Raavan: Black, White and Gray

Ramayan has been telling generations after generations about the triumph of good over evil. History is written by the winner, and we forget that between black and white there is always gray. Raavan is an attempt to bring out this gray in the mythological tale, by placing it in a modern day scenario.

Beera (Abhishek) is loved by the people, feared by the people and wanted by the police. He lives in a beautiful rocky place where there are pretty carvings in the middle of a flowing river. Beera kidnaps Raghini (Aishwarya), SP Dev’ wife (Vikram) for revenge. The SP sets out to rescue the wife with inspector Hemant for company. An alcoholic, tree climbing forest officer Sanjeevni (Govinda) joins the rescue squad.
Meanwhile, Beera and Raghini develop a bond and Raghini discovers a human side to the monster as she hears his story.

The story progresses as black turns gray and white turns an even darker hue of gray.
The story wins when the audience wants Raavan to survive as opposed to Ram. But wait, the story takes a good 120 minutes to get to this point. The pace of the film is its weakness. It fails to grip the audience to the point of understanding what is going on and why.

Aishwarya Rai manages to look pretty and rain soaked, but, honestly she does a usual ‘aishwarya’ with bewildered looks, high pitched dialogue delivery and constant crying. Abhishek has done a great job, breaking out into maniacal laughter. Govinda is wonderful as the modern day Hanuman. I was surprised to see him hang by the trees and jump around with an innocent smile. Vikram is rather stiff as the SP, and at times, goes a bit overboard with underplay.Priyamani is a gorgeous curvy damsel, who plays Beera’s half-sister and a modern day Shurpanakha. Other than showing off her voluptuous mid-riff, she hasn’t got much to do.
What really makes the film worth the 2 odd hours is the cinematography. Although it’s always raining, the green, rocky valley is a delight to watch.

All in all, decent performances and great locales can only hold your attention for a while. If the story doesn’t progress at a pace it needs to, you find yourself shifting in your seat, waiting for your cellphone to catch network so that you can tweet while Aishwarya finishes sobbing and SP finishes yelling randomly.
I say: Avoid. I wish I wish I wish I could say otherwise.

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7 Responses

  1. It is heartening to see people try to explore the gray for that is the region most of the world operates in. When we start looking for the good in the bad, we’ll see criminals being reformed and when we see the bad in the good we’ll realize blindly aping our heroes is not such a great idea

    Having said that it also bodes dark clouds on the horizon. There is a reason why mythology has been about extremes. Coz it tells us what to seek and what to stay clear off. It tells us to strive to break hold of the black in the gray and try to see the clean white.

    Stories where the placement of characters is similar to a mythological story make not the mythological story

    Now to lighter stuff..thank you for saving my 150 bucks…and more so 3 hrs of time 😀

    And to think every time i hear the beera beera song (lovely song album waisey)..i wonder when someone will start selling ‘kheera kheera…’ with that jingle 😛

  2. Great write-up. I love the music for this film though. I can imagine how good the cinematography is. Indian film has come a very long way in that respect. As far as dialogues go, not so much. Now you come ot mention it, I suppose yes, Aishwarya does shriek rather a lot. But Abishek is as humorous as she is hysterical. So they balance each other out on screen. I like the idea for the movie but I’ll probably wait to see it on dvd.

  3. I saw the tamil version…same problems…but Vikram plays Veera and does it well…Prithviraj plays the SP and from your review i think he is better…Aishwarya is out of place 😛

  4. Thanks for the warning 😛

  5. Not all history written by ‘winners’ is false.

    Storytellers will seek the gray in the seemingly black and white, for it is in the grays they seek to engage their audiences against the contexts the audiences have grown up on, like say, the Ramayana, which by the way not everyone might see as a Mythological.

  6. agree wid aarwen thanks for warning on time. i was going to go for it tomorrow 🙂

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