Friday, July 2, 2010

Maniratnam's Villain aka Raavanan

Hello  people,

I mentioned in one of my recent facebook status about choosing to watch Raavan or Raavanan, some of my friends responded and suggested Raavanan over Raavan.  I watched Raavanan telugu version which was named as villain. I never wrote any movie review, but the thing is that a friend had told me that my analysis of a movie is very appealing and sincere. So, I was inspired to come up with this review.

When I started reading the news and watching the videos about this movie, it was quite exciting for me as any other Maniratnam and ARR fan. Next to that, the lead actors brought in more curiosity. Somewhere down the line when I was reading more updates about the movie, I had a feeling that it might either brilliantly do well at the box office or will register as a major flop. The concepts of the movie that were publicized had provoked me to think in that way. I missed to watching it on the release day and the next day reviews were out smashing the movie down. Almost all reviews had said it was so disappointing after so much excitement.

Well, I started disbelieving the reviews since long time. I can definitely say that there is not even one proper review about any movie in recent days. The famous reviewers are ruining the film’s future with their stupid reviews and sometimes coming with absolutely false review for some non sense film. I don’t understand the way they rate it. I don’t think it is right for them to judge the movie on the basis of non sense rating. This rating intrigues the readers whether to watch it in a theatre or go for a piracy video. Well, I am not here to represent the film maker’s community but I always had this feeling when I read the reviews and watched the movies. 

Mani Ratnam, a name we can consider as an epitome among Indian directors. He made his films speak for him. Naturally, audiences have great expectations out of his movies. Even Raavanan was such. With great publicity and with stars like Abishek Bachan, Aishwarya Rai, Vikram, and PridhviRaj the hype was doubled. Cannes red carpet welcome and premiere at British film institute added more and more flavor, and glamour to the film. Finally with so much tout around, the movie released and as you all know reviews literally shattered it down.

First of all, please do not expect this to be like any other conventional style of review. I am just trying to present my analysis here.

With exotic visuals and great background score, the movie was actually a treat to eyes and feast to ears. All the songs were experimental. They were completely new to our audiences and these experiments are in rage from ARR these days. So I believe that they weren’t able to entertain all classes of audience. But I bet songs like Veera and Usure Poyena will keep haunting you. The visuals cannot take this blame, as most of them were absolutely breathtaking. The cinematographer needs to be commended for presenting a visual grandeur.

The movie actually unfolded with a diving stunt by Veera (vikram) followed by some disruptions caused to the policemen by his gang  and then Ragini's (ash) kidnap followed by a war of words between the Veera and Ragini which slowly took its shape into a poetic play. While it still remains as a complete bizarre for the audience to follow this poetry (may be the flaw in dubbed version), the characters take us forward into the plot of the film. The journey cruises from hatred to love and respect on each other. Consequentially Dev loses respect from Ragini's side. One needs no intelligence to guess what exactly happened/the reason as the over publicity has revealed most of it. I don't want to do that here again least for those who haven't watched the film and did not guess the plot, let me keep it as a suspense. ;). So apart from the curiosity, one need to look for the quality that Maniratnam’s films promise, the strength in the characters and the technical brilliance that we expect from such an amazing technical crew of the film. In this case, characters were poorly etched not for their quality but for the attributes of each character. Maniratnam made with an intention to rewrite the meanings of the protagonist and the antagonist in this movie. It is okay if he had done this to his movie, but attributing his script as an inspiration from the epic Ramayana has ruined this film’s future.

While Veera’s character was fully established to show various emotions, Ragini's character was a mishap. Dev character which is also crucial had been very poorly executed. And this was not because of the actor but the character. Ragini’s character was meant to be influential but in the execution turned out as an underplay. Coming to the performances, Vikram can undoubtedly be credited along with PrithviRaj. But Vikram completely outshined the screen sharers, in other words except Priyamani in two scenes, all others couldn’t stand equal to his performance. Virkam had a lengthy role, a responsibility to justify the title, and he had done a fantabulous job. But even with limited role, PrithviRaj had come up with brilliant performance. He proved himself to be a true Malayalam actor who cares more about performance than the image. Female lead Ash was probably chosen to show that a women who can carry off the movie to an international platform but not the one who can carry off with sparkling performance. Not that she hadn’t performed well, but generally her acting capabilities are very limited. A character like Ragini should have had beauty as well as brightness in acting. In one of the scenes it is not only because of her beauty that Veera asks her to stay back but also for her traits. So these traits and that influence were not exhibited by her. Priyamani’s role was brief. She was another actor like PrithiviRaj who had given her best for the little play time she got and made her presence felt. Karthik and Prabhu donned energetic roles and justified their bit.

Coming to the noises that Veera makes were probably shown as the character’s identification similar to that of a forest tribe which was really not required for actors like Vikram. He was able to emote enough to present the character of Veera quite impressively in both positive and negative shades.

Editing department efforts were felt, otherwise the length of the film would be longer and brisk shots would have been lengthier and boring.

The face paints and aggressiveness shown in the choreography of “kullu pudithe” looked like an attempt to portray the hostile environment around Ragini to convince her and audience as well that Veera’s gang was antagonistic in appearance.

Costumes by renowned designer Sabyasachi had hardly made their presence as the use of costumes was minimal. And though Ash’s scenes had got to let her wear this designer’s piece, the costumes supplied looked out of place.

Stunts performed were absolutely necessary and couple of them took the breath out. A Kerala martial art style was adopted for Veera which was perfectly in sync with his character.

All in all it had offered all that a regular Maniratnam flick does. But audience perception was different because of the wrong publicity and the title. From the director’s end, contradictions in portraying characters and comparisons with the Epic Ramayana had turned the film down. It was a risky experiment to conceive a film with the protagonist to have the antagonist’s qualities and vice versa.

If the Hindi and Tamil versions have to be compared, since I haven’t watched Hindi version I cannot really write much about Abhishek, but honestly the trailers spoke a lot. One crucial shot that puts Vikram on a high seat is when he escapes Ash and tries to sneak down with her hair falling on his face..his emotion was so perfect. Abhishek miserably performed for the same shot. Vikram is one major reason for the film to run well in Tamil version. So in my opinion excluding the perception flaws from the ace director in conceiving the project, one can still watch it for Vikram's performance, eye treating visuals and ARR music.

Hope you are not bored of reading my lengthy analysis of Villain aka Raavanan!