above:

      Raavan’s good qualities cannot be better depicted than what is described in Valmiki’s Ramayan, the original myth… he was a powerful King who could be brought down only by someone with divine powers…

      THe battle was not over a woman… in this case Ram’s wife… it was the fact that Raavan’s people (The Asura’s) occupied half the nation and were pushing on the borders of today’s Madhya Pradesh. Parashurama and Vishwamitra provided Ram with all the resources to defeat Raavan’s empire.

      Sita’s episode is a romanticsed version of poets and courtiers.

      The subversion or sedititious element is surely not in the choice of Raavan as a protagonist of a movie. It is as I quoted in my first comment from Tulsidas’ Ramayan. Let me state it again:

      मानी कुटिल कुभाग्य कुजाती | गुर कर द्रोह कराऊँ दिनु राती ||
      अति दयाल गुर स्वल्प न क्रोधा | पुनि पुनि मोहि सिखाव सुबोधा ||

      … For the proud, conspiring, ill-fated lower classes | I expressed my hate day-night ||
      … But my kind teacher was never angered | He kept teaching me good ethical morals ||

      The movie is made to please the lower classes (comparative term as opposed to ruling classes) or those who support their belief sets… since it is tied into religion, I wouldn’t use communist terms like bourgeois or proletariat…

      As for the plot and presentation I feel the review is more an engineered opinion than a techincal analysis.

      Raavan is not an architect… the scene of jumping off the cliff is the opening scene of Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead… I am sure neither Mani Ratnam nor the actors have claimed originality of the idea…

      On a closing note:

      I liked Khalid Mohammed’s reviews in the TOI earlier. He, for one, never flattered himself with the myopic idea that the movie was made only for him to give an opinion. Some reviewers become self-appointed opinion makers.

      The casual reader or the general masses know what they want to feel. Words may deceieve their aesthetic beliefs but not their cogniive abilities.

      🙂

      • Reader – I am planning to watch Raavanan first today and then Raavan tomorow. Re – the other points, will be back in a tick. I will update the blog first, middle of writing my post.

      • Reader – Your comment deals with multiple, fascinating and interesting scenarios. I like your totaly different take on this movie. Let me read Khalid’s take first and then respond.

      • Sharmila,

        I am already on your next page, the new post on Life, Less but Full… which is more fascinating for me.. I am no good at aesthetics of cinema… at least not good enough to do a Thomas Hardy…

        The Khalid Mohammed I am speaking about in the comment above was ten or more years ago… I am not sure he is still in circulation…

        And speaking for myself, these days, I often walk into a multi-plex and book into whichever movie seems good at that moment… very unbiased.. and entirely for personal relief…

        During college days, it was quite the opposite. I was obssessive in many ways… I have watched Deewar four straight shows on the same day… booked tickets at the Advance Booking counter in the morning.. watched the morning show at 0900 in the same theatre, (that was Devanand’s “Prem Pujari”), and then followed it up with Deewar at 1200, 1500, 1800 and 2100… and do you know that Amitabh’s character died at the end of the movie in all the four shows… 😦

        Now, that’s a fan over-the-edge… 🙂

  12. Salman Shahid Alvi Says:

    Hi di….hope you are doing well.I am very late to write something about this review.Haven’t seen Raavan yet but would love to whenever time permits.You must have seen it right?Would love to have your opinion about it because I know it would be an unbiased one.

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