A few weeks earlier, Prakash Jha presented us with today's Raajneeti packaged Mahabharata. Now, Mani Sir is here with his adaptation of the other great epic, Ramayan with the villain as hero or anti-hero, as you may like to call him.
Also, a couple of weeks back, Robin Hood came visiting our theaters. And this time, our home grown Raavan from the Red belt carries a hood or a cape, if you like and he likes to flaunt it with style. And he is not the villain any more. He also likes to help the people who are oppressed by the society. He is the messiah of the masses. He is Aaj Ka Ravan Hood (2010), the God and demon, packed in one super Raavanised avatar.
Once you have settled down in your seat and accepted, that it has been a bad decision to enter the theaters and the movie is neither entertaining nor enlightening, you start laughing at the serious scenes and not knowing what to do, with every attempt at humor, dark or not so dark. So, it's entertaining in its own unique way, even though, not as intended, at times.
Ok. Enough of bak-bak-bak bak-bak-bak bak-bak-bak, now let's talk about the movie. The movie starts with a police group being ambushed and killed. Soon after, Sita, wife of Police Officer Dev gets kidnapped by Beera while enjoying a leisurely boat ride. Dev goes after Beera with a little help from Sanjeevani, the forest guard who resembles Hanuman closely in looks and action. And the rest is history (literally).
After kidnapping Sita, Beera doesn't know what to do with her...whether to go for a swim with her or show her around his beautiful territory or just to bore her to death with jhik-jhik-jhik-jhik kinds of meaningless noise he makes. That way, he can save a bullet.
So, there are some more scenes of arson with the reds looting the police at ease, with no resistance. Only time, the police decide to act is when they give a valid reason for Beera to take revenge on the police force. Largely, it seemed like this movie could become a documentary on "How to loot arms from a stupid police force" for Maoist training schools. So, if you hear about any particular territory doing well, don't forget...you first heard about the reason here. The movie follows the storyline of the epic in a predictable manner without much improvisation. The ending, thought with a twist, is as unimaginative as most of the storyline.
By the way, to cater to demands from a minority group, there are also eunuchs in Beera's group, who also come in handy in impromptu dance sessions, when all the violent and dangerously armed men get into neat formations and shake a leg or two. And not to forget, Beera is also the drummer in the local Red band.
Aishwarya looks beautiful, but the movie didn't require her to look her beautiful self, mostly...so she negotiated for a couple of scenes, where she could strut her designer stuff and exude the glamour look. She is given some of the worst dialogues, which requires her to scream or howl mostly or talk nonsense, like talking loudly to the river or even doing the bak-bak-bak bak-bak-bak bak-bak-bak.
Govinda as the Forest Guard gets some funny scenes and makes you laugh. Vikram looks good and confident, but doesn't get much of a chance to act with Abhishek Bachchan clearly occupying more prime space. Ravi Kishen does his job. Priyamani has a small role, but makes an impression.
One of the highlights of the movie is the beautiful locations and great cinematography. Am sure, the film makers could have made more profits, if they opened jungle resorts instead of making this film, largely shot in the jungles with characters who clearly identified with the phrase "lost in the woods".
Regarding direction...what can I say about the stalwart Mani Sir. Ever since, a certain Mr. Roshan and Ms. Mori climbed off the cliff, it has become fashionable to jump off the cliff at the drop of the hood, sorry...hat. And we know, Aishwarya is beautiful, but to shoot her fall from different angles and that too with slow motion replay was a sheer waste of time & valuable reel and test of patience for the audience. Am sure, he thought, that the critics will say...poetry on celluloid or shower more accolades on him...but Mani Sir, what about the audience? Also, one more thing...if I want to watch close-ups of the insects in the jungle, I will switch on Animal Planet or National Geographic, why do I need to watch your Ramayan, sorry Raavan for that?
Scoop: However, we have a real scoop here! I also tried to delve a bit into the origin of the character name of the hero, Raavan or Beera. Actually, Mani Sir was highly inspired by Dev D, Anurag Kashyap's adaptation of Devdas. His idea for remaking Ramayan came right after he watched this movie. He first thought about naming the hero as Ra.V but, then he thought, it will be too similar to another super hero film coming up, starring Shah Rukh called Ra.One. So, Mani Sir decided to tweak the name a bit and change the position of the "V" and call him V.Ra or Veera or Beera. Enough of bak-bak-bak bak-bak-bak bak-bak-bak.
Gossip: According to reliable sources, the film makers also thought about putting ten heads on Abhishek's body to represent Raavan in a better manner. But, all other stars objected saying, that he would occupy too much screen space, literally, if endowed with ten heads. Also, Abhishek wanted to increase his remuneration for the extra heads.
Controversy: Before the movie started, there was the standard disclaimer...This is a work of fiction and any resemblance between the characters and persons living or dead is purely coincidental. However, at the time of writing this review, I heard Balmiki is planning to sue the producers for copyright infringement. When contacted Big Pictures said, they have registered the script with the Writers Association before Balmiki woke up with the idea to make a film on his epic. So, what if he's got the idea, he doesn't own the film rights.
Publicity: Mr. Ravan also wants to sue Mr. Abhishek Bachchan for defamation and maligning his reputation, painstakingly built over centuries and making him appear more like a caricature or a cartoon. Jhik-jhik-jhik-jhik-jhik!
Mani Sir declined to comment on this matter. Mr. Bachchan Jr. who was traveling on a promotional campaign said, all these reports are sinister attempts aimed at hurting the box office prospects of the movie which is already a declared hit and will have a 14-day run at the theaters.
Brand partners: Vicco Turmeric is also planning a post release tie-up with the film as sales are expected to increase after seeing Abhishek's face smeared with the cream. Abishek has also been appointed as the Brand Ambassador and has promised to use the cream in all his future films. As for South hero Vikram, he is considering a proposal to host Sach Ka Saamna Season 2 on TV, after asking Sita, oops Ragini to take the polygraph test in the movie.
Disclaimer: This review is a work of fiction and any resemblance between the characters or persons, living or dead, real or reel based, or movies released or unreleased is purely coincidental.