Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raavan or Ravanan Movie - Review

Buk Buk Buk Buk..dandanaka dandanka dandanaka!
Oops..sorry! I'm so captivated by the dialogs like the one above that I forgot to start the review. Lets start with the cast.
Vikram (Veera) - Made immortal by the above dialog. Wears designer vests made by Adidas or Choromozone. Knows tamil poetry. Scheduled tribe in the remote hamlet in tirunelveli. Mother tongue - A tribal language that they dont use often. Bad guy who is actualy good. But mostly does bad things till the end.
Prithvi (Dev) - Aishwarya Rai's husbandu. He is a SP and so by that definition wears jeans, full-hand indigo nation casual shirt and white round neck t shirt. Wears Rayban. Good guy who is actually bad. Does good things mostly but for the end.
Kuruvamma (Aishwarya Rai) - She has a more modern name (Ragini). Vikram calls her kuruvamma. She is the good looking wife of Prithvi. Struggles to establish the goodness due to ageing face. Shows ample cleavage to distract that fact. Maniratnam heroine and by that definition wears red/crimson/yello/green colored designer churidhars or sarees. In her spare time she teaches bharatanatyam to kids from the "Indra" movie. Anu hassan would have fit this role well, but for her ginormous size these days. Aish has trimmed her nose hair perfectly. Need to check which remover she uses. Vikram needs it. Ah! I found some perfection in this movie!
Forest Ranger (Navarasa Nayagan Karthik) - Plays the hanuman character. Established by wearing monkey kullah all through the movie. Re-establishes by jumping all around in the intro scene. Speaks incoherently as always. Behaves crankily. Sad comeback film to have opted for!
Elder Brother to Vikram (Prabhu) - Same scheduled tribe gang leader. But wears denim shirts (XXXL) and timberland outdoor work shoes. Does not know poetry like Vikram. Speaks the better version of fake tirunelveli accent.
Vennila (Priyamani) - Sister of Prabhu and Vikram. Comes, speaks urban tamil one-liners like a maniratnam heroine though a part of the tribe. Dies in a few minutes after some adiga prasangi dialogs. I suspect she was killed for it as against the make-believe suicide the screenplay shows.
Prabhu's wife (Ranjitha - Nithyananda Fame) - No special need that she fulfills, except for the front benchers who were very amuzed by her comic presence in a commercial movie. She is an "art movie" specialist "apparently"!
Then there is a eunuch comedienne character played by that silly comedy fellow - Vyapuri.
The story:
Vikram's a bad guy and his people are bad (we dont know why. Maniratnam says so and we believe). In one of the songs, Vikram bats for the rights of the tribals on the lands they live in. May be on the day of that shoot, there was some naxal headlines in the newspaper and Mani did not want to miss a topical idea. The next day there could have been a kidnap news. So he makes Vikram finish the song and kidnap Prithvi's wife to take revenge for the death of his sister who was raped by police men. Not sure if Prithvi was also a gang raper. But since he is Rama's reincarnation we dont believe so.
Prithvi searches for Aish in the rain forest, water, village etc. They search for 14 days and not a day more or day less, as ramayan has 14 years of vanvaas. No other reason! Vikram in the meantime likes Aish very much (because?). But in climax he lets her go. Prithvi doubts if Aish slept with Vikram. At this point I wished Aish jumps down the train that they were in and lands in an underground sewerage drain (like Sita did in her day and age). Nothing like that happens, disappointing the viewer in what is otherwise a meticulous and utterly intelligent script that does complete justice to the Ramayana epic.
By this time, you have realized that the story dint matter even to maniratnam or the actors.
Lets come to the dialogs which are done by Suhasini. She runs a movie review show in some tam channel. I hope she takes moral responsibility and shuts that show down.
Some dialogs that are novel or shocking:
- Bak bak bak bak..danda nakka..brrrriiii(Vikram makes this sound after every third dialog)
- Vikram first conversation with Aish is a pleasant exchange of sanga tamizh poems whose meaning not one soul in the theatre understood (Congrats Suhasini for the dialog coup)
- In the climax when Prithvi escapes death and nervously kissed aish (after all kissing aish is a big deal and his nervousness shows in the movie). Enter the dialog from aish "Padhinaalu naal acha..neenga padhinaalu nimishathla vanduruveenga nu nenechen..vanga veetuku polam" (Did you need 14 days...I thought you would come in 14 minutes..okay lets go home)..Gosh, was she kidnapped? Did he defy death? Or did she just go for a visit to the gynec and he came in late to pick her back to home, on his way back from office?
- Aish to Vikram :En uyire edukka onaku yaar urimai kudithirkaa? (Subramaniam swamy can write better tamil dialogs than this)
So whats good about the movie?
Music is decent, though at some point you feel that a very alien islamic tinge seeps in. We dont care as this is the least glaring of the gaffes in the movie.
Cinematography is spectacular and truely world class. I never knew there was so much woods to explore in my backyard (tirunelveli). Lets forget the shoddy graphics gig in the climax.
Props - OMG..amazing..heck who cares if brown and green colored translucent stones neednt be there in the middle of the forest where Aish is held captive? As long as its good, it has to be in the screen. The beautiful lamp in the boat! Wow what screen presence it adds in spite of its utterly useless or unnatural existence! How about those artistically woven cane compound walls in adivasi village. It does look a bit gautier merchandise like.Heck adds to the screen presence.
If you remember the narayana idol that acted in Dasavatharam movie, the same idol has acted in this movie also. Agarwal movers and packers have moved it to the tribal hamlet's water falls so that Aish can take all the effort to go there to pray for her release (instead of spending the same time to find an exit route)
Go for the movie for sure -
Good locales (if you dont get Nat Geo in your TV)
Good Props (if you dont get travel and living channel)
Good music (if you cannot download it online)
Good looking aishwarya rai in some parts (if you dont have jeans movie in your DVD collection)
PS: Technically, I did not pay to watch it! My mom who paid for it, liked the movie for some strange reason. So it looks like if you try hard, you might even like it.
PPS: I am waiting for the hindi movie review from the blogosphere. It must be fun to read how Abhishek played Vikram's role.. There is quite a bit of mandham-ness he needs to overcome!

12 of my fans were here!:

Revs on 7:31 AM said...

Good review. Am i glad i didnt watch the movie! P and K's review after watching the movie was a very eloquent "ayyo ayyo ayyo ayyo ayyo" :P

//Props - OMG..amazing..heck who cares if brown and green colored translucent stones neednt be there in the middle of the forest where Aish is held captive

This part reminds me of a line in Rangan's review of the movie

"But take this other shot, of Ragini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), who’s been kidnapped by Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) and who screams for help from the edge of a lake whose shore is littered with gleaming shards of black rock. Instead of responding to her distress, you’re wondering how a similar tile-design would look in your living room. The image is so shabby-chic, it looks like the jungle as imagined by an interior decorator."

Ashwin on 8:39 AM said...

@ revs

Long time no see here!

Ayyo Ayyo Ayyo Ayyo seems to capture the pheeling of the viewer better..

What I dont get is why did mani ratnam have a heart attack while making this movie?

padmaja on 12:21 AM said...

i'm sharing this on my fb!

Ashwin on 12:34 AM said...

@ padmaja


All I can hope for now is the magnanimity from Madras talkies in not suing me!

Pushpa said...


I'm a first time visitor to your blog, got here via Padmaja's link on FB. Very, very funny and apt review of Raavanan. You do have a nice style of writing.


Ashwin on 7:20 AM said...

@ Pushpa

Thanks for coming by and thanks for the compliment!

May Padmaja and Facebook live long..!

randomchutney on 11:01 AM said...

very well written, funny and spot on...
If you hoped (like me) Mani Ratnam would improve on his film making, move away from usual stereotypes, and be bold enough to challenge ingrained stereotypes, forget all about it when it comes to Ravan(an)!

In his lately well-established trend, he chooses not 1 but 2 well-known stories and fuses them for his storyline! The film is thus a peculiar tale of Ramayan(a) meets Veerappan and the utterly unoriginal plot and role portrayals flit from one story to the other.

Combine this with 'tableau' like scenes, ultra theatrical unconvincing dialogues, 2 dimensional uninspiring characters, cringe worthy acting and ill timed comedy for the most part, and unremarkable music.

There is some obvious symbolism of characters (Karthik / Govinda as Hanuman, ‘Veera’s 2 brothers for ‘large’ Kumbakaran(a) and ‘wise’ Vibheeshan(a)), scenes (array of stones where Ragini calls out to her husband akin to bridge built by Ram(a) to reach Lanka), dialogue references (number 14 depicting Ram(a)’s banished years in the forest) and colours (ill-reputed black for ‘Veera’ and auspicious white / yellow / red for ‘Ragini’).

The only redeeming features were the beautiful scenery of Kerala and Aishwarya's costumes!

What a disaster! He couldn't have done worse if he'd tried...

Ashwin on 6:42 PM said...

@ randomchutney

I think the time is ripe for someone to create a "maniratnam plot generator" tool. He is so fixated with his (ill-convceived) template that film after film its been a colassal waste of viewer's money.

I wrote similar review for Guru and one on maniratnam movies in general (2-4 years back). If I read it again, nothing has changed.

And hey..thanks for coming over!

JoshiMukard on 4:40 AM said...

thanks for the review. I will not go anywhere near a movie hall that shows this one.

I loved your rajini bit...I think if Mani had used Ranjini more extensively (a bit of art included), the movie could have attracted more audience...a sheer waste of Ranjini's fame...

Ashwin on 6:05 AM said...

@ Mukard: You mean Ranjitha? No I have different plans for her..Start a show in Indian telly like Grey's anatomy and give a ranjitha spin to it.

Anonymous said...

Awesome review

Anonymous said...

I saw the hindi version.. as expected abhishek maintains his mandhamness!!! :)


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