Raavanan (Villain) Reviews
Directed by: Mani Ratnam
This movie was just spectacular...in a weird way. I don't know why but it had such a "weird" tone all throughout the film...it was in a happy/wild/sad type of tone.
Raavanan is the modernized re-telling of the Hindu God Raavanan's story, which I am not familiar with, as I am catholic but after viewing this film I became very familiar with the story. The story is about a forest-inhabited village and its folks living their lives with no fear and happily, but the village also contains many of India's most wanted terrorists, who are the leaders of the village. The terrorists capture the wife of a indian cop who lives outside in the city, and so the cop who seems to have a huge backstory with the main leader of the terrorists, Beera, goes on a manhunt with all of his forces into the forest to find his wife and also capture or kill the terrorists, mainly Veera.
This is the film I have been waiting for a smart, epic, and sad tamil film, as most tamil films that have come out this year have all been no brain action films. Mani Ratnam is one of my favourite tamil directors and this film seems to be one of his weaker films. I think they should have edited some of the slow parts more, as they seem to just go on and an talking about one thing. Also, the story seems a little muddled, as I had a hard time trying to understand all of the little back-stories.
The film contains alot of violence and gore, like in one scene where Veera captured his dead sisters husband who ran away, and so with anger for running away when his sister needed her husband the most, he cut off his hand and stiched him to a straw doll and hung him on a tree with his cut-off hand in the the other hand.
Despite all that the film's amazing camera work, beautiful and exotic locations, well done acting, breath-taking dance numbers, stunniing finaly and acadamy award winning A.Rahaman's score all make the film "spectacular".
entertainment value is bad. the final grade of the movie is C
After Ragini re-locates to a distant settlement called Lal Matti with her husband Dev, the head of the police, she becomes entangled in her husband's case to apprehend a bandit named Beera. In an attempt to seek revenge against the police, Beera kidnaps Ragini and intends to kill her. After seeing that Ragini is as fearless as he is, he keeps her in captivity, but releases any intention to kill her. Throughout the fourteen days that they are together the chemistry between the two characters boil just enough for the audience to understand and enjoy the presence of an underlying love between Beera and Ragini. As the passion subtly but powerfully buds, the plot becomes atypical to the original story when Ragini is finally simultaneously released by Beera and rescued by Dev. It is during these moments that the portrayal of Ravana (demon) and Ram (God) flip back and forth between Beera and Dev. The climax hits these points brilliantly.
Though the first half of the film was a bit slow, it establishes a strong foundation for the audience to better understand the chemistry of the ending. The beginning helped me define the characters in terms of good and evil, but as the story progressed, we felt Ragini's experience as the lines between Ram and Raavana blurred in and out between Beera and Dev.
(If this film would be recognized for anything, it would be for it's stunning sets, backgrounds, and overall visuals. Besides the setting, the camera work often caught the essence of the character. Examples at the top of my head: Provided she didn't have the longest dialogue, Aishwariya's eyes often expressed her character the most. Beera's reflection in the broken mirror in the camp was also a good visual.)
(Few songs were worth listening to, the others were useless and forced into the movie, often wasting time. Also, Mani Ratnam's attempt to dramatize Beera's evil presence by adding melodramatic clips of music was unnecessary; subtle, mild low undertones would have done better).
Honestly, I was disappointed by the camerawork of the movie. I was expecting to be blown away, but there were only some moments in scenes that were noteworthy. Otherwise the direction was average; I expected more precise angles that better captured a moment/symbolism better. (Example: when Ragini was injured on the tree branch looking at her reflection in the water we couldn't see Beera's reflection and his expression clearly. Obviously Rutnam intended for the scene to capture the two reflections in the water, but it didn't pull through).
Though the film had disappointing camerawork, editing and direction, its strong core of an adapted-original story and concept along with excellent, original visuals (in all aspects) makes it a movie worth watching at home and you are in a philosophical mood.
saw the tamil too. amazing performance by vikram. great movie. def a must watch.
In Hindi Abhishek Bachchan is Beera(Raavan) and Vikram plays the cop(Ram, from the epic Ramayan), but in Tamil, Vikram plays the role of Raavan and some other guy Prithvi plays cop.. When i watched in Hindi, i did not like it much.. Abhishek was good but hasn't done what Vikram has done in Tamil version.. The editing was not good in Hindi..
In India, we are used to watching movies with songs though they slow down the pace.. How could you make a movie from an epic by touching its root throughout the film? A modern re-telling of the epic, this has to be the way to make it..
Keep in mind this is the epic, otherwise you are not gonna like it and watch it in Tamil..
This is what often happens when a film-maker decides to take on a "bold" subject & then chickens out. It's a huge opportunity wasted.
It could've been an edgy, genuinely moving film about those whose stories are never told, in this case, India's disenfranchised tribals.
It could've been hugely entertaining, but what we have here is a mess made by a film-maker who can't decide whether he wants to be Kurosawa or a box-office magnet. Straddling the two has only given him a wedgie called, "Raavan".
The movie is neither good nor Bad as the character himself. Or It is Both Good and Bad as the character himself. When you don't expect anything in the movie, you can get all the things in the movie. This is because, this movie don't have the usual touch of "Mani Rathnam".
The planing of making the character complex and weird as the real Raavanan really worked, but up to a certain extent may be up till a certain scene.
The characters were really made neat and nice.
Vikram is perfect in his Character, "VEERA". Great hard works for the entire movie, haven't gone vain. The tough shots are really lovable and one of the greatest works of Indian Cinema.
The greatest disappointment is the editing is not so good. Most of the scenes seems to be incomplete and create questions, which normally don't have any answers in the movie. The place where we expect something strong, actually never comes.
So go for it and enjoy the scenes separately, But when u have it as a total movie, it disappoints.
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.
Whether the film is actually set in modern day India or not is not the only question one asks after watching the 2 and a half hour ode to India's most loved love story. So when a mysterious looking Beera (Bachchan), collides into an unsuspecting Ragini (Rai)'s canoe, one expects some scintillating drama to follow. Next, if you have a medley of independent scenes, describing the antics of the clay and mitti covered Beera, you feel a sense of excitement growing to see what happens next. Now, if you are a Mani Ratnam fan, it wouldn't be hard to believe that he chooses elaborate conversations to build up the drama. It worked before and it should have worked now. But still it doesn't, surprisingly.
"Raavan" stretches beyond acceptable limits to draw up suspense and drama. As a matter of fact, the awe-invoking scenes of a leading Hindi cinema heroine performing dare devil stunts, with wounds inflected all over her, fails to surprise you after the initial excitement dies down. So there is no emotional connect with Ragini Pratap as she tries to first fight and later re-consider her notions about the Indian Robin Hood, who doesn't hide his growing attraction towards her. So hereby begins the cat and mouse chase between the "good cop" Dev (Vikram) and his troop (Govinda, Dwivedi), and the anti-hero and his loyal sidekicks (Kissan, Gehi). Now how is that for an adapted screenplay?
"Raavan" plays out like an ongoing allegory executed to invoke awe and surprise, but written with minimal consideration of a stable narrative. The screenplay in the first half relies on separate scenes to take the story forward, which when put together makes no sense at all. In spite of all the confusion that prevails on screen, not even the most stoical of detractors would fail to notice the visual magnificence which single handedly makes the film watchable. Santosh Sivan's camera moves like a lucidly written poetry in motion while Shaad Ali's creative design would put even many Hollywood projects to shame. The shot of an unconscious Rai Bachchan spread across a creaking leafless tree is an impeccable example of flawless art direction.
After a long and uneventful first half, the second half, thankfully, brings two twists in the tale. Neither of them shocks you. Maybe it is for the simple fact that the first twist has nothing new to offer, while the second one doesn't connect emotionally. Or maybe, it is just a case of bad writing. Shocking to believe for a Mani Ratnam film, but true nevertheless. Rahman's music enchants and manages to draw attention from an audience involuntarily stifling a yawn. Beera Beera, Behnde de and Ranjha ranjha showcase the sheer talent of the winning combo of Rahman and Gulzar. Watch out for Rekha Bharadwaj's vocals in Ranjha ranjha, who delights considerably.
The translation of the Ramayana seems too literal at a certain point, when you feel that a checklist of sorts, in terms of characterization and dialogues has been made vis-à-vis the Hanuman-type forest ranger Sanjeevani (Govinda), who flies from tree to tree or the ill-fated Jamunia (Priyamani) a.k.a. Surpanaka. Vijay Krishna Acharya's dialogues make no sense at most times, while Abhishek Bachchan's clay covered face and the constant chik-chik-chik-chik surely ranks as the biggest turn off of "Raavan". Aishwarya Rai Bachchan impresses in most parts while Govinda and Ravi Kissan irritate. Vikram never looks comfortable speaking Hindi while Priyamani blows the screen apart in her cameo.
A famous filmmaker once remarked that if there is nothing good to talk about the movie, praise the technical aspects instead. Sadly, this holds true with this film. Watch it only if you want to watch the finest Indian sceneries shot breathtakingly. If not, Mani Ratnam's wide filmography has a wide array of brilliant films to choose from.
The movie is supposed to be loosely based on one chapter of the epic Ramayana. According to the epic, Raavan, a demon king abducts Sita, Ram's wife to avenge the humiliation of his sister at the hands of Ram's brother. Ram, with the aid of Hanuman, an ape god, rescues her from the demon. In legend, Ram asks his wife to take a test of purity to prove that she hasnt slept with or been raped by the demon in the 40 odds days that she is held captive. This epic is supposed to play off that legend and portray Raavan as a misunderstood character who is chivalrous towards his captive although essentially evil in the eyes of the law. He counters evil with evil, and is essence is a robin hood of the masses.
The story falls flat and is more of a blow by blow copy of the original with only the characters getting a very minimal reboot in attitude. The story telling is confused, starting with a voice over, skipping into sloppy 20 second flashbacks to give us the characters back story, and then into a rolling epic format with close ups, slo-mo, songs and fights.
The acting is sub par, with the abductor hamming it up and the abducted wife getting shrill and annoying in the first thirty seconds of their introduction. I would have shot here right there. The cop/god, is retributive and violent with a one track mind, has nothing much to do other than push his men into certain death and look cool in shades and slo-mo while doing so. The songs are badly choreographed, but good to listen to and the location and the camera work are absolutely breathtaking.
In short, it is a extremely well shot movie that is one of the worst adaptation/retelling in the history of the Ramayana, which is anywhere between 3000-1000 years old depending on whom you believe.