Raavan is a different movie, one incapable of being judged by the quintessential formula movie criteria, just as the title character of Beera. Intriguing one moment and scary the other…the movie captivates in parts.
Starting with the cast, Abhishek Bachchan plays the role of a villager who is supposed to be at ten places at once. He is a law unto himself and has his own parameters of measuring right and wrong. Patronized by people of his village, he also manages to terrify those who go against him.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan excels in certain scenes. I particularly liked the scene where she prays to God to give her strength and not to expose the good angle of the enemy. Her beauty is well captured and all the close-up shots prove that it is possible to speak volumes through your eyes.
Vikram who plays a police officer, Dev, makes a good Hindi debut. Priyamani in a brief cameo as Beera’s sister leaves a mark, especially in the scene where she returns home from the police station.
The strong point of the movie is the inspiration that it draws from the Ramayana making it a modern day adaptation of the epic. There is the good brother (Vibhishana), played by Ajay Gehi, who wants to make peace with Dev and the ruthless brother (Kumbhakarna), played by Ravi Kishan. And then there is also a very entertaining Sanjeevini (Hanuman), played by Govinda, who helps the police. Nevertheless, there is a slight twist in the tale which adds to the suspense. There’s also the excellent cinematography by Santhosh Sivan and Manikandan. Every scene is a visual treat. The music of A.R. Rahman is good, but not the best in recent times.
The major disappointment was the screenplay. We have the trademark ‘Mani Ratnam’ flashback to present scene switches. The movie fails to sustain interest and loses narrative pace at times. There are also some unnecessary scenes like the attack on the police in the beginning. The ten facets of Beera aren’t effectively portrayed and though the character has a scope for awesome histrionics, its impact on the audience is weakened by the large effusion of actors who just come and go. There is an abrupt end to some characters like Sanjeevini and Lakhsman. Aishwarya’s screaming tends to go a little overboard and Abhishek seems slightly repetitive.
What Raavan loses in all these aspects it makes up with its technical brilliance, novel conceptualization, and the hard work of its crew which is evident in each frame. Abhishek brings a certain vulnerability to the brute and we can’t help but sympathize with Beera. In the end one is left to conclude that any person isn’t born good or bad…it is just the circumstances which make a man what he is and decide how he behaves. A memorable experience indeed.