After much needed hype for a man , who by the way like majority claim to be is, NOT a magician from madras, neither is he a prodigy.
He is the cleverest and the crisppiest storytellers in Indian Cinema which blinds any wet eyed- wannabe critic who either loves Ilayaraaja or Kamal Haasan.
Mani Ratnam has definitely been important in Indian Cinema , more importantly am proud to say here , Tamil cinema.
He has a niche for capturing those insignificant significant moments in Drama that make a screenplay extra-ordinary. Whether you accept it or not he is a commercial director , but yet he comes out unharmed among cynical critics because of his knack. Mind you , this knack is not something to be ashamed of.
The trailers of Raavanan and the hype it gathered was substantial enough to make me drunk with curiosity and get to watch this movie on the very first day.
Mainly because of a man who painted pictures for M.F.Hussain in Meenaxi.
Yes , Santosh Sivan.
Mani Ratnam is a tenacious filmmaker who realises and respects production value and is not a freelance artist.
He does compromise a lot. In subtlity ofcourse.
But most people refuse to accept this.
He is as rightly put , a successful director and therefore a great one. NOT vice versa.
But He definitely is not as real as it comes.
He loves drama and off late was experimenting with themes.
It had started with Ayitha Ezhuthu (Tamil)/Yuva(Hindi) ,(seen in Thalapthy too), I don’t know whether it might continue , but what you see in Raavanan is a poignant poetic theme.
In the interviews given before, Mani had reluctantly disproved of any similarities drawn to the age old epic.
But what he wants us to do is the exact same so as in breaking a taboo as rethinking the would be-s.
Yes, it is the Ramayana and yes so many stark ,obvious similarities.
Who would have not wanted to be Tony Montana in the Scarface?
Veera is as happy as a child being the bad guy.
There is a scene in Raavanan were Veera gives up his mask and smiles genuinely at how happy he is to see that Raagini (Aishwarya Rai)has returned.
He thinks its due to the fact that she had accepted to stay back in the forest if he promises not to harm Dev.
Vikram’s Veera is a worthwhile Getorade, bursting with energy in all directions , vivid are his days because he spends them to the full and giving meaning to nature’s purpose.
He is driven by a vulnerable yet will-strong Raagini and is seldom drunk with rage of the thought of his hunter , the Obssesive Dev , due to some ambiguous but yet not that ambiguous happenings of the recent past.
This in short is the crux of Mani’s latest.
With some inital hiccups ,the screenplay wanders in the first half.
But it all focusses and turns the mirror (Raagini) which had first faced only the White (Dev) into a transparent lens(Raagini) between the White and the Black (Veera), thereby conveying the taboo breaking yet age old morale of agnotism, that everybody has a little bit of grey in them.
The focal point of the whole movie being Raagini, is one among the audience and is first confused of the violent vigour that Veera’s huge bulk imposes on to her/them.
She is not ready to succumb to his earthy charisma, his biceps , his will , his power and his rough gentlemanliness.
Her bosom looms in prespiration and tightens to a cleavage with a dimming hope and exaspiration of whether Dev would come rescue her .
She prays to God to blind her from the truth and show her the blind truths i.e the good and the bad as abrupt shocks of life and not the stories or reasons behind them.
She fails. She learns it the hard way.
The truth prevails , but does it really pave way or lead anyone is the real question. The movie lacked dense character studies , but most of them were conveyed using heavy thematic symbolism. So thanks to Valmiki actually.
Suhasini didn’t fare well. In fact, her writing has what made the movie a professionally-slackening one.
I loved the second act the most as it had the life of the movie , The Flashback were Priyamani just wins you over in minutes.
Prabhu does better than his counterpart Karthik, who plays Hanuman or rather a drunk clown who jumps trees.
Mani has experimented with themes again after Ayitha Ezhuthu , to say the least..
I mean,Vikram wearing black and Prithviraj in white during a cinematic climax.. I mean Common man!
Anyways , Prithviraj donned a role of a see-saw under moon gravity. So I can’t blame him to come off as average.
He is obsessed in capturing Veer , not after his wife was abducted but even before that. But why this obsession? anyways.
It is just great to see Mani Ratnam back . That is all.
It is very stylish but substance seems to be shy on screen.
Its definitely not his best.
Fans would reluctantly will fight to differ , critics might unnecessarily rave it.
But he surprises with the ambient climax in the final act with Rahman singing us rich rhyme.
To finish on a much repeated note, I must say ,It would never be bad to watch a Mani Ratnam film.
I was, I am and I always will be adrug addict. A person who gets involved in drugs has to fight it every day.
(on American politics…)
“I think Bush is a murderer. I’m going to head the march against him stepping foot on Argentine soil.”
“My legitimate kids are Dalma and Giannina. The rest are a product of my money and mistakes.”
(recently on his rival to the ‘world’s best ever player’ award, Pele…)
“Pele should go back to the museum.”
(recently on the entire nation of France and its greatest football star…)
“We all know what the French are like and Platini as a Frenchman thinks he knows it all.”
(and last but not the least (my fav) on proving the doubters wrong…)
“To those who did not believe: now suck my d**k – I’m sorry ladies for my words – and keep on sucking it. I am either white or black. I will never be grey in my life. You treated me as you did. Now keep on sucking d**ks. I am grateful to my players and to the Argentinian people. I thank no one but them. The rest, keep on sucking d**ks.”