Monday, June 21, 2010

'Raavan' - One head is better than ten!

Attn: Deepali, Mark Shobhaa’s World 20th June 2010


What a disaster, Sirji!

Such a pity, the much-awaited ‘Dus Sarwalla’ turned out to be an unmitigated disaster! If only Mani Sir had made better use of his own ‘sar’, perhaps ‘Raavan’ would have fared better. A friend from Bangalore sent me a message that was pretty telling, when I mentioned I was watching the movie that evening. “ Do take a torch and a good book with you, dear,” Prasad advised. I got the message but ignored him, telling myself ( as countless Ratnam fans must have ), nothing Mani attempts can be all that bad. In fact, Mani doesn’t fall into the ‘mediocre’ category - even at his most uninspired. That’s his genius. I hope this garbled and confused movie does not permanently tarnish the reputation of one of our most talented film makers. Simply put, it is a bloody bore. Too long, too tedious and too pointless. As for the performances , poor Abhishek dives down nose first in the very first scene – he doesn’t come up for air after that. Not his fault ( I’m partial !). He is just such a loveable, good natured sort of chap, one just doesn’t associate brutality and violence with someone like him. And if his dark side is meant to hit audiences between the eyes, it seems childish to underline the point via black make up smeared all over his face and body, just in case we dummies don’t get the point. Between assorted face packs of haldi, ash ( not his beauteous wife, but ‘raakh’), keechad and other muck, this Ravan ( Beera) grins goofily through his evil deeds and seems incapable of hurting a makhhi’. Meanwhile, it is Dev ( Ram, played by Mr. Scowl), who does little more than glower into the camera, his expression disappointingly blank thanks to those strange brown cosmetic lenses ( the sort starlets use for portfolio pics). No wonder his lovely wife ( Ragini alias Sita ) makes cow eyes at Raavan and treats the besotted villain to glimpses of her creamy cleavage to torment and tempt the man further.
Forget all that Naxalite-waxalite, Aryan-Dravidian, Good Vs. Evil conflict or symbolism. Mani can’t seem to make up his mind about far more elementary issues – where the hell is the movie located and who are those strange looking tribals? Sometimes, the crowd scenes feature buxom village belles with streaked hair , super sexy backless cholis, city make-up, like extras from a Bhojpuri film. At other times the same bunch is dressed in sack cloth, but with colour coordinated accessories. Aishwarya’s iridescent beauty is exploited in close- up after close- up, while her jungle make up goes from just mascara and the perfect lipglossed pout, to heavy duty eyeliner and blush on. But at least the make up is waterproof. Which is a good thing, since almost the entire film is shot under lashings of rain or a waterfall. As for the divine Ash’s performance – what can she do if her director has her gagged (literally!) through most of the film? Worse, any self respecting heroine would also have lapsed into stupefied silence had she been forced to wear what must rank as the worst costumes ever! Sabyasachi…. really!!! First you do it to poor Vidya. And now Ash.
Moral of the story : One head is better than ten.

***************
What is that they say about a single picture speaking more than a thousand words? If the Brothers Ambani deprived us presswallas of that anticipated ‘Kiss and make up’ photo- op last week, Rekha and Jaya Bachchan’s mwaah mwaah moment made up for it. Jaya’s expression as Rekha swooped down on her at a very public function, is worth noting. But both being consummate actresses, they recovered swiftly enough to compose their features suitably for the flashbulbs. That’s professionalism. If Jaya then went on to give the royal ignore to Rekha, it doesn’t count. The moment the film press had been holding its breath for (and twenty years is a long, long time to do that), came minus the expected drama, even if Jaya’s involuntary shudder was unmistakable and hard to miss. ‘Chumma Chumma de de…” crooned Mr. Bachchan many moons ago. Not sure he had reserved it for this kiss between his wife and errrr…his errrr…. co-star? The encounter sure gave those old lyrics a new meaning!

42 comments:

Crystal Clear Thinking said...

I quite liked the movie...it wasn't great but was a decent one time watch primarily because of the photography..shobha you must have atleast liked the eye catching visuals and the breathtaking background score

Delhi Goon said...

I was laughing through your review of the movie... like your sense of humour. The movie must be a real joke! Apparently even AB Sr has panned it for editing.

BTW it wasn't AB Jr who jumped off the cliff but a stunt double, some national diving champ apparently.

So much money, so little talent (miniscule).

NKS said...

Ram Gopal Verma ki.... errrr Mani Ratnam ki AAG

Delhi Goon said...

Just an afterthought, no one has been able to remake Sholay and other classics without falling face down, and still you want to take on the Ramayan?

Someone hear a crashing sound somewhere!?

*Aham* said...

I am not watching the movie. just because i respest Mani too much. I dont want to lose it all. I heard from my friends, that he has aishwarya in probably every possible pose... there are some 5 seconds of her hair flying... This is too much of an obsession.

i should add, that ever since his lens has left the lust for dusky heroines (revathyu, anu agarwal,mallaika arora, mallika sherawat) he has lost it.


Aishwarya is pretty. Yes, she is. But she is an overkill. She is a better actress than the "I am She" sushmita. But way too plastic in real, and reel.


Abhishek, such wrong casting. Seriously, how could abhishek be seen as a villain... ???


and De, there is the Polygraph test akin to the agni pareeksha in Raavan...??? what the eff??????

thats why i simbly dislike ramayan. and polygraph test for what????who is the god damn scriptwriter... (aiyyooo! dont tell me its Mani)


regarding his obsession with Aishwarya, I feel Mani has the art of bringing the lesser known greats to the fore. But such a talent waste on Aishwarya.


what can I say... can someone answer my question .. why why why is...

Buxom Bhaktam my Mani Ratnam.

shrikant kumawat said...

we love your writing.....keep going.

papermagictwigs said...

I agree with most part, except that sabyasachi had them wear the worst costumes ever! I agree aish's wardrobe in ravan was ordinary, but vidya looked her best in Pa I thought! :)
Keep writing, enjoyed reading your blog!
I'm a photographer and design/decor blogger..

shivansh's blog said...

I was expecting something good out of this movie....but it also sank in the waters in which Abhishek took jump in the movie...I was having high expectations on Kites too..but the movie flew in air and reached unknown galaxies...Rajneeti has played some fair politics....i have always loved the work of Prakash Jha..and this time too...he threw all his prakash in this movie...Anywz...fingers crossed for the upcoming movie stuff...

Rishma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rishma said...

Your review is ghostly, so much of negativity you have shown in Raavan review. It is disappointing in this era people do not appreciate simple and honest made stories like how the OLD movies used to be hit and still likeable. Now people just expect something different never made stories, out of the box! Just think about old movies they were not special, filled with full twisted story (like how people expect now), they were simple drama movies.
In raavan Abhishek acting was good, he totally suited for the role and delivered up to that so does Aishwarya. Vikram was strictly okay. In whole Raavan had many pluses with some minus points.
De you need to have some positivity in your thinking and in your life. Appreciate little bit the director's effort made for the movie!

Sadiya said...

God!!!! This was like the worstesttttt sickesttt yuckiestt movie ever!! I didnt even pay for the ticket and yet sitting through the whole thing was a torture....and who was this Ram?...sincerely hope i neverrrr have to see his face again!
Plus completing the package was the makeup- seemed very inspired from slumdog millionaire.
not sure if i can generalise but 'normal' people like me lack the ability appreciate itnaaaaa 'depth'!

Sadiya said...

ability to*

Mehr said...

Despite all of the bad reeviews of the film i am planng to watch the movies only beacause of maniratnam,santhosh sivan,ar rahman..And iam sad that u dont like Sabyasachi...His creations are really ethnic and beautiful,Vidya was actually looking beautiful in his creation only...espcly sarees..

Tell me is there any anythng b/w Amitab and rekha or just a media speculation,it is sad that still this topic exists

Ramachandran said...

I saw the trailer of Raavan and decided that I was not going to spend money watching Abhishek Bachhan!
He looks positively yuk...!Looks like he is trying to do a Johnny Depp.And the arrogance of the man...he actually says he has no "interest" in Hollywood!!Or is the the other way around?
Abhishek, if you are reading this, wake up and smell the coffee...
All heroes today, even Manoj Bajpai who stole the thunder from the other stalwarts in Rajneeti, is so very physically fit!
Methinks this Abhishek is plain lazy...at least he should have toned up his body if he was to appear as the villain.Also, Mani should have known better thahn to cast a flabby anti-hero!!That is a first for our Hindi films!!

Sadiaah said...

I think the movie was pretty good!

Why do we want to have frames set in mind when we want to watch a movie! And assume if it is based on veerappan or ramayana or anything else!

Casting Abhishek - yes was a perfect choice to depict someone who looks bad can be as good and SP (agree that he was blank) who is good can definitely be evil who can use his wife (ASH - who looked superb) to get to Beera.

And yes the tribals u saw changed coz character Beera moved from one place to other.

And I think film needs applaud for screenplay, it was fantastic!

And yes locations were awesome! And tracks "Ranjha" and "Beera" were also done very nicely!

I suggest you watch this movie again without set frames of mind!

goodluck said...

Your review is much more interesting than the movie. Thanks for saving me the mani.

ameya said...

Somehow I knew you will not like it.
I loved loved loved the movie !
I will say it used the "Brokeback" way of letting visuals speak more than the dialogues. The first half was just visuals (very few dialogues)
The same treatment was given to another classic called VIHIR in Marathi (ABCorp produced it), wherein the entire second half has visuals visuals and just visuals !
I could hear people yawning, walking out and the works.
But it gives me great hope that Bollywood is attempting something like this ... not to say that the attempt in Marathi (Vihir) shocked me, gave me goosebumps !
Please see it again .... and this time ...... see it ALONE.

wordsmith said...

Would love to read your take on David Davidar's alleged sexual harrasment. I believe he spotted the 'writer' in you.

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siddhartha said...

the film's not gr8 shobhaa.but worth watching once.all the effort of the team for years has gone waste.my feeling is "kites" is better than "raavan"!

de silent spectator said...

Raavanan, the tamil version of Raavan (or probably the original one, as Maniratnam himself and ARR belongs to Tamilnadu, both of them having a history of releasing works in Tamil together with its release in Hindi)seem to be better in casting as Vikram made a better interpretation of the role.

krutika said...

give rekha a break, she has moved on. she seems to be having more fun in the sack with her female companion than Jaya would ever have. hahah, as far as the movie, may be the director was de motivated to work with a lazy, highly privilaged, vain and talentless couple.
who cares about the wardrobe, give the role to Tabu or Rani and you'll see a difference

Jyostna said...

I havent watched the mvoie..but I heard similar review from most of the people who watched Raavan. Raavanan was liked by few, because experimental roles are liked in south..and utmost respect for mr.manirathnam is one reason why people cannot digest the fact that it is not a good film. But I cannot agree with one thing, sabyasachi's costumes..vidya looked much beautiful n far better in his styling..n ash's role cld b something like tht. n ofcourse she hardly dresses well for any good occasion

Vrinda said...

This time you have come up with very genuine review. Yes this is what I've been hearing about this film. I tried to watch pirated version in Internet, I felt bored within no time and stopped the movie.

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Intense love-story script maybe the requirement for both actors if not violence movie.
few example:
Silsila/Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

pooh said...

what horrible review.... please go back n write what u r good @... ur kinda porn lady!
the costumes did brilliant.. the wedding was d most astheticly appealing part!
the designer did well....

Pooja Rathore said...

Bhopal gas tragedy- one word which is doing round is the word "compensation "kuch bhi ho jaye compensation hai na the neta who awards big compensation becomes big( as if he is paying money from his pocket or wrong doers account the whole money will go from the Exchequer - AAm admi's tax money.The person responsible for the tragedy is 91 years whats the point in getting him here anyways by the time paper work gets done he may or may not be there. For 26 years the Govt was sleeping this kind of attitude is not going to help nor the compensation can make good the loss caused(whether the compensation will reach the victims or not we will have to wait for some more years-) Anything goes wrong Bomb Blast, Air crash or security lapse - one easy remedy Compensation . These days it has become routine to hear about tragedies we may or may not get our answers one thing we can be sure of getting i.e Compensation!

The whole Amitabh BAchchan and rekha affair is a mystery just like rekha, she openly tells she has high regrds for Mr BAchchan and Mr BAchchan -she was my co star full stop - but kuch to hua tha inke beech but kya?

Anil Kumar said...

Even if the movie was bad there are loads of idiots who will go and spend their money on mediocre actors/actress. The sheer abundance of idiots in this country will ensure that these meiocre actor/actress continue to make money...regardless of what the movie is about.

dolly rohira said...

the movie wsnt all that bad too...
the scenes were beautifully captured atleast...

Ramesh said...

The movie was nt all tht bad.., the main drawbacks fr the movie z its well knw stry for evry one and thr z no surprising twist in script.. I watch back to back both Raavan (Hindi)and Raavanan(Tamil). when compare to raavan., Raavanan is good.,who ever blaming this movie just watch Raavanan by vikram as Veera (not Raavan) and u realize tht the problem is with the actor and nt the director…

sHaMi N aAtHi said...

Mrs.Shobha De..

I am deeply disappointed with your review on Raavan...yes I agree that people are entitled to their opinions but such a dominating opinion is irrelevant here....

I think the image that i ahd about Shobha De has chganged for the worse after redaing your taker on one of the finest actor of India, Vikram...You sed this...

"it is Dev ( Ram, played by Mr. Scowl),who does little more than glower into the camera,his expression disappointingly blank thanks to those strange brown cosmetic lenses"

Go watch his movie, Pithamahan..and you will understand what expressions are...
Talk about things that you know abt and not dat you are ignorant about....
shame dis review is....yuuuuuccckkk!!!!!!!!!!!!

ms said...

ok, mz de. i did warn you about "raavan", the hindi version. i have pleaded in the past that you avoid the Baap, Bahu and Baby offerings, but you blithely go about subjecting your sensitive self to this torture!! i now also register my caution about "ra-one". forwarned is fore-armed (torch and book and a bottle of wine!!)
ps: i am impressed that a one-way- air-kiss between two ageing drama queens caught your attention!

ms said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ms said...

ok, mz de. i did warn you about "raavan", the hindi version. i have pleaded in the past that you avoid the Baap, Bahu and Baby offerings, but you blithely go about subjecting your sensitive self to this torture!! i now also register my caution about "ra-one". forewarned is fore-armed (torch and book and a bottle of wine!!)
ps: i am impressed that a one-way- air-kiss between two ageing drama queens caught your attention!

Latha said...

@ms, Baap, Bahu and Baby torture...hahaha.
I'm going to the nearby theater to watch 'Raavanan'. Dat's the b'day gift of my son who wouldn't come from the office early otherwise. Not his fault. He needs a good sleep (in the theater - Tuesday there won't be much crowd for the 8-15 show)after a hectic week & for me, this is the only way to meet Tamilians in Mclean.
Whatever be the case,I don't think I'd hate it. I expect even Mani's worst to be better than run of the mill flicks.

employment said...

I loved your review, and had a good laugh, atleast there is something I enjoyed after watching the movie ( a humorous review, which is so true).Shobha, Hats off to you for watching the whole movie and writing a review, I couldn't manage to watch it till the end.. Though I am far away from my home country but I never miss watching a Mani Ratnam's movie.. but what was this.. a Complete Disaster.

jay said...

the movie did WELL IN TAMIL VERSION IT IS super hit in south BTW in malaysia it has collect RM 4 MILLION for tamil version , u must give credit VICRAM as Veera and ash as ragini and pritiraj has cop . ASH best performance so far

Hardeep said...

Hello everyone, after reading Rekha-Jaya's new episode, I remembered the famous saying that "Behind every successful man there is a woman". One day, it just came out of my mouth that "behind a unsuccessful (unfortunate)man there are definitely two(women)" with due respect to them.

jobin09 said...

tamil version was good. vikram did great. hindi nt upto that because of the acting, may be. mrs rai is not a good actor. need not mind her make up since thats not important in the movie. minding that ws just a lady thing, also the clevage mention. its true that the make up/looks of raavan and his allies were exagerated. visuals were great, and the bridge fight scene. 'polygraph' was unnessary. no emotional drama and dialogue presentation. thats y it let d orthodox hindi movie viewers down.

arvind said...

Just saw that fantastic film Ravanan..

Ho my god..

if anyone could shoot a picture again like this – even Mani himself?

The first few shoots itself showing that –
this movie is going to involve a lot of close up shoots and hence so much of emotions and expressions would be shared.. (felt – after so much of years – me feel – movie full of close up shoots; means the director’s confidence over the actors)

the story is so simple..
for a revenge a man kidnap a woman
and fall in love with her..
the expressions of male character and
the sink of the female character within him..
so simple story..
all other characters are there to support
or to intensifying that sink..
(including that lonely song of Aish)

The love flowered on a man’s heart – on seeing a gal.. but he should not cross any limit at any place.. and the responses by the woman..

Vikram – the man with huge family attachment,
enjoying the life in his way known to him (four entertaining songs),
man with vengeance, anger, (still has that sharp, angry some eyes..)
with so much of love – flowing from his eyes..

which gal could resist that much of love?
(she praying the god: “give me the strength to with stand this amount of love”)

Aish: ho my god.. expressions are flowing equally matching the male..
when his anger, lust etc etc are flowing (following) like anything –
she selects her own way of expressions.. it’s a milestone movie for her..
(as parenita did for vidya balan)

all other characters are supporting this main frame.. and nobody crosses anything – they wanted to perform..

the relating of that first few frames with the last frame
- the gal telling her husband – “use a bullet and finish him”
and in the last scene – she herself stood between all the bullets and him..

the sink synchronize in few scenes..
-First tear..
-If me stay here – will u leave him safe?
-The last tear..
-“why u tell him like that..?”

the acceptance of the gal is enough and
he mean that lastly “shoot me up .. me will die so happily..”

songs – don’t’ ask.. they are all celebrations..
Putting this movie near my heart..

ps:
Mani took Ramayana for the only reason –
to show the female character’s solid/firm heart..
that’s all..

at last what he provides to her - DIGNITY

Gouri said...

Just watched it today on Colors. Not that bad! May be because I didn't over-expect after reading your review :)

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