The “ten-headed freak” has finally surged into the town after the copious amount of hype surrounding him. But, will the Tamil “Raavanan” succeed in conquering the box office?
Mani Ratnam comes up with yet another modern day adaptation of an Indian epic after Rajnikanth's “Dalapati” which was apparently a Mahabharata rip off. This time it's the Ramayana. Each character of Mani's can be co-related with that of Valmiki's and Mani has succeeded in getting his casting bang on target. Vikram as the monstrous Veeraiah (Raavanan) proves his acting genius yet again. He comes around as a true performer. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, as the charming Ragini (Sita) mesmerises you with her pristine beauty. At times, it even overshadows her remarkable performance. And the handsome Prithviraj with a well-toned physique fits in well into the role of the shrewd Police Officer Dev (Lord Rama). He succeeds in exhibiting the shades of grey in his character with ease.
It is good to see veterans like Karthik and Prabhu back in action. Though they've got their yesteryear brilliance still intact, they go overboard at times. Especially Karthik, as the forest guard (a caricature of Hanuman) could have been more subtle. Mani has managed to effectively incorporate even the smallest but crucial characters from the ancient epic into his plot namely those of Soorpanaka (Priyamani), Vibeeshanan (Munna), Lakshmanan (Hemanth).
But it is the cinematography which elevates this movie to a different level. Whether it is the introduction to Veera, or the picturisation of the Usurey Poguthey number, the lens of Santhosh Sivan and Manikandan literally teleport us to the jungle realm. The picturesque water-falls, deep gorges and the dense flora leave the audience dumb-struck. Samir Chanda has to be commended for his captivating art-work. Some of the daredevil stunts performed by the lead characters are amazing. Especially the duel between Veera and Dev on the hanging bridge sums up to a nail-biting climax. A.R. Rahman comes up with yet another immortal piece of work for Mani. His jungle beats, melancholic howls, and the chartbuster songs are in unison with the movie's feel.
Despite its technical brilliance, dependable star-cast and world-class music, “Raavanan” proves to be “a film by Mani Ratnam” sans Mani's magic. The lack of depth in the characterisation and obscurity in the Veera-Ragini relationship prove to be a major drawback. Suhasini's dialogues could have been more appealing. Mani's yesteryear classics such as “Dalapati”, “Nayakan” and “Guru” had those magical moments which made those movies immortal. Unfortunately, such moments are nowhere to be seen in “Raavanan”. Mani misses the trick this time around. Watch it for Vikram's acting genius, Rahman's musical wizardry and some fascinating photography.
Cast: Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Prithviraj, Prabhu, Kartik
J.M.Deepak Kumaar, V Year, Information Technology, Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering