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Ragini re-locates to distant Lal Matti along with her Superintendent of Police husband, Dev Pratap Sharma, in order to enable him to apprehend a bandit, Beera Munda. Shortly thereafter her life will be turned upside down when she will be abducted by Beera and held captive. It is during this captivity she will not only find out that her fate will be decided within 14 hours, but also the real reason behind her abduction. Written by
Here is where the creatures of the dark dwell; where fear creeps through the shadows of the foliage, the sounds of life buzz through the night and cascading waterfalls provide the spectacular backdrop for the damsel in distress..... the one who is taken hostage by the merciless evil who will stop at nothing to unleash terror. Then, there is the hero who will stop at nothing to release his love from the clutches of evil. The duel is engaging, exciting, thrilling and gruesome and if that is what you're looking for, then watch RamGopal Verma's 'JUNGLE' .... not 'Raavan'.
When Mani Ratnam decides to create a world of a demon God in a movie, the expectations are obviously high. One: because he is Mani Ratnam, two: because some of the actors claimed it to be their best work and three: it was supposed to draw inspirations from the epic Ramayana. We saw the Mahabharata unfold in today's political backdrop in Raajneeti with some remarkable execution but such is not the case with 'Raavan'. Let alone the Ramayana, the film is not even a worthy copy of Jungle! All elements of thrill, intensity, evil, shock, suspense and terror are completely missing in 'Raavan'. The formidable Raakshas was a powerful character who excelled in what he did and the terror he unleashed was unfathomable but Beera's character is more like a maniac who has followers for some inexplicable reason. Neither is he terrifying in appearance nor are his tactics menacing and moreover, he is out to seek revenge for what his sister went through. The biggest problem with Beera's character is that he is driven by this vengeance. That is clearly not the purest form of evil unlike the real Raavan, Durga (Jungle) or Raaghvan (Aks). The sister's incident warrants our sympathy for this villain and to an extent, our support in his endeavour. How can one feel terrorized in that case? Mani Ratnam's entire premise of evil thus tends to be fallacious. If that wasn't enough, we have to evaluate how genuine Ram's (Dev) character is since he cares less about his Sita (Ragini) and more about capturing Beera. Sheer lack of consistency in plot results in the actors being confused about their unwritten roles, song sequences acting as fillers in screenplay, predictability of sequences and the boredom of audience.
Santosh Sivan is perhaps the only reason one can withstand Raavan. His cinematography of the spell-binding locations, is exemplary! So are the sequences where every character is captured in brilliant light, shadow and close ups. AR Rahman's music, though not his best, captures attention with the upbeat Beera included in the titles and Behne De - the current epitome of Gulzar, Rahman and Santosh Sivan's work combined. Whereas, Thok di khilli will be remembered more for Abhishek's inability to dance, Kata Kata bakra as the unnecessary filler in a digressed story and Ranjha Ranjha and Khili Re wandering in the background as the story sets into flashback mode at different points. Thus, the numerous songs become a misfit in a demonic thriller and in the absence of merciless editing, they only tend to prolong the unease while watching.
Vikram could've had a juicier role and that perhaps was the let down with his character. His performance too, lacked variety in expression. Govinda was a delight to watch in the role of Hanuman but his character was nothing like the Ape God. Although he provides comic relief and whatever sanity there was, he has a screen presence of less than 9 minutes which is simply not enough. Ravi Kishan as Beera's brother was very convincing in his role and was very expressive in almost every given scenario. Aishwarya Rai was just disappointing. All the yelling, shrieking, artificial tears (red eyed), irrational behavior and the profound obtuseness of her character downplayed all that she was otherwise capable of. Abhishek Bachchan has done much better in his previous ventures with Mani Ratnam and here, he is nothing more than an actor left by himself to do whatever he can with some ugly make up and the jungle around him. Where is the 'Raakshas' in his portrayal of Raavan? Why the eccentric behavior and straight face in seriousness? And why the sheer inability to perform a simple dance? Although the character was vague and incomplete, Abhishek, this time was a total disappointment with whatever he had. He seemed too casual in his approach in critical scenes. What is it that they say...... he just couldn't get 'into the character'.
When the age has come for innovation, change, and novelty, Mani Ratnam fails to live up to expectations. The script, screenplay, characterization, plot, performances and direction were all flawed and these factors could've been taken with a pinch of salt from another film maker but not The Mani Ratnam. Watch 'Raavan' only if it airs on Television..... you will need the breaks.
6.56 on a scale of 1-10.
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