By Saurin Parikh (Review Catalogue)
Alright, alright, I know you’ve already heard it from a million places: Raavan is bad. You’ve probably shelved your weekend plans to go watch it, and you’re right. I should’ve shelved mine too, but Aditya promised me a lifetime supply of beer (thankfully not Beera), and that was enough motivation to go watch it. Of course, the movie didn’t give me any motivation whatsoever to not fall asleep. (By the by, Raavan could be a cure for insomnia.)
Anyway, you know, it’s very easy to judge a movie, I use a simple benchmark. If I talk to and kid around with whoever I’ve gone to watch the movie with, then the movie ain’t good. I’m a very patient person, and if a movie can’t hold my attention, it’s not worth the ticket. Raavan isn’t.
As has been the trend in Bollywood, any movie that is hyped like crazy will bomb just as crazily. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: if Bollywood spent half as much time and energy on the storytelling as they do on publicizing, they wouldn’t even have to publicize. Good content will always win over ornamental hoopla; I wonder how many box office disasters it will take for Bollywood to come to terms with that.
Well, Raavan is bad. It’s like a blonde chick: pretty to look at, but shallow from inside. And coming from Mani Ratnam, it’s even more disappointed.
The story is pretty obvious: Beera, the modern-day Raavan, kidnaps a modern-day Sita, the wife of his enemy, Dev, the modern-day Ram, and ends up falling in love with her. This we know, what we do expect is a yeasty take on it. What we get is an annoyingly loud, boorish and boring movie. The proceedings fail to interest you; the film became so mundane that I had to take a loo break to ensure I didn’t go brain-dead.
The movie has been shot brilliantly though, the cinematography is simply awe-inspiring. The locales have been chosen well and they do give the film a fresh feel and look. However, unfortunately, watching the movie is so taxing that you can’t even enjoy the beautiful scenery. It is the storytelling that hurts the movie more than anything else.
Abhishek (as the villain) fails to inflict horror, Aishwarya (as the victim) fails to evoke sympathy and Vikram (as the hero) fails to inspire valiance. But Govinda (as the jester) does make you laugh, which is really a sad thing. I wonder why Aishwarya had to show cleavage in almost every scene. And why even the clichés of Bollywood stories are becoming clichéd.
After the interval, there is a short 10-15 minute period that does keep you hooked. This is the flashback which tells us why Beera is out to seek revenge. But unfortunately, this good part fails to translate into something better. For the rest of the movie, mediocrity takes the front seat.
Mani Ratnam deserves full marks for effort; he gets himself a very beautiful canvas. But alas, his painting leaves a lot to be desired. Raavan isn’t downright appalling, but it’s highly avoidable.