Raavanan Movie Review
A movie which was in the making for close to two years has finally seen the light of the day. The eager fans who were waiting to have a glimpse of the exploits of their favorite stars acting in a Mani Ratnam film have finally got their money’s worth. On the flip side if a question has to be asked whether the movie has satisfied all viewers expectations, the answer is on the negative. The movie has myriad positives but in a nutshell the negative aspect is that the director has not presented everything on a platter and instead he has assumed that the audience would understand the intricate storyline and this idea has to an extent backfired.
The movie starts at a rapid pace which is not the case with most movies where the characters get ample time to establish themselves. The beginning is just too fast that the audience sometimes get confused on what is the need for such a happening to take place. Though to begin with there are few scenes that dwell into the background of the kidnapping its only in the latter half when the reason for Veeraiya’s actions gets unveiled the audience get satisfied.
The film looks beautiful throughout and thanks to the picturesque locales selected by Mani Ratnam and also to the cinematographers V Manikandan (Who quit mid-way citing delay in completion) and Santosh Sivan (who completed the remaining portions) have done a fabulous job in capturing the beauty of mother nature splendidly.
Veeraiya a.k.a Veera (Vikram) literally rules the forest assisted by his brother Singarasu (Prabhu). The new police officer in-charge Dev Prakash (Prithviraj) has his hands full when he understands the threat Veeraiya poses to law and order in the region. Dev starts to narrow down on Veeraiya which lead to certain unpleasant happenings (a brief flashback unfolds in the second half) which irks the latter and he reacts by kidnapping Ragini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) wife of Dev and all this happens in the first few minutes into the movie.
Dev then ventures into the forest assisted by the forest guard Gnanaprakasam (Karthik) and what follows is a fearsome battle between the two. In the end its always the hero that wins over the villain but the difference here is the method handled by Dev to accomplish the task which is quite surprising.
The movie puts across the message that there is always good amongst evil and vice-versa. This bi-lingual film (Plus a dubbed Telugu version from Tamil) should have been the most difficult film for the actors for a reason that almost the entire film is shot in the forests and for Vikram and Aishwarya Rai it would have been even more challenging to do the Hindi and Tamil versions back to back. Vikram who plays the role of Dev in Hindi has to make the transition to Veera in Tamil and to be true to the actor he has done both the roles with aplomb.
Prithviraj as the cool Dev is good but there are minor niggles in his body language which should have been taken care of. In fact the arrogance and revenge seeking Dev is hardly noticed in his actions and he has not completely come out of his chocolate boy image.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan carries her role with grace and maturity that can be hardly matched by any other actress in the recent pool of talent available in Tamil cinema. In the scenes which were physically challenging to perform she has come out with flying colors. Prior to the release of the film there were reports indicating that she would dub in Tamil but one wonders what went wrong here as in the movie Rohini has dubbed for her.
Prabhu is once again at his best providing the right dose of comedy. Karthik in the role of a forest guard is a trifle disappointing as he has acted in most scenes without any conviction. Priyamani in the role of Vennila (Veera’s sister) has once again proved her versatility though her screen space is very limited.
There are host of co-stars who come in supporting roles and worthy of mention in them is Vyapuri who comes as an eunuch. Ranjitha who makes a brief appearance on screen after a long hiatus gets lots of cheers from the audience thanks to her off screen controversies.
A R Rahman who has created waves with the songs have once again proven his mettle in the background score. Art director Sameer Chanda has done his part to infuse more life into the vibrant forest locales. Dialogues are by Suhasini Mani Ratnam and editing is handled by Sreekar Prasad.
Mani Ratnam who had set high standards for himself has strived hard to maintain the balance but considering the audience expectations he could have been more explicit in certain important scenes. One such scene is that when Aishwarya prays to god that she be bestowed with mental strength to fight where she actually meant the strength for not to fall for Veera but some take it as the strength to survive the ordeal. Screenplay is racy in the first half but the second half lags a bit.
It is not fair to compare this movie to the epic Ramayana as it is on a totally different mould all together. The movie has a running time of 2hrs and 10mins and released with over 2200 prints worldwide (All three languages).
“Raavanan” a typical Mani Ratnam film.
Trailer of Raavanan:
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