Saturday, June 19, 2010

(Don't) show me the Mani

I'm back. Back to normal. That's if I ever was normal to begin with. Feel great. I guess I can now stop googling all my symptoms like I always do everytime I feel ill. According to me I've nearly had everything from appendicitis to gout more than once.

Watched Raavan last evening so will dedicate this blog to tearing it apart since that's pretty much what it did to my evening. Don't worry, I won't ramble on like I usually do. Will make it quick and painless somewhat like taking off a bandaid.

So, Raavan was an adaptation of Ramayan. Now if you see the basic story of Ramayan there isn't that much to it (according to me atleast). Raavan kidnaps Sita who is finally saved by her husband Ram with the help of his brother Laxman and Hanuman. Raavan dies. Sita goes back to Ram who thinking she isn't 'pure' anymore after having spent some time with Raavan, makes her go through the Agni Pareeksha which she even passes and still he isn't able to take her back. Just not a good story like many of the fairytales we were told as kids. Good is not pretty and bad is not ugly (like in Cinderella, the Ugly Duckling etc).

In today's day and age no woman would put up with an Agni Pareeksha and I think India is screwed up enough anyway as a country with male dominance etc and people expecting purity tests before marriage to the extent that the hymenoplasty was invented. For this reason, I was hoping Mani Ratnam would change the story around and so I really hoped for a twist in the end thinking that might actually save it but unfortunately that did not happen.

The movie has been shot beautifully. Each frame looks like one of Monet's canvases. Aishwarya truly looks like a Botticelli angel. That's about all thats good about the film. Abhishek looks like a monkey. No wait, that's Govinda. Luckily his role is smaller so let's just give Abhishek the title. He makes funny sounds through the film, trying to pull a 'Joker' type character which comes off as somewhat neurotic. The only good thing was that both characters, that of 'Ram' and 'Raavan' had shades of grey and had equal amounts of good and bad in them making the audience not directly side with the good guy. Nothing else is even worth mentioning. Not even A R Rahman's music. This was definitely Mani Ratnam's 'What's your Rashee' moment. He totally killed it (in a bad way) when 'Ram' asks 'Sita' to take the polygraph test (his version of the Agni Pareeksha).

I'd give it a 3 on 10 for basically having no story besides the basic one of the Ramayan. 

Also, I didn't understand why they found the constant need to apply mud on their faces. I'm pretty sure it wasn't shot near the Dead Sea so don't think they'd make very good face packs.

Here's a more interesting version of the Ramayan.

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