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Originally from India, Tamil-speaking Shekar Subramaniam lives a middle-classed life abroad along with his wife, Sonia, and a school-going son, Prateek. While Sonia is busy writing a book on converting all female-related expletives to male, her husband is employed with Barron Industries, where the owner insists his staff come up with a plan to launch the ultimate video game or else he will change his organization to a restaurant and hire them as waiters. Hoping to create a super-hero, Shekhar instead faces criticism from Prateek - who hopes to instead see a kick-ass villain. This conversation does change Shekhar's thinking and he sets about to create an indestructible villain, calls him Ra.one (pronounced as in Lankeshwar Ravan) and its arch-enemy G.One (Jeevan). Prateek will have to regret passing on this idea on to his father - for soon their lives will be shattered when the shape-shifting Ra.One will find a way to enter the real world, kill Shekhar, possess the body of the latter's... Written by
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Main to yahan sirf tumhain khatam karne aya hun. (RA. One I have just came here to finish you.)
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Ra.one is called the most 'ambitious' Indian superhero movie, with a budget exceeding Rs.100 crores, most of it from SRK's own bank accounts.
It is supposed to have harnessed advanced technology to give more punch to the action sequences. Hence, we have video game characters bursting to pieces that look like jelly-blocks and then joining back miraculously.But what about the emotions and the real world scenes in the movie where everyone seems to be 'acting'? Instead of the motto "Don't be caught acting", the saying "Yes, come watch us ACT" is followed by almost everyone. In simple terms, Ra.one is a pain in the bum.
SRK's south Indian character is a leading video game developer whose virtual-reality games are world renowned. He tries to impress his 'cool' son but is never able to gel along and therefore creates a game where the bad guy is extremely powerful and the good guy has 0.01% chances of winning. This brings him close to his son (what a materialistic kid) but problems arise when the video-game villain comes to life.
I am a big fan of video games, and am currently playing Uncharted 3. The most impressive aspect of the game is the cinematic approach to the game. Gaming industry has revolutionized. Unfortunately, Ra.one's video-game seems like one of the defunct late 80s games that lie dusty in some old cupboard.
The critical mistake committed here is lack of research which is a common one among many Indian film-makers. The opening scene has Shahana Goswami's character jabbering so seriously about the advancement in virtual-reality to a bunch of wayward foreigners in 'shuddha' Hindi. Why so serious, by the way? Then pops up an ugly image of Dalip Tahil with long black-white hair and a leonine face and Shahana tells that it's a virtual image that can be touched. Here, the 'intelligentsia' foreigners have to look astonished and hence the open mouths. I hate this 'group' acting where everyone has the same f****** reaction to some situation. A more realistic shot would be to have some people looking impressed, some making notes etc. Here instead, the foreigners try to 'touch' the virtual image like a bunch of impressionable kids.
The next shot has SRK mumbling nonsense while on a roaring bike on some alien planet trying to save Priyanka Chopra's character (promotion for 'Don 2', I suppose?) from the hands of Sanjay Dutt's evil character ('Agneepath's promotion, I think) and his three henchwomen'Iski Li' 'Uski Li' and 'Sabki Li'. I admire the level of humor in the film . (Please note the sarcasm). It all turns out to be a silly dream of Amaan Khan's character (who plays SRK's 'cool' son), another one in the list of snotty teenagers, who too seems to have the perspicacity in the field of computers, which leads to one of the most tiresome scenes in film history- a teacher's pole dancing video is seen by the whole class. Now the scene could have been funny if the teacher had actually danced properly but she seems to have danced keeping in mind that the video was meant for kids. So there's an unnatural feeling when she taps her bum completely the wrong way. Anubhav Sinha, the director-watch stripper videos and then hire the right actors.
SRK's south Indian character is probably the worst characterization ever- no genuine acting, just a clichéd performance for the cameras. Kareena brings her Jab We Met act and makes an unappetizing broth out of it with her double meaning dialogues. The noodle with dahi scene is just gross and dumb, so is the Michael Jackson dance sequence. And to believe this guy is a leading video-game developer, that too internationally renowned, is implausible.
When the game is made, the intimidating baddie seems menacing but only when he is in the game. The moment he leaps out, he is the poor beta version of Green Goblin. Then comes the tears, with the apt music behind to tug the heart-strings of the gullible ones who are more influenced by external factors than the actual progression of the story. I didn't cry, I laughed; I could clearly make out the ploy used by the film-makers- use music to bring out emotions when the characters don't incite any.
Then comes G.one who is the avenger, and let me note the painstaking attempts by Shah Rukh to look young. It a pity most of the leading men here try to look like college guys to play young characters when they very well can take some advantage of their age and do some better, deeper and layered roles. But NO, here everyone has to look young and pretty and act young and pretty, forget maturity.
The train sequence is even more intolerable with Delnaz Paul (I hope the name is correct) who adds to the saccharinity of the movie. Then the Silver Streak inspired end to the train sequence is absolutely bananas! The action sequences have too many close-up shots and I found the tempo of the fights to be quite slow and turgid. Rather than utilizing the technology resourcefully, it is exploited to impress. I remember the GREAT Spiderman 2 train sequence where the passengers agree to keep Peter Parker's identity a secret after he saves them. Here, I wanted the passengers to perish, along with G.one and that Kereena thing.
The homage to Robot and the street fights are over-excessive to the point where I lost any interest in the film and began paying undue attention to the lighting system in the theater and all those curtains and projectors and sound systems. Unendurable was the scene where Kareena gets possessed and does the Chammak Chalo dance. Pauline Kael had said regarding Sound of Music "It's a sugar coated lie people seem to want to eat". I say this for Ra.one- its candy-floss, overcooked rubbish that'll smash box office records.
My Rating: 2/10
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