Thursday, June 24, 2010
It was one of those times I was thankful that I could comprehend two of the languages in which fine cinema is made. And yes, I was 'lucky' enough to catch both the vesions of the movie. So whats my verdict??
Raavan-Raavanan is not a movie- its a world*, an Utopian mirage which is closest to the Avatar' esque fancy world Indian cinema has ever seen. The visual bonanza coupled with breathtaking locales, stunning cinematography and directorial brilliance. When we came back seeing 'Avatar', we didnt quite think back about the storyline or the merit of the plot,instead we revelled at the sheer magnanimity of it all. If you are willing to give the same leeway for an Indian movie- Raavan is going to be an absolute treat for your senses.
Technical brilliance would be a moniker for this movie- every frame of it is a piece of art. The spectacular cinematography is overwhelming (in a good way of course) and art direction will take your breath away. A 360 degree boat crash scene, reel after reel of dramatic landscapes in all its stunning glory, a dynamite finale fight on a suspension bridge -- these are things you expect out of a Hollywood movie, and one of the very few times Bollywood tackled anything on this scale. And for this alone, the movie is worth a shot.
I shudder to think of the possibilities and dimension a different cast (based out of acting talent rather than star value) could have brought to this film. But I must say, its not as bad as I thought it would be. For many of us who have trekked and traipsed through a forest or similar terrain would know how demanding and wearsome it can be. And the cast and crew had done a lot more beyond the usual trek and tour. Hats off for just that physical effort!. Their hardwork is evident.
Vikram is definitely far ahead than his fellow cast, in both the roles. He embraces the role with grace and panache and goes beyond what he was told to do. He is Ram and Raavan at their best. Aiswarya Rai looks perfect for the part--her pale exiquisiteness against the dark emerald backdrop calls for brilliant visuals. Though she acts as if she is in advanced classes of theatre training. She tries to excel as much as she could under the gifted director (who is one of the few who could make her act) and I will have to say its one of her finest performances till date. Abhishek Bachchan does, what is probably the best he could muster. Its not acting genius, but its not bad either. But compared to Vikram's Raavanan, he is just a novice who got his lucky break. Raavan is his 'could-have-been' character, but now I guess he will just have to wait for his next big one. (He was doomed the day he decided to play the larger than life character which will 'also' be played by someone else who could set the bar really high).But the quiet show stealers of the day are Govinda, Ravikishen in Hindi and Karthik and Priyamani in Tamil. They sizzle the screen with a barely concealed spontaneity and elan. They bring life to the screen in an otherwise gloomy and dark 'atmosphere'.
And no movie is bigger than its vices-- and especially an overhyped one as this one. And for some, those were the unpardonable sin the director and his crew committed. But for a few like me, it reminds there could never be perfect cinema- you always aspire for the best in the next. Raavan is a slow paced movie so much so that people who dont enjoy the movie are in danger of falling asleep or walking out. But if you did love it from the first frame, then there is hope-- you will comprehend why it was so difficult for the Director to fast track it. Come on, you have those gorgeous locales, a hypnotic cast and a team of the best cinema-technocrats--Can you blame Mani for giving an overdose of everything? Raavan could have been much better if the scriptwriters paid a little more attention in detailing the intricacies of its central characters. What we get is a diluted version of what could have been the strongest characters ever penned in Indian movie history. However, if you could see above all those transgressions, Raavan-Raavanan is a potery in motion.
Do you love picture post cards? Do you believe in mythical worlds and dream of fogotten lands and sublime landscapes? If the answer is an emphatic yes, this movie is for you. For others, you will either love it or hate it and that will be apparent after the first five frames- and you have the choice of walking out.
Its like personality types-- Either you are a Raavan personality or not, as simple as that!.
* Only after I wrote that, I read somewhere the Director himself depicts it so.
Reviewgang posted this review here