Hearing "Ranjha Ranjha","Behne De" and "Beera beera" over the past couple of months had me waiting anxiously for the release of Raavan. But, as almost all Emraan Hashmi starrers prove, Good music doesn't guarantee a good movie.Falling in the same category, Raavan was a huge dissapoinment despite top-class music. When the movie reads "Directed by:- Mani Ratnam", it takes your expectations to a new high. Afterall, the same director has given us Guru, Yuva & Dil Se (apart from all the South Indian classics) in the past. All these movies may not have been superhits but had a charm of their own. Raavan fails to create any such charm.
Raavan starts with a beatiful sequence of Abhishek(Beera) kidnapping Aishwarya(Raagini) but that was the best part in the first half. The movie was so slow in the first half that had someone walked out of the hall and came back 15 minutes later, he or she would not have missed a thing. Govinda was another positive, especially his first frame but his silly poetry and monkey-like jumps were outrageous. Its evident that Mani Ratnam wanted to show Govinda as Hanuman but he forgot that Govinda played a "human" character. Abhishek played his part with a lot of conviction but his "chak chak chak..." became too irritating after a point.Vikram(Dev) played the modern day Ram as Mani Ratnam wanted him to but his hindi seemed too fake and didnt let the audience relate to him. Make up and costumes were pretty good which no doubt led to Aishwarys looking gorgeous throughout the movie but why all her suits were deep neck is something I fail to understand. Also, Aishwarya seems to have done the entire movie with a bad throat.Its possible that Mani wanted to show her as sick because of being kidnapped but she ended up being too loud in most of the scenes. Ravi Kissen was the best thing in the movie and made you feel better whenever he came on screen.
The second half of the movie was much better than the first. The story finally seemed to move with Abhishek explaining the reason for his hatred towards police .But,the second half is not good enough to eclipse the bad first half.Priyanmani, the girl playing Abhishek's sister-Jamunya(modeled on Surpanakha) has done a great job and was a breath of fresh air. Raavan had a lot of brilliant individual scenes but weren't making sense put together with some utterly stupid scenes. One such scene would be the conversation Abhishek and Aishwarya have in front of Vishnu's idol.Some dialogues actualy made you think that you have a hearing problem e.g. When Vikram asks Aishwarya to go for a polygraphic test. The movie failed in the content part but was amazing in the cinematography section. Santosh Sivan is a master in his art and he has captured the beauty of Kerala with perfection. Some locations used in the movie were just awe inspiring. Abhishek and Vikram's fight towards the end takes place at one such location. Another positive was the way Mani Ratnam used his camera and locations. Though, he could have done a better job by making it rain a bit less. He could have saved tonnes of water doing that. It seemed that Mani felt short of ideas to make Aishwarya look good(Aishwarya of people) and maybe thats the reason why she just appeared in her Taal look in the last sequence.
Looking at Raavan in a nutshell, its a movie for people wanting to see Kerala up close or for people who wish to learn the use of mud as a make up tool. Some great sequences and acting would be a perepherial benefit. Don't expect a modern day Raamayan-You will be dissapointed.