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Unbearably loud, horrendously tacky and incomprehensibly silly is how I would describe Raavan in short.  But if short doesn’t do for you, read on…

Unbearably Loud:  Right from the first scene, the sound or rather noise of beating drums starts getting to you.  And then, loud is not only about the noise, the movie is even loud in its appearance, ABHISHEK’S (BEERA’S) MADMAN EXPRESSIONS, AISHWARYA’S (RAGINI’S) SCREECHING, VIKRAM’S (DEV’S) NATHULAL MOUSTACHE, almost everything in the movie SCREAMS at you.  The blaring continues right through to the end, it isn’t reserved for some special scenes.  It is just out and out blaring from start to finish.  There isn’t a moment of respite, not a moment.  There’s a slight hint of peace in a flashback scene between Ragini and Dev but even that is edited in 5 second parts regularly coming back to the present to include the unbearable noise. 

Horrendously Tacky: Santosh Sivan, for one, known for his ability to cover tremendous landscapes (remember Roja) seems to have just one task:  Forget about everything else, focus on the faces.  The cinematography suffers from an overdose of close shots, hand held unstable shots (which especially feels unbearable in action scenes), and lots and LOTS OF RAIN.  He has just worked on the entire film without a wide lens.  In every scene, the FACE occupies 70% of the screen.  Imagine 3 hours of in your face Abhishek who overdoes his long face and bottom lip pout and Aishwarya who overdoes her blue eyes and confused expression with loud drums beating in the background and again… a lot of rain.    There isn’t a single wide lens shot that captures the natural landscape coz. Mani Ratnam just doesn’t want to waver from the first family, or more specifically, their faces. 

Incomprehensibly Silly:  There isn’t a hint of a story in the movie.  If you let go the overdone references to Ramayana, it is just Mani Ratnam’s pretentious version of Road – Remember that movie where a madman (Manoj Bajpai) kidnaps Antara Mali and Vivek Oberoi follows them to get her back; Exactly the same – As silly and as tacky as RGV’s Road.  Just to align it to the Ramayana, there’s a monkey aping Govinda (Sanjeevani), and the unnecessary references to the characters as Raavan and the lie detector test that Dev asks Ragini to take etc.  At least Road didn’t pretend to be serious or an epic and in the process provided a few laughs.  What is disappointing is that at least with Mani Ratnam you do not expect absurdity; I still don’t understand why was Ragini trying to seduce Beera.  The way she looked at him, supposedly angrily, was actually more like seduction.  Dev’s ploy to trick Ragini in going back to Beera is… retarded.  In the climax, an entire special force fires at Beera while Ragini sits below on her knees unharmed by a single bullet.  On top of that, Dev is standing in front of the force while they merrily fire at Beera, from behind him while he’s untouched as well.  And what was Govinda doing in the movie? He doesn’t have a role; other than act as another sorry point of alliance to the Ramayana by his tree jumping antics.

There are bad movies but therein, you can find some respite, some moment that you can speak about or at least a rare fleeting glimpse of what could’ve been a good scene.  But Raavan is entirely incongruous right from the start to the end titles.

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