I don’t have a clear answer either for the ‘How was Raavan?’ question or for ‘Did you like Raavan?’ Of course, the answer for the second question is definitely not a ‘No’. But it isn’t a whole-hearted ‘Yes’ either. And that’s why I didn’t even attempt to write on the movie all this while.
Spoiler Alert (But I guess this won’t matter since most of you might have watched the movie by now.)
This time, surprisingly for a Mani Ratnam’s movie, there was too much publicity. This too much hype and publicity was, to me, one of the disappointments as far as Raavan is concerned. During the launch, Vairamuthu, while talking about ‘Naan Varuvaenae’ (Jaa Re ud Jaa Re) song, gave the hint that this song comes when Beera dies ‘indha maNNai viTTu sellum boadhu’. And then some other article mentioned that Beera’s sister dies on her wedding night and that is why Beera takes a revenge on Dev!
What if we had not known that this movie was based on Ramayanam? What if the cast/crew/media hadn’t knowingly or unknowingly disclosed some important parts of the movie in interviews and articles? Wouldn’t it have been a different experience altogether had you not known much about the movie beforehand? How I wish I hadn’t read any news about Raavan at all!
With the sequence of Beera jumping into the water giving you a glimpse of not just Beera’s character but also the terrain that’s going to form a backdrop for the entire movie and the quick montage of scenes showing the different violent acts that Beera and his men do showing you the kind of men Beera and his men are, the movie begins even as you get to know more about the character of Beera through the lyrics of the title song ‘Beera Beera’. I didn’t mind the fact that ‘Beera Beera’ wasn’t picturized as a song sequence.
Dev’s flashback scene tells you what Dev’s mission is and where he is, besides showing the perception of who Beera is in the eyes of the police.
With the context and the characters established in the first few scenes itself, while the remaining first half of the movie was nothing short of a spectacular journey through the forest with Santhosh Sivan’s/Manikandan’s camera making each and every scene a visual delight, I somehow felt that most part of the first half of the movie wasn’t doing much in terms of taking the story forward. But the cinematography and some amazing background music did keep me fully engaged.
The scene where the locals each tell about a different facet of Beera to Dev and his team of policemen didn’t appeal to me much. I would have preferred something more subtle.
Apart from Beera getting fascinated by the show of courage and fearlessness of Ragini, the relationship between them doesn’t get developed much in the first half, since Ragini’s opinion about him doesn’t start changing. That is one of the reasons why I felt that compared to the first half a bit too much seemed to be packed into the second half. And even in the second half, not all the scenes managed to create an impact on me.
Coming to the songs, I liked the picturization of Behne De and Kata Kata. But then hasn’t Mani Ratnam always been able to capture the atmosphere of a wedding perfectly? Jaa re ud jaa re, though was great when it appeared in the background earlier in the movie too, it was when it was played in the end that it sounded absolutely amazing! The movie opening with a song with high energy levels like Beera Beera and ending with a haunting track like Jaa Re Ud Jaa Re, both songs being on Beera and having apt lines, seemed to perfectly trace the journey of Beera!
I didn’t have a problem with the fact that the background of all the characters or why Beera is the way he is or what are all the good things that he has done for the people is not clearly explained in the movie. In fact, I liked the way whatever is needed to be known about the character and their background at that point of time in the movie is shown in a few short scenes itself. Maybe some things were shown at an abstract level.
But it’s just that I felt that something was missing when I look back at the movie overall. Anyway, this being a Mani Ratnam’s movie, these are just my initial thoughts after the first viewing. There will be a lot more details and nuances to be observed in almost all the scenes and I can’t wait to discover those soon.
On a lighter note, as the movie ended, the first thought that came to my mind was ‘Ramayanam’ was more peaceful than ‘Raavan’ since it was just bows and arrows that were serving as weapons. 😉
The stunning locales, the brilliant cinematography and the amazing music definitely make this movie deserved to be watched on the big screen! Please do not watch it on thiruTTu VCDs!
P.S.: I am going to soon watch Raavanan. I have read so many reviews which say that Vikram was much better than Abhishek Bachchan. Let me see who I like more in the role of Beera.