I am usually not a big fan of Hindi mainstream movies, and so had not planned to watch Ra One. But free tickets and some pressure from friends, I ended up going. I went expecting a bad movie, but decided I will enjoy some mindless action, perhaps good special effects and check out Kareena in that sexy red sari in Chammak Challo. But right from the outset I realized that this movie will not meet even my very low standards! SRK doing a Tamil nerd impression is painful to watch, the 'aiyyo' and eating noodles with curds by hand, are jokes that only a six year old would find funny. Not only is there no story, there isn't even an attempt to have a story. The special effects are a yawn (as one reviewer has said, nothing you wouldn't have seen in umpteen Hollywood movies, actually even on HBO!) and the sci-fi explanations (Ra One and G One coming to life are not even explained!) are lame. There are utterly ridiculous and pointless fights, like outside the airport, which go on forever. The song sequences make no sense, even for a Hindi movie, where usually the trick is to use a dream sequence. There are no other characters in the movie, other than a pointless and very unfunny Satish Shah. The finale is boring, predictable and pointless. Oh and the kid is annoying (typical NRI brat types, who of course has the computer skills of 10 top hackers in the world put together, utterly unbelievable). Only, and I mean only, 5 minutes in the film that entertain is the Chammak Challo song.
The Mahabharat is the oldest Hindu epic and incorporates hundreds of characters woven into a single story. The beauty of this epic is how it manages to bring fantasy and reality together. The epic (like the Greek mythologies) are full of fanciful tales of magic and imagination yet the people that play out the parts are real people with real dilemmas, contradictions, ambitions, jealousies and weaknesses that we can all identify with. Most Indians however look upon it as a religious work and revere and worship it instead of appreciating it. The T.V adaptation reflects this. The characters are diluted, the dialogue melodramatic and the acting amateurish. Given that it was an Indian production the special effects are as advanced as my 6th grade high school drama productions. What is needed is a sweeping production not unlike 'Ben Hur' with 'Harry Potter' type effects. Maybe 'Lord of the Rings' will serve as a template for any aspiring producer!