Raavan, like all Mani Ratnam films, explores the dichotomy of good and evil and subtly questions the validity of what is good and what is evil. Like in Roja, Dil Se, and Bombay, Mani floats the question mark over the value of human life and the dubious right of the state to annihilate life in the name of eradicating evil.
Mani takes the basic elements of the plot of the epic Ramayana and serves a contemporary menu with a dash of Stockholm syndrome.
Beeru (Abhishek Bachchan) is an uneducated but cultured and ethical man with a sense of justice and lives in a remote tribal village. The tribal people consider him as a farishta and saviour of the people while the police led by IPS officer Dev (Vikram) consider him as Raavana and wage a war to liquidate him. Beeru kidnaps Ragini, wife of Dev. A police contingent led by Dev start searching for Ragini, who is making desperate attempts to escape from captivity. She comes to know about the reason why Beeru nurtures such a vengeful grudge against the police.
Ragini is finally rescued by Dev, but she returns to Beeru. Why? Is it Stockholm syndrome at play?
With the added strength of a well etched author-backed role, Abhishek Bachchan gives a fantastic award winning performance. The blue-eyed beauty Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, looks more mature in emoting, she crawls, craves, cries, crashes, screams, cringes, cribs, cat-fights, combats and comes out with a scintillating performance. Vikram is convincing and credible as a ruthless police officer. Govinda has a typical role as a forest guard. Priyamani is good in her cameo. All others essay their characters well.
Mani Ratnam comes out with a story that is cleverly crafted with a gripping screenplay and a well structured presentation. He has used the visual idiom to good cinematic effect. Mani’s take on the value of human life and the essence of the theme and narration is reflected in two dialogues; one in the beginning when Aishwarya asks: Is Beeru a Raavana or a Robin Hood? Then towards the end, Abhishek shouts: Who is Bhagawan? Who is Rakshasa?
Ar Rahman’s music and background score adds the flavour to the moods of every scene. Sivan’s cinematography is outstanding. Choreography, Action orchestration and audiography are thrilling. Editing is crisp. Production values are high.
Raavana, like all Mani Ratnam films deserves a visit to the theatre. In spite of the weak premise and lack of solid story content, the film runs smoothly creating enough interest in the narration. Lack of the essential elements that draw repeat audience may affect the box office.
The Cast and Crew
Abhishek Bachchan,Aishwarya Bachchan, Vikram , Govinda ,Manisha Koirala, Ravi Kishan Nikhil Dwivedi,Tejaswini Kolhapure,Shobhana ‘t Like
Director: Mani Ratnam
Producer: Mani Ratnam
Music Director: A R Rahman
3 out of 5
Review by Deen Kumar
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