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25 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

First part of Mani Ratnam's political trilogy

8/10
Author: hprill from Austria
12 April 2004

This is the first movie of what was to become director Mani Ratnam's "political trilogy" ("Bombay" and "Dil Se" being the movies to follow). While not quite as accomplished as the later movies, he develops a very simple story of a young married couple, the subsequent kidnapping of the husband and the wife's attempts to persuade the authorities to help free him into a well-rounded movie that works on almost all levels that it encompasses:

The love relationship between the two main characters is credible and well-handled; the struggle of the individual citizen vs. government authorities and individual desires vs. the larger scale of politics is dealt with intensely (the scene where the Colonel tells Roja that "everyone is happy" is simply chilling), and even the interplay of the kidnapped and the terrorists works out really well, even if it seems sometimes that Rishi Kumar was lucky ending up with these rather than more ruthless people.

The only problem that I have with this movie are a small handful of scenes in which Indian patriotism is showcased in what I felt was a rather blunt manner (but then, coming from a different country, I may lack some essential cultural background to understand it).

Apart from this one quibble I think it's a good movie that you should really see, especially I've you've seen Mani Ratnam's other films. Acting is solid, especially from Pankaj Kapoor as the terrorist leader, but also from Arvind Swamy as Rishi (except perhaps when he goes into patriotic overdrive). Also on-screen chemistry between Arvind and Madhoo is fabulous. The music is an early, often charming ("Dil hai chhota sa") score by A. R. Rahman.

Watch it.

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Very touching movie with great scenery and good characters

10/10
Author: Maarten Hofman from Rochester, NY, USA
8 March 1999

For once it is reasonably clear why the heroine falls in love with the hero, and also the motivation of the hero, even if it is unlikely, is well presented. This was one of the few movies that actually made me cry, and its images of Kashmir are beautiful.

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Well-made film: A turning point in Indian Cinema

Author: Neelakantan Sharma from Paris, France
1 July 1999

Roja is a film that many feel has been a turning point in Indian cinema. The North, that usually gets all the media hype & coverage in spite of poor techniques and stories got a slap on its face when this Tamil movie was dubbed in Hindi, to enable the larger population to watch this film with a topical theme (of Kashmiri militancy). Movies from the South have always been better in content and form compared to the North. And this movie created that awareness amongst the public there, and its success encouraged many other films to be dubbed in Hindi.

And many a star was born:

1. Mani Ratnam (who had given better films like Mouna Ragam, Nayakan, Geetanjali and Anjali before)

2. A R Rahman aka Dileep Shekar: The man who brought in the New Sound to the Indian film music (lest they forget Music Maestro Ilayaraja's genius, with whom he was a lead keyboard player once) and threat to the copycats of yore: The Annu Maliks and the Anand Milinds

3. Santosh Sivan: The cinematographer, now-turned director

4. Arvind Swamy: The chubby-cheeked fair-skinned hero who appealed to the color-conscious Northies. And his patriotic fervour was well lapped up.

5. Madhoo: The ugly duckling as she was presented in her debut movie was transformed into a lovely and believable Roja- a village belle in awe of the city life and courageous when her life becomes hell with her husband's abduction.

What was interestingly presented in the Tamil Original (but lost completely in the Hindi version, as every character speaks Hindi) was the language problem she faces in the North.

I watched the film thrice.

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant content ,Brilliant Score and Brilliant Direction

10/10
Author: ramsri81 from India
27 April 2007

Seen it ages ago ,still the memories stay as fresh as seen the first time. The deep struggles endured against militants who are humans also are brilliantly depicted in the movie. Well in the original language of the movie the scenes of village girl trying to cope up with the big city and north Indian culture are very vividly depicted by Mani(lost in translation in other languages). With a crew of supremely talented technicians and back ground staff Mani brings us another classic. He should also be credited for getting the best tunes of a innocently brilliant music genius. They just don't make music like those anymore. Personal Rating 10/10. I would prefer him to direct a movie remake of "THE TENANT" (original by Polanski)

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15 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Roja Roja Roja Roja Roja........loves Mani Ratnam

9/10
Author: varuna12 from United Kingdom
13 June 2005

What a movie!!!! This is one movie that i can watch again and again. It was like a breath of fresh air in the stinking stench of typical Hindi movies. This movie gave me hope that Indians too can make decent movies!! But honestly, this movie was much much better then just DECENT!!! I love this movie. I love the guy's passion when he is trying to save the flag from fire!!! What a scene yaar!!!! forget that ..........i say what a movie yaar!!!!!!!!

Everyone who loves cinema and is a movie buff, should definitely have ROJA DVD in their collection! If they don't then they are liars and they don't love cinema and movies!!!!!!

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Wow

10/10
Author: rizact from United States
5 August 2006

This movie gets a 10/10 simply because of its uniqueness but that does not mean that it is not without flaws. I'll get to that later. The terrorism component has been shown very disturbingly. The big flaw I feel is that which the director discovered but failed to exploit fully. I'm talking about the language barriers between the north and south and how frustrating it can be especially in the light of a tragedy. Well he might have actually done more than I can remember because I saw this movie more than a decade ago. The most important thing about this movie that it was AR Rehman's débutant music score, before which he was just doing just music for advertisements. Well done Mani Ratnam for exploiting AR Rehman fully.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

mild romance in the backdrop of terrorism

10/10
Author: Aravind Babu
23 July 2000

The threat of terrorists in India meshed with mild romance is the summary of this movie. Roja(the rose) the heroine is an innocent girl whose newly wed husband gets kidnapped by Pakistani terrorists. The story revolves around how she runs from pillar to post to get her husband freed. The movie is quite intense in the later parts.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One of Mani Rathnam's greatest movies

10/10
Author: rathnam1992
22 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a Background, this is the first time, we have seen Mani Rathnam write and direct a movie, that involves the conflict of terrorism and more of a global movie (concerning India) rather than Tamil Nadu. When I first saw this movie, I was moved in tears by the story, direction and music. This is by far the best directed movie I have seen by Mani Rathnam (even better than Iruvar), mostly because the story flowed so smoothly and the subtle details that were present, especially when Rishi Kumar (Arvind Swamy) was kidnapped.

So to start of with the plot, the story revolves around Rishi Kumar and Roja (Madhoo), who get married in the beginning after many hurdles faced by both of them. Rishi Kumar originally was supposed to marry Roja's sister, but after Roja's sister confessed to Rishi Kumar, that she is in love with someone else, but cannot marry him now, due conflicts between their families. Rishi, then takes the blame for not marrying her, by saying he was in love with her younger sister, Roja. Due to the fact, that Rishi Kumar is well educated, handsome, and holds a good job, they were unwilling to refuse to Rishi Kumar's request, and Roja ends up marrying Rishi Kumar, and her older sister marries the person she loves. Due to Rishi Kumar's rejection of Roja's sister, she resents Rishi Kumar, until he tells her about why he chose to not marry her. After realizing her sister was happy with her husband, she begins to fall in love with Rishi Kumar.

Due to the illness of Rishi's boss, Rishi had to take a special project in Kashmir, where he as a cytologist, had a special task of cracking codes from the enemies. Due to the insistence of Roja, Rishi takes Roja with him, to Kashmir. Due to the high profile security around both Rishi and his wife, the terrorist who are demanding freedom for Kashmir, uses this as an opportunity and kidnaps Rishi Kumar, and asks the government to release a terrorist leader, who has killed many, Wasim Khan. Due to the nature of the situation, the government refused to release Wasim Khan for Rishi Kumar. This leads Roja, to plead with the police and the heads of government, to do anything to free her husband. From the pleading of Roja, the government finally allows Wasim Khan to be released, for Rishi Kumar, to the disappointment of head police chief (Nasser), who worked hard to imprison Wasim Khan. Finally in the end, when the exchange was supposed to take place between Wasim Khan and Rishi Kumar, the terrorist just give them clothes of Rishi Kumar, and Wasim Khan was immediately taken back, since the terrorist didn't keep up with their end of the deal. In the end, we realize that the terrorist couldn't hand over Rishi Kumar, since he escaped, and Rishi Kumar faces off with the head terrorist (Pankaj Kapoor), who after many conversations with Rishi Kumar, changed him as a person, and lets him go. The film ends with Rishi Kumar and Madhoo, reuniting at the end.

The greatness of this movie is the direction of Mani Rathnam and music by A.R. Rahman. This is by far the best music produced by A.R. Rahman, and from Roja to Slumdog Millionaire, I would say his debut film, Roja, was the best movie, he has made music for. The most moving moments in the movie, are scenes after Rishi Kumar gets kidnapped. When Pankaj Kapoor, tries to make him plead for release of Wasim Khan on a recorder, He refuses and says "Jai Hind" and every time he says it, he gets beaten by his guards, until finally they point the gun at him to shoot, and he continues to say "Jai Hind", at which moment, Wasim Khan stops them from shooting him. Another good moments from the movie, is the interaction between Roja and the police chief (Nasser), where the police chief doesn't believe that Wasim Khan should be released for a normal citizen like Rishi Kumar, and he should risk his life for the country. To which Roja, asks if he would say the same, if it was the son of the prime minister, or anyone related to someone in power. Also when Roja, confronts Wasim Khan in jail, and asks him why he is trying to kill someone who is innocent, for his personal gain. And further asks him why he doesn't just go to Pakistan, if he does not like India, and stop killing innocent civilians like her husband. The best moment in the movie I believe is the moment, when one of the terrorist guard informs (Pankaj Kapoor) that they have refused to release Wasim Khan, and for the bad news he takes out the flag, and tries to burn it. Rishi Kumar reacts to this by forcefully breaking the window, and jumping over the flag, to extinguish the fire. And he tries to fight off the guards, and finally gets restrained by them. The background music for this scene was well done, and the camera work, where one cannot see the flag, until he burns it, was very well done by Mani Rathnam. Overall the plot, direction, music, make this one of the finest Tamil movies ever taken. The acting by Arvind Swamy and Madhoo was excellent. Overall this is a great movie, especially if you enjoy patriotic movies, like Border, Kargil etc.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Excellent movie, beautiful locations and songs

10/10
Author: Satya K
28 November 1998

I saw this movie 3 times.. lovely songs and locations. The story line is too good..

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Mani Ratnam at his best!

9/10
Author: Tejas Nair from Economic Capital Of India
2 December 2012

I watched this almost after 20 years of its initial release and I regret it that I watched it so late.

This is a masterpiece where terrorism is chosen as a topic and mixed up with a romantic drama. A political essence just adds to its panache.

Not only directing, the actors have done equally well. Not to mention A R Rahman, the stalwart initiating his glorious career and going on winning two Oscars. Now I know why he deserved that! :D

The plot is so cool that it binds perfectly with the realism that our world is experiencing right now (2012)

A must watch for everyone!

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