Actors: Vikram, Aishwarya Rai, Prithviraj, Prabhu, Karthik, Priyamani
Director: Mani Ratnam
Producer : Maniratnam
Camera : V. Manikandan, Santosh Sivan
Music director : A.R Rahman
Distribution : BIG Pictures
Singers : Vijay Prakash, Mustafa Kutoane, Keerthi Sagathia, A. R. Rahman, A. R. Reihana, Tanvi Shah, Benny Dayal, Shreya Ghoshal , Karthik, Mohammed Irfan, Shankar Mahadevan, Anuradha Sriram
First things first. ‘Raavanan‘ is not what everyone thought so. It isn’t a contemporary adaptation of Ramayana. Instead, it’s the Valmiki’s epic meeting Shakespeare’s Othello. The master filmmaker Mani Ratnam has apparently taken inspiration from these greatest works to narrate a gripping story in his own inimitable style.
‘Raavanan’, right from the day it went to floors, has been rising a huge hype and hoopla. And expectations soared a never before high before its release. Does the end product lived up to all? To this question, the answer is- With a huge star cast chipping in with their best, mesmerising shots, crisp editing and riveting music, ‘Raavanan’ ends up satisfying the appetite of the masses.
All credits to Mani for rendering a movie that is engrossing and entertaining from the very word go. With Vikram around, his job seems to have simplified. The duo end up giving sheen and shine to every scene, which unfolds at good pace. With the best of best in the business like A R Rahman (music) and Santosh Sivan (cinematography) joining hands with Mani, the battle seems to have been won even before it began.
If Mani can be considered the captain of the team, it’s Vikram who helps make all his dream a reality. As Veera, he comes out with one of his finest performances. He is not just ruthless, but at times emotional, sentimental and humourous. Veera is an epitome of emotions, which Vikram has brought out well.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is not far behind. She catches up with Vikram frame-to-fame. As a bewildered Ragini, who is kidnapped by a mighty man, she brings out the right emotions. Worked hard for her role, running in jungles, sliding from cliff. Prithviraj as Superintendent of Police looks stylish and apt for role.
The storyline is nothing new to Tamil cinema. It is basically a revenge drama. But what is entertaining is the way Mani has made the script and screenplay. Man of many accomplishments, he has ensured that it has class and mass elements in them.
The movie begins with Veera (Vikram), a dreaded don and his men fighting cops and taking away Ragini (Aishjwarya Rai). Ragini’s hubby Dev (Prithviraj) is Superintendent of Police in Thirunelveli district who is already behind Veera who has over 60 cases pending against him. But he is ala Robinhood in the forest for his kind heart.
The cat and mouse begins between them. Dev is joined by a DSP (John Vijay) and they enter the forest. They get the help of a former forest guard Gnanaprakasam (Karthik), who knows the nook and corner of the jungle.
Meanwhile, Veera keeps shifting Ragini from one place to another with his elder brother Singam (Prabhu) and younger sibling Sakkarai (Munna) helping him. Veera is also helped by the villagers in every act of his. Ragini even attempts to end her life, but Veera saves her. In the meantime, Veera and his brothers manage to catch hold of the DSP and physically harass and torture him.
Angered at their act, Ragini pours angry words. When she questions as to why he has kidnapped her and is abusing a cop, an agitated Veera narrates the reason for all his acts. In a flashback, it is revealed that the death of his sister Vennila (Priyamani) had provoked him to do so.
Vennila along with her brothers lead a happy life until her marriage is fixed. On the day of her wedding, Dev and his men enter the wedding hall and attempts to bump off Veera, who along with his brothers flee from the place hoping that Vennila would be protected by her husband. However fearing life, the bridegroom runs away leaving her. Her modesty is outraged and she is forced to end her life. Brothers then vow to avenge Dev.
Now cut to present, Ragini starts to sympathise Veera. The hot chase by cops for Veera continues until Gnanaprakasam prefers to come all alone and broker peace with Veera. In return, Sakkarai goes to meet Dev and agrees to end everything. But he is killed.
Now it is all up to an angered Veera to go hammer and tongs and teach a lesson to cops. At one point of time, Veera allows Ragini to go with her husband. But Dev makes sure Ragini meets Veera once again. What is his motive and what happened to Veera is the climax.
It has been a gripping narration from the very first frame. After ‘Sethu’ and ‘Pithamagan’, another side of Vikram’s acting credentials is exposed. As Veera, he is at free touching almost every aspect of acting.
Aishwarya is pretty and comes out with her best. Prithviraj and Priyamani have taken the challenge of being part of a Mani Ratnam’s film and delivered their best. John Vijay walks away doing a negative role.
Karthik as forest guard fits the role to T. His expression and body language are something interesting. Equally attracting is Prabhu. Munna as Vikram’s younger sibling gets a meaty role to play, which he utilises well.
The shots especially in the huge jungle, water falls, hot chase and stunts have been canned at their best. The tone and texture is amazing. All credits go to Santosh Sivan. Rahman’s music is the highlight and it gets more sheen with the way it has been shot. ‘Veera Veera…’ and ‘Usure Pogudhey…’ still chime in our hearts even as we walk out of theatres.
Running for little more than two hours, ‘Raavanan’ will go down in the history of Tamil cinema as one of the finest and best. Cheers Madras Talkies and Mani Ratnam for rendering a class movie that is racy and entertaining too.
Making of Raavanan
Raavanan Movie Making – Interview
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