Ravanan is probably one of the hardest movies for which I'll be writing a review for. For most people who have already watched the movie, when they think in retrospect, it becomes easy to term it as 'very disappointing; or 'a complete waste of their time'. Well for one thing, this verdict shows the still conservative, yet to be unconventional mindset of the general audience towards Indian cinema. The most important aspect that I learnt after watching the movie was that, one cannot ever question a filmmaker's viewpoint, especially not of someone who has brought Indian cinema to great heights with movies such as guru and Bombay. Usually in the initial phase, a director has his thoughts aligned in a manner which only he can understand. It is converted to the screen only when he brings his ideas to everyone's comprehension. It is the latter fact that Mani Ratnam has not brought to complete satisfaction, which though he might be clear of, in a way puzzles the audience. In this film, the director has made us understand the importance of looking through a particular situation or argument through a different perspective, more specifically, a perspective which we might fear to judge. Ravanan can be said to have a definite storyline comprising that of a modern storyteller's as well as the ancient sage's. The modernized and refurbished version of the Ashokavanam episode and lanka war is re-enacted and cinematographed in different locations with different character descriptions and names, different, yet similar situations and most importantly looking from a different viewpoint, the perspective of Raavana himself, who we are accustomed to the knowledge that he is the villain.
The idea is different and definitely in the best of its ways. Not everyone is ready to take a blind shot at the vague parts of an epic like Ramayan and Mani Ratnam to the most part has handled the concept well. The support team including the expert actors have contributed to their best and have brought their abilities to near perfection. Vickram as Veera steals the movie with ease, giving one of his best performances. The fierceness in his depiction of modern day Raavana is apt and does quite a lot of justice to Valmiki's image of Raavana. Aishwariya rai who plays Ragini, modern day Sita otherwise, gives another artwork that will always remain as one of her pioneer roles and so do Prithviraj and Priyamani who play Dev (lord Rama) and modern day Shoorpanaka respectively. On the technical front, the music though not the best work of A.R. Rahman does pure justice to the theme of the story and BGM gives you a wonderful thrill. But, the most exemplary aspect of Ravanan is the direction of photography by Santosh Sivan and V. Manikandan. The lens men have captured the scenes in a manner seen never before in Indian cinema. The location, the camera angles and clarity are brought to near precision and gives the most delicious treat to the eyes of the viewers.
So what could be the possible letdown for the movie, to begin with, it lacks clarity towards the climax which most usually matters to the audience because it is the final sequence that tend to have the final impression on them. The ending is clouded with smoke giving no clear idea of the exact feelings of Ragini toward Veera and the tryout of grey shading Prithviraj's character tends to be a little more than required. The scene where he ruthlessly shoots Veera's brother gives us a feeling of hate towards dev and love for Veera. Apart from all these things, once you step out of the movie hall, you are forced to think back about the story, about the characters and most importantly, whether you liked the movie or not, you have a propensity of conflict in your mind about who was right and who was wrong. After all that's what cinema is all about, the primary aim is to make the audience analyze and contemplate and Mani Ratnam pulls of that objective with finesse. With Ravanan, the director has carved himself a niche in greatest epitome of Indian Cinema.
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