Saturday, June 19, 2010


He rehashed the Mahabharata, narrated MGR-Karunanidhi kadhai, Ambani ki kahani in his style. The next obvious story is the other big epic. A narration of a story as intense as this one requires the coordinated efforts of the cast and technicians. Maniratnam has managed to extract the best out of them but has he managed to convey his story well? Read on.

Baala kaandam

'Cheeyyan' Veeraiyya, the local demon/don/ Asuran kidnaps Police officer 'Prithviraj' Dev's wife 'Ulaga azhagi' Ragini vowing to kill her in 14 hours. But Ragini ends up being in captivity for 14 days 'coz he falls in love with her. Dev follows Veera, they kill each other's men, shout 'Veeera'
'S Peeee' alternately, a whole lot of dishoom, dishoom, kaadhal-modhal and ya, you guys know the climax by now.

Pak Pak kaandam

You do see a lot of Pithamagan in Veera especially the 'Pak Pak' bit but this man is terrific. Fab performance. Aishwarya Rai owes big time to Rohini, her dubbing artiste. Aishwarya Rai's Hindi dialogue delivery p$%^&* me off but what a total transformation in Tamizh! If 'Ice' is bearable in Raavanan, its purely because of Rohini.

Chalakkudi -Ooty-Matheran Kaandam

I want to take a holiday, NOW to the forests of Raavanan. A lot of effort has gone into choosing the right locations, erecting sets, rain effect, lighting etc. And filming a bilingual, getting the right shots in both versions would have been quite a task. Hats off to the production team!

Rahmana kaandam

Ok, this is not A R Rahman's best but like most ARR albums this one too grew on me. Usure Poguthey and Veera are my favourite tracks. Wish I had more of the former in terms of picturization. Does ARR owe some money to the likes of Benny Dayal and Anuradha 'Keechu kural' Sriram ? Why use people like them for songs that sound super duper in Hindi with the renditions of Sukhwinder and Rekha Bharadwaj?

'Sundara' Kaandam

V Manikandan and Santosh Sivan take the film to a different league. I am usually not for 'Look-at-me-I-am-the-cinematographer' kind of compositions but I shall make some exceptions for technicians like Mani(kandan) and Santosh. The look is very 'Kulu Kulu' to the eyes and that's what keeps you hooked to the film perhaps.

The big 'Dasavatharam Ranganathar' like statue and the temple somewhere in the middle of the forest in the 'Kodu poatta' song are very 'set'ty but Art Director Samir Chandha has managed to make the village look natural.

The 'Sundar' part of the Raavanan is Prithviraj wasted as Aishwarya Rai's brother..sorry husband.

John Vijay as Inspector Hemanth and Prabhu as Veera's brother are just apt for their parts. Prabhu of late is doing nice and cute roles (Ayan).. I like . Pretty Priya 'Soorpanagai' mani - why don't our Kollywoood directors in other films cast her more often in decent roles like this one? She is good.

Un-Sundara Kaandam

Ranjitha of Nithayananda fame comes in exactly 3 1/2 scenes and her screen time is for about a minute or so. What a waste!

Aishwarya Rai's costumes are terrible. Those Anarkali type gowns, brassier-instead-of-blouse with a saree are ugggh.. Ada-chi to Sabyasachi.

Aishwarya Rai herself looks like a kezhavi and honestly her no-makeup scenes scare you. No jokes. Watch out for this scene where she speaks to Veera playing with kids. Kezhadu tattiduthu paattti-kku.

Karthik as Gnanapragasam didn't work for me. His 'vazha vazha kuzha kuzha' dialogue delivery
and over the top antics were pretty annoying. Shut up and go back to whatever party you were/are a part of, Karthik!

Dhanda kaandam

These bilingual things don't really work at times you know. Like for example, locations. 'Raavan' Beera's house [somewhere up Vindhyas] has these white coloured walls with these North Indian type temples around. The Tamizh version has obviously been filmed in the same locations. And hence there is a huge mismatch 'coz here is Vikram and gang speaking 'Enna leee, unna leeee' dancing outside temples that look like this

The next biggest compromise is on music. ARR to me is God! Like I said before I listen to Usure Poguthey atleast 10 times a day. But satisfying both Hindi and Tamizh audiences with the same kind of music is not possible. Some songs that sound fantastic in Hindi don't have the same kind of impact in Tamizh and vice versa.

Mani-Sir, Nikhil Dwivedi who plays Hemanth in Raavan gets beginning credits but not John Vijay who essays the same role in Tamizh. Why?

Ok pa, you guys are remaking Ramayanam.The whole world and its Rams and Sitas are aware of it. Why do you have to force these references to the epic, like Karthik jumping around like Hanuman talking about Sanjeevani, Ragini in captivity for '14' days, Hemanth's dialogue about Mookaruthufying Priyamani etc?

The director failed to convince me on Veera's love for Ragini. There is no depth in the relationship between Veera and Ragini. One would have connected with the film better had this been scripted better.

Raavanan -vs- Raavan

The one (word) difference between both the films - VIKRAM. His body language, dialogue delivery is engayo when compared to Sodappal Bachchan. Abhishek Bachchan is really really bad. If Vikram is Phd, Abhishek Bachchan is 10th fail, copy adichUM. Don't even go near the Hindi version. You will hate it.

Mani Sir, I know there's more moolah in Bollywood. But, could we please have one Agmark Kollywood padam from you with no Abhishek Bachchan, his wife and the likes? Graamathu accent, Asura type psycho characters work very well in Tamizh. Hindi audiences are not used to 'bhaiyya' protagonists, village belles, village fairs etc. That's very Bhojpuri , B-Grade Hindi for them. So let's not attempt something that we are not familiar with please?


Having said all that, the film worked for me because

-> It is tight, narrated to the point with no unwanted stuff [item numbers, comedy track etc.] and keeps you intact in your seat for those two hours and some minutes. This is an achievement in itself considering this becoming a rarity these days.
-> The last Vikram film I liked was Saamy after Sethu and Dhool. Cheeyaan is back with Raavanan. Honest and very very good performance. I liked.
-> Santosh 'God' Sivan and V Manikandan.

Raavanan - Ramayanam reloaded - 4 out of 5

44 Responses:

Sud Gopal said...

//Aishwarya Rai owes big time to Rohini//

"Marupadiyum" Rohini??

Ramya Ramadurai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ramya Ramadurai said...

Sorry, I removed my previous comment coz it was incomplete! :)

Ammani, neenga Kaviyarasu Vairamuthu lyrics patthi onnumey yezhudalaye!

My 2c - As far as lyrics go, other than Thok Di Killi, Gulzar does not hold a candle to Vairamuthu in any of the songs. I think Vairamuthu deserves a mention in your review.

- Long time lurker, one time commenter. :)

Mambalam Mani said...

I knew that the movie would be a sodhappal. Multiple languages la edupen nu kanganam kattindu thiriyaran, enna panradhu?
Will go see the movie just for Vikram's performance I guess (and of course our thala Rahman)

Karthik Sriram said...

Spot on review! Konjam Aish ah overa ottitel, but otherwise spot on!!

Anonymous said...

Bubbs - Priyamani ?
avala pathi nee onnum solalayae!!

Deepa Iyer said...

So right about Ada chi Sabyasachi - Ash could have done better with showing less cleavage... and Usure pogudhey naa ennamo nenachindu ponen.. picturization was something else ! :) nevertheless, good ! The double O podu to the locations and rain. Sure did make me want to be there... !!

UmaS said...

Good review...very similar to the ones I am getting from my other frnds, who have watched the tamil version...certainly, with Vikram doing his best the tamil version is bound to be the better one.

Aish does look so old...I saw in some songs in TV...

Teesu (very very Indian, very very good) said...

Habbbbbbbbbah. Happy to have got this. Made me giggle as usual with your 'ada-chi' moments:) WE continue our similar-music-liking tastes with Veera & Usure Poghude. Can imagine and imagine disliking Karthik's vazha vazha which frankly, might have let him down in Kollywood in the FIRST place! As for your presenting and insight into cinema, blogeswari na blogeswaridhaan. Don't wait too long to write next post, pliss.:)

Anonymous said...

late-aa vanthaalum latest-aa vanthuttey. Inimel thayavusenji regular-aa bloggun-go. Review padichen. padam(s) paathuttu, yegain padippen. Quality check and validation :) keep it going, I say: Blogavathar.

sunder sethuraman said...

Cul....I'm going to watch Ravaan..

Sreekrishnan said...

well written ... Mani's brilliance still in the movie and its in the titles. I dont think any one can do that ..

Mounaraagam, Thalapathy, Alaipayuthey, Ayutha Ezhuthu, Guru and now Raavanan .. samma way to show the title and start !

and the start of the movie - the first scene looked like that Ayn Rand - Fountain head start.

Kaarthik said...

Hi Blogeswari, welcome back with a bang. Good review. But wat abt the dialogues. They are just average, except the one between Vikram and Priyamani. Sujatha's absence is so evident. Suhasini should give minus to her dialogues in her "Nyaaya Tharasu". But Suhasini would have desinged costumes better. Sabyasachi is keen in showing Ash's clevage.

WhatsInAName said...

So, there is some hope, still. After reading umpteen bad reviews on Raavan, I was getting apprehensive about Raavanan also. am planning to watch it tom. Just for Mani and Vikram.
What's with Mani Ratnam these days? Why is he behind the bachchans I refuse to understand. pazhai mani yenga ponaaro!

Anonymous said...

Yes missing the 'maddy' days !!! I consider 'Kanathil muthamital' as his grandest master piece ... i miss the Aravindh samy days too ... Couldn t sink into the movie with these Bachans !!!


Welcome back, missed you a lot.
Thanks for the review. I too felt that A. Rai looked a little too old, esp older than her SP husband Prithviraj.

Yet to see the movie, though. Your review tells me I should do so

Deepa said...

aYYO, i LOVED this review!!!!!!!

Blogeswari said...

Thank you people

Deepa - the movie I think is running in Cinemax Sion. Do watch. Let me know if you need company. I'd love to watch it again

Ochre Face said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot.... after reading and watching soo many bad reviews about the movie..i almost gave up! I watched the hindi version first day night show in Chennai(being an ardent fan of MR) & i loved it!!
Couldnt believe it when the critics were rating it 1.5 stars and called it a Bore! A bore? when? where?
Now i want to watch the tamizh version and compare the performances [wrong thing to do..but still :)]
Nice to know the Prabhu-Karthik combo are back in a MR film as the 2 right hand men of the male protagonists!! brings back old memories :) :)

தக்குடு said...

Good review blogeswari akka! mechanic shopla bikeai part partaa kalatti chk pannara maathiri irunthathu unga review. appo padam paakkalaam illaiyaa??

Anonymous said...

If Vikram is Phd, Abhishek Bachchan is 10th fail, copy adichUM


i liked the film too.Vikram could have been used better but his performance in the climax gave a hint of his class.

Mani Sir,

Pls make only in hindi or in tamil.bilingual romba waste sir..neegalum rgv yum than craving for this attention from either side of the divide..

btw is mani's obssesion with ab family because abcl bought and distributed bombay ?


VpT said...

Thanks for the review. I went for Raavanan instead of Raavana and I quite enjoyed it. Unlike my friends who are venting theor frustrations abusing AB Jr on facebook :)
I didn't like Karthik flying around either though the "nose cutting" line, to me, fit in perfectly.
I agree with the 4/5 rating you've given completely.

Vinita said...

wow... this is what i call incisive analysis. and that can come ONLY from you. completely concur with ur review. keep writing plssss

Anonymous said...

Vikram fanboys sound so ridiculous when writing their reviews. You are clearly a Vikram fanboy.

Anonymous said...

If Aishwarya looked old how did Vikram look?

Anonymous said...

Hey blogeswari,

I was hoping you would review this movie and was I happy to read it...

excellent review...bang on...

but I liked Prthviraj - thought he looked very stylish :)

Yes we do need a pure tamil movie from Mani sir


The Visitor said...

Hi Blogi,

Nice review - finally a balanced review from you - I like. :)

You are usually too critical. :|


randomchutney said...

If you hoped (like me) Mani Ratnam would improve on his film making, move away from usual stereotypes, and be bold enough to challenge ingrained stereotypes, forget all about it when it comes to Ravan(an)!

In his lately well-established trend, he chooses not 1 but 2 well-known stories and fuses them for his storyline! The film is thus a peculiar tale of Ramayan(a) meets Veerappan and the utterly unoriginal plot and role portrayals flit from one story to the other.

Combine this with 'tableau' like scenes, ultra theatrical unconvincing dialogues, 2 dimensional uninspiring characters, cringe worthy acting and ill timed comedy for the most part, and unremarkable music.

There is some obvious symbolism of characters (Karthik / Govinda as Hanuman, ‘Veera’s 2 brothers for ‘large’ Kumbakaran(a) and ‘wise’ Vibheeshan(a)), scenes (array of stones where Ragini calls out to her husband akin to bridge built by Ram(a) to reach Lanka), dialogue references (number 14 depicting Ram(a)’s banished years in the forest) and colours (ill-reputed black for ‘Veera’ and auspicious white / yellow / red for ‘Ragini’).

The only redeeming features were the beautiful scenery of Kerala and Aishwarya's costumes!

What a disaster! He couldn't have done worse if he'd tried...

Suresh said...

Ha Ha Great :-) Writings ha ha enjoyed the funny writing.

Thalapathi - Karnan - Mahabaratham
Iruvar - MGR - Kalaingar
Guru - Anil AMbani
Bombaby - Riot
Roja - Sathiyavan Savithiri
Ravanan - Ramyana
Next Film - Kundalakesi :-)

May we mani is short of stories, we can give it.

Abhishek 10th fail ;) illai ukg fail ha ha when compared with vikram acting

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shalini murugiah said...


I enjoyed your review, that's for sure. Tickeled my funny bone! But just had to say one thing...

I hated Rohini's voice for Aishwarya. It did not complement her at all, her original voice in Hindi was SO MUCH better.


SurveySan said...

//Kezhadu tattiduthu paattti-kku.//

i dont think its that bad. this sounds more like poramais :)

Slogan Murugan said...

:) Will be worth the drama I guess. Will go ahead and see the movie.

Deepa Krishnan said...

Engayo poitta with this review. I was hoping to see a little more thittu/criticism for Mani Saar. Is he heading the KBalachander way with his recent movies?

Website's web said...

nice blog


Anonymous said...

Haa haa, 4 out of 5. You're kidding right. It doesn't deserve 2 either.

Chicago baby photographer Sri said...

I would like to smoke what you smoked either while watching the movie(s)or while writing this review...4 on 5 strike out of three Blogeshwari...sodhapitiiyeh

Anonymous said...

Semma kalai! I agree Vikram was a better poochaandi. Both films fail dhaan, in my opinion. Aana reval pota raavanan just pass, raavan 'no change' :D

lychee martini said...

Uh Aishwarya owes it to Rohini? I hope you were kidding. Her acting wasn't fantastic (in fact it was a mediocre performance)in the first place and she was not emoting the dialogues properly - there was obviously a lapse between her expressions and the dialogues. Given that, Rohini's voice seemed quite out of place. It just made her look dramatically challenged, or maybe she is so. (I was never a fan of Aish, though the next part might make you think so)

Why is it that we have become accustomed to seeing heroes who have absolutely no remnants of youthfulness and show no effort to better their appearance, but on the other hand shudder at the sight of an actress who shows the slightest sign of ageing? Besides, half the women in India look 10 years ahead after just 1 kid, and this refers to those in their mid 20s. Aishwarya Rai is touching 40 already, so give that woman a break. Unless you are still hung up on the idea of pubescent girls dancing around trees with old, old men (in which case I pity you), I see no reason why Aish shouldn't look her age.

By the way, what were you expecting her to wear as a captive? A Manish Malhotra bling bling? Just very curious, you know.

harimohan said...

as usual review unga isthyla nallarkku ...
saw hindi version agree on abishek ,ash to me still looks lovely
vikram kalakiyiruppar no doubt on that
enjoyed your blog also many comments in it

Meera said...

Jus saw this film.. owe it to the delay in being overseas!!
4 out of 5 is off the track.. i wudnt even cross 2.5 for the script and the cast.. reviewed it in my blog.
That said, your review gets a 5 out of 5.. dint read it till the saw the movie although was itching too.. since i love the humor and the structure of your reviews. Was ROTFL with kokkarakosamy review..
Keep writing(often) :):)

Anonymous said...

Manirathanam has become stale. There's no freshness in his movies anymore. Raavanan is a very tired and a predictable movie. There are new directors with fresh ideas. Summa to nationalize movie after movie it is becoming bilingual and crappy. Since he went to bollywood, his movies quality has reduced tremendously.

Tina said...

I agree with you...ou just have to watch the climax screen expression of's horrible. Sadly he would've gotten paid better than vikram. There is no justice in this world.