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Hi folks

We present to you, Rajasaval the comedy short flick produced by Spontic movies in association with Nina entertainment. This is the story of three young men who get into a whirlpool of trouble when one of them steals a bag. But that’s not all. The screenplay is experimental where it applies a drunken narrative to a roller coaster ride kind of a story. Watch it and leave your feedback.

-Spontic

Rajasaval – A film from Spontic Movies

After a few years of film criticism, Spontic has plunged itself into the sea of film making. Here comes the trailer of Rajasaval, a comedy short from Spontic! Watch it and leave your comments!

-Capjack

Aadukalam and Ko – Deformed twins!

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I am writing this, irrespective of the facts that Aadukalam has bagged a few national awards and Ko happens to be the biggest blockbuster of the season. I don’t want to be a judge of the judges but a simple observer spinning out my thoughts like a spider as I might compare and contrast both these ventures along the way with quite a few insights into them.

The first reason I chose to write about both these films is the nature of their screenplays: Ko, the K.V.Anand spectacle as I would like to call it, is made from a screenplay which is overcooked beyond the need, while the screenplay of Aadukalam, the rustic and enigmatic second Vetrimaaran film, is of which still needs to be worked in order to make a complete sweep. In many aspects, Vetrimaaran’s film is far ahead of Ko which holds the screen story lifted from the Russel Crow starrer, State of Play. K.V.Anand is another victim  fallen prey to the devil while waiting for his muse. To talk of how close the screenstory of Ko to the original would require me to pen down another article which I personally would hate to write. I am going to continue with my arguments assuming that Ko is another movie where the writer’s creative juices are abound.

Vetrimaaran’s film aptly titled Aadukalam is one of the most original movies ever made in the arena of Indian cinema due to the due credits given at the end titles under the heads filmography and bibliography as any research scholar would do. Like a novel, Vetrimaaran has split his film’s screenplay into two equal halves. In the first part we get to know about the prime characters, their locale and what rooster fights mean to them. The latter half portrays how a single man (Pettaikkaran) manipulates the situations to throw his traitors (as he thinks so because of the incidents in the earlier half) into the ring instead of the roosters for a change. This is where the metaphor of the rooster fight becomes complete in itself and the script justifies its title, whereas I don’t see any serious point in titling Ko as Ko. Ko is more of an urbane film which wonderfully takes us behind a photographer working in a reputed newspaper. For major parts its adventurous and action packed till the end which brings the photographer and his politician friend to terms. Ko is carried by a very thin line of story which is embellished by twists and shockers, which seem to work overtime.

Coming to the core of my argument, Aadukalam’s screenplay based on the metaphor, fails to ferry it throughout the movie reducing the genius of Vetrimaaran only to flashes. Considering the whole story as a metaphor, say the first half of the movie is the vehicle and the rest is the tenor. Vetrimaaran has worked out his vehicle to an exceptional extent much better than the tenor. The rooster fights, the cult behind it, blood thats wasted, lead’s romance and the Don’s grudge are fit well into the box of the first 83 minutes. But the remaining part, the tenor, seems to be very ordinary and with poor plot points falls short of its destination. This makes us to conceive that once again this is a cliched gangster story but in a different milieu. I am not going to bring out my perspective of how the second half should have been as it would cost me a script (atleast half of it). For instance, the anagnorisis or the way in which Karuppu learns that both he and Dhorai were tricked by Pettaikkaran is too bland and reveals the writer’s block. Aadukalam is a symmetrical movie which fails to establish its symmetry. Too much of creativity in the first half and the lack of the same in the second half makes aadukalam’s screenplay incomplete, forcing me to call it an artistic failure. Jumping on to Ko, which is totally different from the Dhanush starrer has got too much of interlinked scenes which irritate the keen observer to a large extent. In the first place, the hidden information that Vasanthan is an old chum of Ashwin is higly idiotic and unnecessary and sits on our nerves. Similarly, the screenplay wobbles while portraying the characters of the actual politicians inorder to provide the necessary deviations to strengthen the best of its plot points. Also in a song sequence we see a bunch of shots hinting us of a relationship between Vasanthan and Renuka which are carried no further. Probably the director wanted to be true to the English original but later on decided to ignore it. Though the film is visually spectacular, once after the second act, we realise that too much of scenes have been shot and the editor has been breaking his head to make them coherent like the sub plot we discussed earlier might have been removed but not without the traces. Though both are flawed, the screenplay of Aadukalam is superior to Ko, as the latter only attempts to ape the screenwriting techniques of  hollywood.

Like there are some bad misses even in a batter’s innings of a lifetime, there are questionable sections in Aadukalam’s seemingly invincible 1st half. Though created with a purpose, the romantic sub-plot which is undoubtedly a commercial addition to this middle cinema (as Mr.Vetrimaaran calls it) fails to play its role as a catalyst. As the plot begins to unravel with a voice over narrated by an omniscient narrator (How come a character from inside the story- Dhorai has got the same voice of the outside narrator?), it is told to us that everything started when once there was a rooster fight conducted outside the town. From there the story is propelled by a chain of events, making the ‘incidents’ essentially to be emphatic to carry the complex story forward. When Vetrimaaran tries to do so with scenes involving the rooster fights and the incidents involving pettaikkaran and gang it is convincing. But when he tries to do so with the incidents involving Irene, the lack of verisimilitude in the romatic subplot fails to convince us about the probability of the scenes. When Karuppu borrows a few bucks from Irene, she pesters him to return it which forces him to get on to the rooster fight against Pettaikkaran’s wish with the cock he has supposed to be killed. Here Vetrimaaran has established from the beginning that his love is as important to Karuppu when he cuts his hand and says ‘my love is true to this extent’ followed by a hackneyed pathos song. Adding to this later on we don’t see Karuppu taking Irene that seriously and going ahead. So it becomes a big question mark if he would go to the extent of opposing Pettaikkaran fuelled by the call of Irene pleading for money. The Irene subplot which supports the film stupendously from the commercial perspective fails miserably when not tied up primly to produce the intended effect in the first part of the second act. Another thing is the establishment  part, which is too weak where we get to know a few important information and emotional ties very late, resulting as a blackmark in the subconsious of the audience. Looking at Ko, once again the romantic sub plot plays the spoil sport here too.  The love episode between Renu and Ashwin is as foolish as it would appear in a dumb show without any emotion but only for a few laughs. On the other hand the portrayal of Ashwin is that of a superman’s and with his actions questionable, he is no more than the writer’s puppet. One good example of what a writer should never do is been shown to us in one of the plot points in the third act of Ko. When Ashwin tries to tell Vasanthan that the guy who was talking to him just then is actually the murderer and the bank robber, Vasanthan mysteriously brushes him away by replying that he’ll send the cops soon to get him. Immediately Ashwing goes to the naxalite’s hideout and spies when the police arrives there. Ashwin has not learned anything about the naxalite between the previous scene and the present scene. As per his friend’s word he has sent the police to wipe out the naxalites. As if possessed, Ashwin begins to travel as per the writer’s wishes and offers to save the naxals for no real reason except for the writer’s intent to move the plot forward in such direction. This particular blunder pushes Ko down headlong into the sea of errors similar to the way Aadukalam has got a character with the voice of the narrator when it is not the storytelling character. Once again these seem to be developed as a result of script-overworking or carelessness due to the confused writer who was probably lost in the various drafts of the screenplay.
At the end of the film Aadukalam, the one big question which I had was, why did Karuppu who is so loyal to Pettaikkaran to the extent of protecting his reputation by spoiling his own would go against his instructions in the first part of the second act (where he appearingly talks ill of Pettaikkaran to one of his comrades)? Similarly, many vital scenes in the film are quickly passed away in order make them more authentic (Even the plot points for that matter). But actually this doesn’t work as the scenes get pitched poorly somewhere between realism and naturalism failing to enthrall the audience though it has got the right charms underneath them. Ko on the other hand, is far away from being real or natural which is typical of its genre and is rot by too much of its commercial spells.

Irrespective of the pitfalls, Aadukalam walks tall with its amazing fortes. The amount of research done by the makers of the film is unbelievable and more than that it never hinders the flow of the plot as it happened in Ayan, K.V.Anand’s far better previous film. The dialogue is stunning in both Aadukalam and Ko in their own ways. One instance from Aadukalam would be “Ethana ‘trip’ solrathu?” We realise there are a number of expressions in our langauage that have not been explored by our dialogue writers. A well written bunch of dialogues spoken by wonderful actors can work big time as in Aadukalam. Though the culture and the slang of Madurai have been hackneyed to death by Tamil movie makers, Aadukalam is a brand apart from them. Dhanush’s change of body language to become Karuppu is amazing and nowhere he shows any interest to be Dhanush.The visual splendour of Ko is one of the best Tamil audience have ever seen and the only worst part here is that the best of Richard Nathan’s camera works are wasted on songs.

It is for sure that Tamil cinema has turned its head in the right direction for the future, but it certainly needs better creators to ride it ahead. People may be happy right now with imported stuff, but when the most original is made in celluloid here,they would definitely avoid them  and go for what is not stolen. Men who rave about piracy must think about the pirated content in their own productions since there is no point in arguing about the integrity in the sales of stolen goods.

- CapJack

Tucker and Dale vs evil – No mercy, only comedy!


If too open minded, Guys like Sam Raimi, Rob Zombie, James Wan, Eli Roth and Alexandra Aja might top the list of who laughed their bloody brains out after watching this Eli Craig flick, because they’re laughing at their own selves but twisted. In simple words, Tucker and Dale vs Evil is an endless parody of the horror genre beats, established by men like those who mentioned above. How many times have we have seen ‘a bunch of teenagers going away on a trip to a devilish forest and getting killed by some movie made psychopath sans merci’ films? And of course a bit of skin at first and a lot of blood and flesh later. Lovely girls turn gory corpses in no time when their boyfriends are busy etching out plans to get them out of peril. For a change, Tucker and Dale vs evil gives you a donut in the counter where you usually receive peppermints.

Tucker and Dale vs evil begins very ordinarily, but right at the exposition we get to know the light-hearted hillybillies Tucker and Dale who’re on a trip to their new vacation home. On the way they meet a bunch of college kids who look back at them as men to be avoided. Very soon they stay nearby, where one of the college girls, Alison (Katrina Bowden) is saved by Dale when she is about to be drowned. After witnessing Alison being taken away by the hillybillies, the rest of the crew runs away to make plans for later. The actual fun begins when Tucker and Dale keep the unconscious Alison in their cabin and wait for her friends to return. Very soon they’re bumfuzzled to death when they see the college kids beginning to kill themselves one by one. And here begins the evil!

Right from the start this flick is a funny roller caster ride but with blood all over. It makes you laugh in those scenes where you had squeamishly shut your eyes before. There is blood, gore and death, but no pain for fun . Tylor labine as Tucker , Alan Tudyk as Dale and Jesse Moss as Chad stand out from the bunch. Well written and well directed, the film takes its turns and twists at the right times and in the right way. The best part of this script is that it convinces and convinces you to the very end that there is no lack of verisimilitude in the film. The first and second acts march ahead in perfection and charm than the third act which hurriedly ties up loose ends. Characterisation is the best part here because its where the reversal which enables the genre to be bent to the max in the opposite angle takes place. For instance, the reserved Hillybilly, highly dumb psychology student(Who destroys the best opportunity to clarify things), an insane saviour boy and not to forget, the drooling bulldog. Music by Michael Shields and Andrew Kaiser is a typical but fine score for the horror genre which usually provides only hackneyed ques to be filled. David Geddes‘ cinematography shows the simple forest and cabin in a funnily terrifying manner with the use of warm lights and filters.

Since, after all a parody is none but an incongrouous imitation, there is a number of disconsonant moments in Tucker and Dale vs evil which had to be ignored if to be enjoyed. The scene just before the fade out which ends the fun is something too cliched even in a parody. In many areas the potentialities of further fun are lost for the parody’s sake. So next time when you’re watching a ‘bunch of kids and a psychopath’ movie, never recall Tucker and Dale vs Evil, else you might laugh, adding to the horror of the man or the girl next to you. If instead she or he smiles back at you, she or he has definitely seen Tucker and Dale vs Evil.        

Enthiran – Movie review

Enthiran – Needs an update

There was a time in the early 90s when we saw a lot of toy robots imported from Singapore flooding the shops and showcases. They made funny electronic noises which made kids happy. Probably Shankhar wrote Enthiran by that time. Kalanithi Maran produced Enthiran is a middle of the road Rajini film with quite a few Shankar visuals. But the South Indian flavour and the Sun colors are enough to carry the film to the masses. Its time we came out of the movies of this sort.

The plot is simple. Vaseegaran (Rajini) a scientist invents a robot called Chitti(Rajini) assisted by two morons (Santhanam and Karunas) without even attending to his girlfriend Sana (Aishwarya Rai Bacchan). Vaseegaran wants his invention to become a part of the Indian army. Due to a few experiments which go haywire and the robot’s lack of emotions, Dr.Bohra (Danny Denzongpa) one of the members of the AIRT board disagrees to approve the robot. When Vaseegaran tries to imbibe emotions into the Robot, he fails. But when accidentally the robot acquires  emotions, problems begin for the relieved Vaseegaran. His creation falls head over heels in love with his better half. As the antagonist tells Vaseegaran just before the intermission, the story begins here. The movie starts with a very simple Rajini introduction and ends with a massive Rajini bonanza.

Rajini rocks as usual. Whatever he did in his earlier movies is repeated heretoo but in the robot’s skin. Humour and Rajini save the first half that otherwise would have become a big mess. When the robot runs over the train coupes like a control pressed cursor in text editing, we drop our jaws. There are a lot of other interesting chunks in the movie you should look out for. Inspite of the scenes which remind us of Judgement day, Iron man and transformers, Enthiran remains original. But the base line of the story takes us to the science fiction writers of the last century. Probably they were the sources of writer Sujatha’s inspiration. The final 25 minutes of the movie is the yummy chocolate piece which is hidden at the bottom of a cornetto ice-cream. Shankar and Rajini were successfully able to enliven up a dead script that has got no USP except Rajini, Visuals and the last of the eye candies:Aishwarya Rai Bachan. Rahman’s grand BGMs add salt to the movie and try to tie the audience to their seats during the song sequences. Shankar’s innovative vision even in cliched areas make Enthiran interesting in flashes. For a movie made from a cost much lesser than Matrix and Iron man, Enthiran’s visuals are amazing. Hats off to Shankar’s vision and the effort put in by his team.

Enthiran’s script goes haywire once we get back to our seats after the intermission. Shankar uses the MGR formula of a 3 songs after the interval which drains our energy and gives us a patience test. The script loses focus and clarity to the commercial purposes after the interval and makes Enthiran look like a Perarasu movie for a while till Shankar comes back to claim his place in the denouement. Also the ways in which the robot charges itself and the methods used by Vaseegaran to destroy the robot are hilariously illogical and outdated. Come on guys, we’ve grown up. Through out the movie robot makes noises that keeps us in the 80s. Once again Aishwarya Rai plays a dumb doll role toeing the lines of great Indian heroines. The second half of the movie lags and puts you to sleep despite a trio of Rahman numbers and wakes you up with a big noise at the end. Shankar’s vision to make extraordinary visuals is laudable. But his imaginative faculty which we saw scaling great heights in Mudhalvan and Indian falters in Enthiran. With an uninspiring story which runs mercilessly for almost 3 hours he had made Indian cinema a laughing stock. Lack of intelligence and common sense may be liked by the masses but not by any intellectual movie buff. The million dollar question that why most of the Indian film makers always fall short when it comes to good writing remains. The audiences have developed and are muffs no more and they deserve to be respected and not to be fooled.

Even A.R.Rahman’s BGMs don’t work in most parts of the latter half, while his songs are peppy enough to pull audiences out of their seats for a dance. R.Rathnavelu seems to be the master of Enthiran with his amazing camera work. Peter Hein’s stunts are kind of repetitive and need tweaking. Anthony Gonzalves still needs to check the movie once more for scissoring it’s sprawling length. .  Sabu Siril‘s set designs and architecture are amazing but again they’re ‘grandeur supporting nothingness’ in a few areas.   For those who were angry when SRK called robot a half baked story, see and know for yourselves. Enthiran says, I am a layman’s eye candy.

Kalavani – Show stealer!


Kalavani opens Director A.Sargunam‘s Kodambakkam account with Pasanga fame Vimal as the lead and the Poo fame SSKumaran as the composer. As per the title, Kalavani is an awesome Romantic rural comedy with quite a number of interesting and laudable moments. More than anything else, Kalavani launches Sargunam as one of the best writers in India whose mellifluously interwoven screenplay wins the audience’s heart right from the first scene. With a no-wonder story line which almost appears inadequate for a 2:30 hours movie, sargunam has spun his scenario like a shrewd spider. Kalavani does to comedy in Tamil cinema what Paruthi Veeran did to tragedy. Both of them have a similar story thread but with a wild difference.

Kalavani‘s story belongs to antiquity: Boy meets girl, boy forces girl to love, girl loves, girl’s brother comes inbetween, boy wins. Definitely inspired from the likes of Bharathiraja, Kalavani is about Arikki@Arivazhagan (Vimal) a spoiled youth, falling in love with Maheshwari (Oviya), a girl from an enemy village who also happens to be his arch rival Ilango’s (Thirumurugan) sister. To be straight, Arikki wooes and wins Maheshwari resolving the longlasting conflict between the two villages. After a long time we see a movie which is seamlessly interspersed with agriculture, the real backbone of India. Filled with fun and frolic, Kalavani‘s crosswire is on the lighter side of the Tanjore belt villages. Hailing from one such village Sargunam has stuck close to his own life experiences, which makes the movie rooted and very Tamilish.

Going by world standards, Kalavani’s screenplay deserves a place among the world’s most original scripts. Unlike recent comedies which failed to tickle our ribs, Kalavani is loaded with a lot of laughing gas. Vimal’s unblemishing performance as Arikki along with Soori and co is evidently a memorable one for years to come. Ovia, the girl from God’s own country shines throughout, in her reactions more than her actions. Ilavarasu and Saranya play cliched roles of dumb parents but only to superexcellency which almost camouflages the ordinariness of their characterisation. Thirumuurugan, the associate director of this movie handles the antagonist’s role well. His amateurish and doubtful acting adds on to the attitude and body laguage of his character. Kanja Karuppu once again plays a Malvolio, which caters only to the groundlings. But Sargunam, places his characters at the right blocks of his screenplay making sure that everything and anything counts. Throughout the movie, there are a number of unexpected and humorous incidents which wake up the laughing hyena in us. There are too many hilarious scenes in Kalavani to make us go into splits. If you watch it in a crowd, make sure you’ve ample space to roll. Apart from comic scenes, there are a number of surprising and shocking moments in Kalavani to keep us busy. Though a comedy, Kalavani stands firmly on logic and speaks through every single one of its frames. Kalavani‘s biggest strength is the candid portrayal of Tamilnadu’s tradition and what the recent panaromas have done to it.

Dubbing is one of the major flaws of this film. In most of the scenes, the lip movements don’t go well with the audio. Along with poor dubbing, the Tanjore dialect makes it too difficult for the outsiders to comprehend the dialogues. Adding to this, the screenplay is so very naturally crafted that we miss a few subtle plot points landing up in doubt and chaos as we always do in real life. A boon becomes a bane here, demanding very serious attention to every single detail. Things go fine and raise our expectations but leave us disappointed, when Arikki doesn’t do anything new to get his girl in the third act.Though well made, Kalavani is after all one of those picaresque movies which glorify a rogue.  Apart from this, the director sets the stage immaculately before getting his corrupt lead onshow, which justifies every act of this Kalavani.

With a handful of neat numbers and unpredictable BGMs, SSKumaran contributes in a great deal to Kalavani. Raja Mohamed‘s editing is sleek and gimmickless which makes it one of the main fortes of this talkies. Omprakash‘s cinematography scores in slow moving and static shots, rather than in the steadicam shots. With no violence and profanity, Kalavani‘s success once again proves that films with originality and good narration are always ahead of movies with nonsensical technical grandeur and those pointless remakes. Kalavani says, I’ll cheat, lie, bluff and what not, but still you’ll like me!

- Spontic

Raavanan – Muscle , wrestle and the spectacle!


Vikram once said that, as an aspiring actor he pledged to quit acting if once happened to be in a Maniratnam film. His dream has come true. Vikram plays the lead Veera in Raavanan, the most anticipated Maniratnam movie of this season. Aesthetic technicians and star performers deliver us a typical adventure action film with a lot of Indian sensibilities and a bag full of Rahmanic tunes. To bring in the plot of the movie would be a mere waste of time since Raavanan is Maniratnam’s reinterpretation of the Great Indian classic Ramayana. For those who haven’t seen the movie yet and curious about it, Raavanan is a post-modern retelling of the classic Ramayana with a twist.

Raavanan’s plot  unfurls around Vikram who plays Veera aka Raavanan the Robin hood of the Tirunelveli forest with a bunch of villagers including Prabhu. Aishwarya Rai Bacchan plays Ragini, the reincarnation of Sita and Prithviraj plays the tough cop Dev, who is the duty oriented Ram of this version of Ramayana. A simple online search would tell you the no mystery story line of Raavanan. More than  anything else, the locations and the ace cinematography make Raavanan a most important film in the history of Indian films. Kudos to the technical team of Raavanan. The exotic set designs in a misty forest surrounded by waterfalls allow the Director to convert even his most ordinary shots into bizarre and unblemished ones. Raavanan is an eye candy with a good story and a mediocre screenplay.

The narrative technique used by Maniratnam is an age-old way of telling a story, except for the few areas where he adapts the Martin Scorsese like non-linear intercuts in adjacent scenes. But at the end of the day, the screenplay stands out as something cliched but  well told. The next hurdle for Raavanan comes in the form of Suhasini‘s dialogues, which miserably fail to travel along the film’s sexy texture and tone. Too much of information and artificiality mar even the otherwise good exchanges. Though Veera’s  multi-faceted characterisation is an advantage to the plot, it stops at an intellectual level failing to connect with the audience.

Vikram stands out in the film with his killer looks and the dandanakka refrain. Hats off to his million dollar performance. Since the film falls back heavily on feminism for its interpretation, Mrs.Rai Bacchan occupies most of the screen space and time and does justice to her almost perfect character as the beautiful hostage. Prithviraj’s merciless and menacing demeanor flawlessly suits Dev, the Superintendent of police. Other than these three, no character makes an impact on screen. Karthik who plays a pointless forest guard equated to Hanuman, Prabhu, the Kumbakarnan like Singarasu and Munna as Vibeeshnan come and go like passing clouds. Priyamani in Surpanakai‘s shoes,  just treads the same path as Paruthi veeran’s Muthazhagu and fails to leave a mark. Also there are no strong scenes to develop the unusual relationship that blossoms between Ragini and Veera. Ill-developed characters and lack of innovative storytelling spoil an otherwise lovely film. Maniratnam who dazzled us with great storytelling in Ayutha Ezhuthu,  disappoints us in Raavanan’s narrative.

If watched without a critical eye, Raavanan provides more than two hours of solid, quality entertainment(But not for the lay men). The early shots which show us the boat crash from below, the camera swing when Veera speaks to Ragini standing in a parisal, Dev’s angry cigarette stubbing, the falling down and climbing up shots, the great bridge showdown and  the final entry of  cops from the misty veil hail Maniratnam as one of the greatest directors of India today. When Maniratnam, Santosh Sivan and A.R.Rahman combine, this is the output: A visual spectacle with breathtaking shots carried to great heights by wings of music. The camera takes us everywhere: Under the water, inside the caves, into the waterfalls,  and even above the sky. Further it has eyed the forests of Chalakkudi, Ooty and so many other places of India with high-art seriousness. Sreekar Prasad effectively uses a number of inter-cuts to the end of intensified emotions to keep us entertained in a clichéd screenplay. The combination of colors have been immaculate in any Maniratnam movie and in this one as well. The final moments of battle is a perfect mix of instinctual mystery and technical mastery.

Though Tamil cinema has been borrowing heavily from the Ram-Raavanan myth ever since characters started to speak onscreen, this is the first time we see a complete reinterpretation of the epic. This attempt by Maniratnam is similar to what Anurag Kashyap did to the story of Devdas. Unlike Dev-d, Raavanan uses  ’ deconstruction’ in comparatively smaller amounts. But Raavanan falls short of Dev-d in terms of the narrative. Maniratnam succeeds as a man of good taste and  as a director but fails as a writer in Raavanan. Raavanan is not a classic but at the same time it is not a bad movie to be missed. Maniratnam’s Raavanan says I may go down, but I’ll walk tall in the  memory of not my lady love, but the lady who loved me.

-Spontic

Raavan – Muscle and wrestle.
Vikram once said that he would quit acting if he once acted in a Mani Ratnam film. His dream has come true. Vikram plays the

lead Veera in Raavanan, the most anticipated mani Ratnam movie of this season. Aesthetic technicians and star performers

deliver us a typical adventure action film with a lot of Indian sensibilities and with a bag full of Rahmanic music. To bring

in the plot of the movie would be a mere waste of time since it is Maniratnam’s reinterpretation of the Great indian classic

Ramayan. For those who haven’t seen the movie yet and curious about it, Raavan is a post-modern retelling of the classic

Ramayan with a twist.

Raavan’s plot  unfurls around Vikram who plays Veera aka Raavan the robinhood of the forest with a bunch of villagers and

including Prabhu. Aishwarya Rai Bacchan plays Ragini, the reincarnation of sita and Prithviraj plays the tough cop dev, who

is the duty oriented Ram of Maniratnam’s version of Ramayan. A simple online search would tell you the no mystery story line

of maniratnam’s Raavanan. More than  anything else, the locations and the ace cinematography make raavan a most important

film in the history of Indian films. Kudos to the technical team comprising Peter hein The exotic set designs in a misty

forest surrounded by waterfalls allow the Director to convert his most ordinary shoots into bizarre and unblemished ones.

Raavan is an eye candy with a good story and a mediocre screenplay.

The narrative technique used by Maniratnam is an age-old way of telling a story, except for the few areas where he adapts the

Martin Scorsese like non-linear intercuts in adjacent scenes. But at the end of the day, the screenplay stands out as

something cliched but  well told. The next hurdle for Raavanan comes in the form of Suhasini’s dialogues, which miserably

fail to travel along the film’s sexy texture and tone. Too much of information and artificiality mars even the otherwise good

exchanges. Sujatha sir, we badly miss you! Though Veera’s  multi-faceted character is an advantage to the plot, it stops with

an intellectual level failing to connect with the audience.

Vikram stands out in the film with his killer looks and the dandanakka refrain. Hats off to his million dollar performance.

Since the film falls back heavily on feminism for its interpretation, Mrs.Rai Bacchan occupies most of the screen space and

time and does justice to her almost perfect character as the beautiful hostage. Prithviraj’s merciless and menacing demeanor

flawlessly suits Dev, the superindent of police. Other than these three, no character makes an impact on screen. Kathik who

plays a pointless forest guard equated to Hanuman, Prabhu, the Kumbakarnan like singarasu and Munna asVibeeshnan come and go

like passing clouds. Priyamani in surpanakai’s seat just treads the same path as Paruthi veeran’s Muthazhagu and fails to

leave a mark. Also there are no strong scenes to develop the kinetic relationship that blossoms between Ragini and Veera.

Ill-developed characters and lack of innovative storytelling spoils an otherwise lovely film. Evidently Maniratnam needs to

update his storytelling software.

If watched without a critical eye, Raavan provides more than two hours of solid quality entertainment(But not for the lay

men). Right from the set of early shots which show us the boat crash from below the water surface, the camera swing when

Veera speaks to Ragini standing in a parisal, Dev’s angry cigarette stubbing on the criminals’ photo, the going down and

climbing up shots, the great bridge showdown till the final entry of the cops from the misty veil hail maniratnam as one of

the greatest directors of India today. When Maniratnam, Santosh Sivan and rahman combine, this is the output: A visual

spectacle with breathtaking shots carried to great heights by wings of music. The camera takes us everywhere: Under the

water, inside the caves, into the waterfalls,  and even above the sky. Sreekar Prasad effectively uses a number of intercuts

to the end of intensified emotions to keep us entertained in a cliched screenplay.The combination of colors have been

immaculate in any Maniratnam movie and in this one as well. The final monets of battle produce the intended effect with the

required momentum.

Though Tamil cinema is been borrowing heavily from the Ram-Raavanan myth ever since characters started to speak, this is the

first time we see an reinterpretation of the epic.  Maniratnam succeeds as a man of good taste, as a director but fails as a

writer in Raavanan. Raavan is not a classic but at the same time it is not a bad movie to be missed. Maniratnam’s Raavanan

says I may go down, but i’ll walk tall in the  memory of not my lady love but the lady who loved me.

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