I had been waiting to see this Tamil movie 'Raavanan' (Wiki link) of Manirathnam for a long long time now! I had read so many tidbits about the movie before its release. When my niece came home during her semester holidays, we planned and went to two movies without much gap in-between, which is very rare, for me. I am not a movie buff! The other movie was 'Rajneeti' (I don't feel like writing a review for this movie!). Here, I am not going to mention the story much, it is in the Wiki link.
The movie starts, with Vikram jumping down from a cliff into deep water, head down. The scenery is beautiful. He swims like a wild animal and kidnaps Aishwarya. Then the storyline slows down. We had known that story of the movie resembled the Ramayana. Vikram acts as Raavana, here, a modern Robinhood-like character. He has done his job very well. But reminds a lot of his role in 'Anniyan' (dubbed in Hindi as Aparichit), when he is shown with dirt and anger on his face and like Sethu, when he blabbers 'bakbakbak', like a madman. Aishwarya is the Seetha in this modern Ramayana! Ram is Prithviraj, quite a good actor, who did very well in 'Mozhi'. He acts like an 'encounter specialist' who is after Raavana who kidnapped his pretty wife Seetha!
The best part of the film is cinematography which is done by Santhosh Sivan and Manikandan. The story is very weak. It is as if some clippings are joined together without any proper thread. Maybe they think that we know the story of Ramayana and we will understand!
Aishwarya, doesn't show any emotion. It takes a long time for us to register that she had started loving Vikram after she knew why he had kidnapped her! She just utters 'bakbakbak' in a weak tone, to express her softness towards him! They show her falling from the cliff, head down and hanging on a branch of a tree and walking back on rocks...she must have done some hard work, here.
Even Vikram's story about how his sister was gang-raped by policemen, doesn't make us feel sorry for him...some drawback here too. All these things are shown in short clippings! The storyline doesn't flow smoothly. In-between, suddenly Vikram acts like a madman and shouts 'bakbakbak' or 'dandandan'...we have to assume he is half mad! His role could have been shown as a strong leader who wants to avenge the police who were killing his people, raping their women, unnecessarily, without proper reason.
Here, the character of Ram is not shown as a good man! He uses everyone, even his wife, to kill Raavana!
The camera work is very good. Stunt shows are amazing, esp. the last rope bridge fight. Most of the shooting was done in the forest areas of Kerala, Ooty, Maharashtra etc., it seems. The dance sequence under actor/dancer Shobana's choreography, to A.R. Rahman's beautiful music is quite memorable. Very normal dialogues by Suhasini Manirathnam, doesn't add life to the movie.
During the intermission break, we were asking each other, if anyone understood the story? The last half hour had SOME story!
Photo courtesy: Google