While driving back, I was thinking of Vikram’s performance in the new much awaited Mani Rathnam film, Ravanan. The gestures, the facial expression, the way he tilts his head and gaze, the roll of the eyes, the screams, the yell, the shout, the whisper….I was impressed, but something hit me. I have seen that before, and it was in a modest little film called Thambi and Madhavan utilised this higher-gear style of performance and it went on under appreciated. Since Ravanan is a big budgeted film helmed by who is perceived as one of the best Indian filmmaker, they will be dolling out awards to Vikram. Madhavan’s is still the best and most daring to me (considering the mediocrity of his film), but Vikram did well and should be one of the main reasons to watch Ravanan.
The other reasons? For one, the film is a visual feast for viewers. Fantastic cinematography, amidst the forest, and some wonderful action sequences should be the reason why you should start booking the ticket if you haven’t seen it already. The climactic bridge fight alone should make you sit through the movie till the end. Mani Rathnam hardly disappoint us when it comes to delivering fantastic sight and sound feast and he is not compromising it now.
Also to be noted is the performances of the supporting casts. Prabhu is well utilised, but being a fan I wished they had shown a lot more of him. For example, during a key point, Vikram is shown grieving, but the incident should also affect Prabhu who is Vikram’s brother. Nope, only focus on Vikram. And then, I realised this, showing a grieving Prabhu means eating Vikram for breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and that midnight trip to the fridge. That man is that good. But never mind.
Also, it’s nice to see Karthik back in full form, the man has never aged the last fifteen years and his physical fitness is well used, as well as his sense of comic timing. Pritviraj fits in well as a cop with dark side, and Priyamani shows up in flashback (the key incident I mentioned) and proves again why she is one of the finest actress of our time.
Which brings us to what was supposed to be the central part of the film – the heroine. Played by Aishwarya Rai, she again raised the question I had in my mind almost a decade ago: “Why is she still in the industry? What have I missed? Isn’t she easily one of the worst actress around?”. Here the filmmakers intent was, no matter how dirty, and messed up she is physically, make sure you get the makeup right. Anytime she rolls over the mud, falls into pit, she comes out still looking like she had just walked off the Miss World stage. Her character needs our empathy and I had a lot more sympathy for the transvestite character played by Vaiyapuri than her. She alone would have ruined the entire film if not for the redeeming factors I mentioned. It would have been wonderful if it was Priyamani playing that role instead.
Also, while the background score was awesome by the ever impressive A.R. Rahman, can they get him to lower his workload. There’s blaring music almost all the time, and with such gorgeous location, I would have loved to hear the sound of the forest a lot more, the trees branches swishing, the birds tweeting, the macaque screaming. I don’t remember any of that. Guys, ARR is great, but it doesn’t mean that you spread his music like a thick lather of jam over the bread.
There are loopholes in the script, and sometimes the dialogue gets heavy handed that you just don’t bother trying to understand the characters motivation and intent. Get your eyes feasted and walk out satisfied that it was worth the tickets, coke and pop-corn you spent on. Not the best Mani Rathnam effort, and not his worst. But definitely needs a visit in the big screen.