The curious case of Ra One: It's not just a movie

The curious case of Ra One

Amitava Bhattacharya28 Oct 2011

As SRK's Ra. One hits the theaters, one thing becomes pretty clear; the war is within, not with anything else. Ra One will have to fight Ra One, the perception its makers created for us. Words are out - some hails it as a worthy entertainer while others thrash it mercilessly. People reaction to Ra. One is hauntingly divided. We find out what stands out and whats not!

Finally the wait is over. Ra. One - SRK's highly ambitious project is released on 26 October 2011, the auspicious day of Diwali (Festival of lights), in a whopping 3,200 screens across India. (SRK's arch rival Salman Khan's Bodyguard opened with 2700 screens). As we analyze the show times data for the week, every multiplex runs about 18 shows of the film a day. And with ticket prices being 20% higher, the collection of the opening week - considering the long Diwali weekend - must be substantial. There's no doubt, keeping all trade analysis aside, that ‘Ra. One' will make loads and tons of money. For the last couple of months before the release, SRK has gone for the kill (not entirely sure if that was an overkill) almost everywhere. There's nothing left untouched by the King Khan in the media space. He's there, everywhere; popping out of clothes, games, songs, reality shows, mobile, browsers and what not. The overt marketing at a reported cost of over 40-50 crores, created tremendous buzz everywhere - from Atlanta to Sri Lanka - touching everyone who knows what a Bollywood movie is. But, this caused a side effect too. Ra. One at times came across as invader, and the mind started creating a defensive mechanism at a sub-conscious level. Unlike 3 Idiots, which too had gone for the overkill during its pre-release phase, Ra One lacked the creativity in promotional content. It was simply the case of over selling the SRK brand. It was only volume - Here, there, every where phenomenon.

As Ra One lands into the Box Office, it virtually gobbles up every thing else. The only films that dared to release on the same week are Tell Me O Kkhuda (Esha Deol) and Damadamm (Himesh Reshammiya). A friend joked that these films actually have a shrewd sense of Business — they would cater to the people who wouldn't manage to get a Ra one ticket due to heavy Advance booking for Diwali!

Ra. One will also have a free run at box office as there is no competition at all for few weeks, and due to the fact that it releases in maximum number of screens ever.

But, is it all about money? Made at a cost of 150-175 crores (INR), money of course matters. But, by having a brand SRK, it's a foregone conclusion that his movies would never make losses. The fact is that the three musketeers (the Khans) have reached a certain stage, where the only question remains about their films is 'How big' can they be! So, going by the most conservative trade calculations — Satellite rights at 35 crores, Music rights at 13-15 crores, movie merchandise sale at 10-15 crores, numerous In film branding at 20-30 crores, Domestic Box office at a very conservative figure of 100 crores, and Overseas Box Office at 40 crores — Ra. One producers would take home at least 200 crores in the worst possible scenario of 'Ra One' fairing just about average at Box Office. But what about those, who will have to depend on the film's performance at Box Office commerce, given the exorbitant price they paid for distributing the film? The film needs to do really well for these distributors to make a profit.

Ra One Box office analysis

But it's the battle of supremacy at the highest level of Bollywood that makes the stake so high! With virtually a war raging among the Khans, Ra. One is maddeningly important in the scheme of things for SRK. If it fails to cut above the benchmark of excellence set by recent successes of the other two, the King may have to forego his crown in this no holds barred battle. It's unprecedented; never before was the Badshah so challenged in his turf. Can he emerge victorious? The battle spreads among the fans too. As the battle of Khans divides the loyalty across the industry, Ra One divides the viewers. The line is clearly drawn. It's the SRK lovers vs. the SRK bashers.

The big question is: what's the public reaction for Ra One? Let's find out what critics' verdict for Ra. One is:

Ra One critics reviews and ratings - Taran Adarsh, Rajeev Masand, Khalid Mohamed, Nikhat Kazmi and many more

As for the movie goers are concerned, the reaction is very much divided. For some, it's a complete paisa vasool stuff as they see their beloved SRK sets the screen on fire with his G. One avatar! They vouch for the eye-Popping Special Effects, superbly crafted Action & Chase scenes, video game style designs, some stellar performances, Rajnikanth's guest appearance, and above them all, they simply love SRK as the entertaining super hero. Not sure if Iron Man, Bat Man will ever break into a dance like G. One does, but who cares, it's the King Khan that only matters for the fans.

Eye-Popping Special Effects in Action & Chase scenes, designing of the game and over all, the look of RA. One. Also, the twists and turns in the script are the icing on the cake. The characters designed, the action sequences directed & the mega-thrilling thrills composed - everything makes RA. One a delight to watch for kids as well as grown-ups. - reviews Somak

But not all are convinced though. They argue that there's nothing sci-fi in the film, except for a few high octane scenes the super hero character fails to live up to its assumed role. Where is the script in the film, asks many, who say that they're disappointed with the movie that created such a high buzz. To them, the story made no sense; the superhero became a mere bodyguard; too many lame jokes and explicit language bordering towards sexual tones were too much to tolerate; cheap amalgamation of numerous Hollywood sci-fi flicks resulting in a poorly made movie that has neither the Technical wizardry matching Hollywood nor the hot Bollywood curry. They sum it up by saying that Ra. One is Bollywood's most spectacular and costliest disaster.

We just wished if he would have spent even 1/4th time and money over the soul of the film, the movie would have been something else or maybe a path breaking cinema. But wishes are not horses and thus we end up with an not so great time pass flick, which even if we like it or not might have to watch and thus try to focus over the positive points and wait for next big flick. - reviews Divya

But, the question that still remains unanswered is whether you must watch Ra one after all?
You should, if you are:

  • A great SRK fan
  • Someone who loves playing video games
  • A parent with kid(s) big enough to watch movies
  • Not having a great expectation out of it
  • Not too much into Hollywood stuff

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