The modern world sometimes reflects ancient mythology. Mani Ratnam borrows from the Ramayana to artistically portray such an example on screen. It’s just that though, ART!
Ragini (Aishwarya Rai) pays the price for Beera’s (Abhishek Bachchan) animosity against her husband SP Dev (Vikram) when she’s abducted by the dreaded man with 10 minds. Beera is the barbaric leader of the tribe that rules Lal Maati, SP Dev’s new domain.
Only it’s not his to rule as he discovers. Beera is either worshiped or feared by the people for his twisted ways. Ruthless in murder, he finds pleasure in it and he gives Ragini 14 hours to live before he savours her death. Those hours turn into 14 days when Ragini’s daring takes him by surprise.
As Dev searches for his wife with his troops and a jolly, tree-hopping forest guard (Govinda), Ragini draws Beera in as she boggles his already demented mind. The cinematography is truly poetic in depicting the sublime beauty of the fierce surroundings, just like the exquisiteness of Rai in contrast to a savage Beera. Paired with the music it’s almost haunting.
However the first half seems to be very repetitive and the story doesn’t move forward. The second half reveals the reason for Beera’s wrath against Dev. As it unfolds it makes you wonder; maybe we are too strong in our opinions of good and bad.
The slow beginning builds up to an exciting end and unpredictable climax. Ratnam’s ode to Rai’s raw beauty although breathtaking becomes monotonous as does her constant screeching. Abhishek proves that he is best suited for a gray character with his crude expressions. The stunts and dialogues aren’t convincing.
There is nothing new in the story but the true brilliance lies in the mastery of the camera and the skillful direction. Its very tasteful and arty. Something a commercial audience might not appreciate. Go for it if you don’t mind a dull story in bargain for some outstanding filmmaking.
Raavan is like an arresting painting in motion.
Contributed by Raashi Malhotra