Jun 19, 2010

Raavanan aanda enna, Rahman aanda enna..aaga motham padam mokkai

Ok, the movie sucked. Really. Neither was the Direction good nor was the screenplay coherent. There is no point in narrating the story because the movie was so blatantly lifted off from Ramayana I really got bored after a while and could predict what would happen next. For me such adaptations doesn't reflect the prowess of the Director at all. It was a very run of the mill kind of story/screenplay which was tailored to reflect a well known epic. Maybe the audience are supposed to shriek in ecstasy when they relate to characters resembling Hanuman and Vibheeshanan, but I most certainly was put off by that. There was no elaborate build up to the story. The movie begins with Veeraiya (Vikram) kidnapping Ragini (Aishwarya Rai) and her husband Dev played by PrithviRaj prepares to mount an all out attack on Veera. BGMs sucked because there were no true BGMs. The bits and pieces from the songs were just rehashed to form the BGM. What happened to the good old days of our Ilayaraja when people actually spent as much time on BGMs as they did on songs?

The first half moves slowly. I mean so slowly that it feels more stagnant than all of Aishwarya's facial expressions can muster. The Director is only focused on portraying the love sprouting in Vikram's heart for Ragini. It is not a bad concept if it had been handled well but he had gone overboard with the Screenplay part. The scenes were too jumpy; in the sense there was no smooth flow. Yet the same scenario was being shown for one hour; Ragini falling down the cliff for some five times in Vikram's mind. There is actually no good characterization in the first half except for Vikram's. Suhasini has written the Dialogues for the movie and I couldn't help but laugh during those 'typical' one liner exchanges in the first half when Dev was told his wife was kidnapped. It went something like this:
Hemanth: siiirrr, river la oru accident
Dev: Eppo
H: Ippodhan sirrr
Dev: Enna aachu
H: sirrr, inoru boat idichu....adhula vandhu...
D: enna?
H: unga wife...
D: solunga Hemanth..
It reminded me of that classic spoof in Thamizh Padam of that 'Thalabadhi' scene where Mammooty visits his injured henchman in a hospital.

Karthik gets totally wasted by ManiRatnam. I felt great pity for such a talented actor reduced to doing buffoonery just because one of his 'mentors' asked him to act in the movie. His intro scene when he does some 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'isque jumping around of trees looked so bad and made no sense. Later, in the movie Kartihk gets to be the Hanuman of the story and if those initial tree jumping scenes were intended to give the audience a clue about that, then I am sorry to say ManiRatnam but Perarasu would have done a better job of it. If his role was intended to be that of a comic relief with his monkey acts, then somebody like Vivek etc. would have done a much better job of it. Same is the case with Prabu. The continued references to the epic was also irritating. People should have been left feeling a resemblance to the epic. Instead, ManiRatnam makes sure that the audience have no doubts whatsoever. Somebody should count the number of times references are made to the numbers 10 and 14 in that movie! We all know Raavanan had ten heads, Sir. Please. No need to remind us again and again. Also, we all know that Ramar went to vanavaasam for 14 years. No need to give not so subtle hints such as 'she will die in 14 hours', 'she was supposed to be held for 14hours but now she should be held for 14 days' etc. Maybe you were making this movie for an 'international' audience who have no idea what Ramayanam is about and probably you would give a quick guide to Ramayanam along with the movie tickets to those audience so that they can croon in delight when they see those cross references making sense.

Amidst all this drudgery, there are two things in the movie that is spectacular. Firstly, the Cinematography. It is just indescribable. It was not just one or two scenes but the entire movie that was shot in vivid colors and some breathtaking camera angles. Some do stick to the mind: Vikram's standing on the cliff edge and doing a 'will he jump or won't he' kind of thing, the scene where the officers cut through the dense forest and the camera focuses on a dragon fly perched on the branch and slowly pans out to the bunch of people (the dragonfly looked totally like a toy though), the waterfalls, the final scene in which Vikram is shot and falls down in a SloMo. Breathtaking is the only word that justifies all this.

Secondly, Vikram. The story was not just centered around his character but his performance in the movie is so towering that all the other flaws seem more magnified because of that. Seeing Aishwarya's banality of expressions and PrithviRaj's stonyfaced reactions (thanks to ManiRatnam's idea of a steel nerved Police I believe) Vikram seemed to really possess ten times the prowess of the other actors! If Vikram hadn't captivated the audience enough till the end of the movie then he definitely delivers the sucker punch in the climax when he realizes the trap he has fallen in. Even his expressions as he falls to his death lingers in the mind. As a friend of mine said, his performance in this movie is like watching Sachin score a century in a losing cause!

If I see this movie again it would be for the Cinematography and Vikram. And I hope this refocuses his immense acting abilities and makes him a better chooser of movies in the future!

P.S.: It feels so good to say, I told you so!

1 comments:

Anonymous,  June 21, 2010 at 4:03:00 AM EDT  

Interesting review sir. Am a huge Mani Ratnam fan too but watched the hindi version instead of the tamil one. Though i enjoyed the movie, i did feel Vikram would have taken that role to a different level as compared to AB Jr.

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