Mani Ratnam, a talented visual storyteller who directs action crisply and fills the screen with striking images. Mani's shot-taking is expectedly, a class part -- this time, he experiments with multiple cameras offering multiple takes of the same sequence and does it effectively too. His back-and- forth method of story-telling fries your senses. He adds a bit of the Veerappan touch to Beera's character but it's totally half-baked. Actually Ratnam takes his time with his desultory first half, creating stunning scenery but listless characters. It’s only well into the second half of 'Raavan' that Ratnam breaks out of his stupor, and starts giving us a film. In short, the film's first half is choppy and bewildering but tight, while the second sprawls all over the place, overlong and exhausting. Mani Ratnam excels in his choice of locations -- it's like nothing you've seen in a Hindi film before. This is when the cast is allowed to play on a level field, and not compete with gorgeous waterfalls and steep cliffs and twisting vines, the fruit of Santosh Sivan’s customary magic. You allow yourself to be lured in to the beautiful Pandora-like forests -- how we only wish the characters were like Avatar's! Also he loses no time in declaring his intentions -- that this is going to be more Raavayan than Ramayan. He attempt to draw parallels with the Ramayan makes certain situations laughable. The pace is annoyingly slow and some of the crucial dialogues cannot be understood at all. There is more noise and screaming in the film than impacting or moving dialogues.
In short Mani’s film is an action-drama cum musical but despite the bullets and vertiginous action the drama is extremely boring. The Tamil version is better directed, better acted, and better edited, with music that’s organically welded.
2 / 5