Raavan Movie Review

Mani Ratnam is a  director who revolutionized Tamil cinema with films like Nayagan, Roja, Bombay and many more. In Hindi, some of his films like Dil Se and Guru are watched and loved even today. So quite obviously, Raavan starring Ratnam’s favorite actor Abhishek Bachchan carries huge expectations. The film adapted from one of India’s greatest epics, the Ramayana, also stars Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Tamil superstar Vikram, Govinda, Ravi Kissen, Nikhil Diwedi amongst others.

Raavan is an important film for Abhishek, who hasn’t tasted commercial success in a long time (Dostana was a multistarrer). But the film is most important for Reliance Big Pictures, who have invested truck loads of money into this Mani Ratnam film and are yet to recover from the Kites debacle.

The story is one that we all know. Raavan abducts Ram’s wife Sita in Ramayan, here it is Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) who has kidnapped top-cop Dev Pratap Sharma’s (Vikram) wife Ragini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan). On his way to rescue his wife, Dev Pratap is helped in the forest by Laksman (Nikhil Diwedi – Laksmana) and officer Sanjeevani Kumar (Govinda – Hanuman).

First the negatives, since there are so many!

  • What starts off as a promising film soon turns into a damp squid. Seriously, its hard to believe this is a Mani Ratnam film. The biggest problem with Raavan is the poorly written lead character of Beera. He neither looks menacing, nor does evoke fear. His makeup makes him look more like a buffoon and Abhishek just doesn’t get his dialogue delivery right.  And since the focus is entirely on Beera, you never really connect with the film.
  • The second half is a torture. Its stretched way too long, the pace is unbelievably slow and the Agnipariksha scene – where Ragini is asked to undergo a Polygraph test (Sach Ka Samna style) would have unanimously won the ‘worst scene of the year’ award, if there was one.
  • Also the film makes no sense, the writing is incredibly flawed. There are no twists nor any turns and if you know the story of Ramayana, this film is way too predictable. The whole sequence which was supposedly meant to be a twist – when Ragini actually starts getting emotionally attached to  Beera – is poorly written and executed.
  • Vikram as Dev Pratap Singh is wasted. He has limited screen time and absolutely no scope for histrionics.
  • Vijay Acharya’s dialogues don’t go well with the film.

Three and a half Positives

  • The well-choreographed action sequences, especially the fight on the bridge.
  • The cinematography – the locales, the jungles, the tough locations the film has been shot in –  have been beautifully captured by Santosh Sivan camera.
  • AR Rahman’s music is good. Behne De stands out.
  • The makeup artists get Aishwarya’s look right and she does well in certain scenes, which ain’t reason enough to watch Raavan.

The performances (in order)

  • Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is good in most scenes and looks incredibly beautiful for a lady in her late 30s.
  • Vikram gets it right in a short role without much scope.
  • Govinda is decent as Sanjeevani Kumar, although looks a little too old for the role. Nikhil Diwedi is good. Priyamani and the rest are wasted.
  • But what comes as terribly disappointing is Abhishek Bachchan’s performance. In every single Mani Ratnam film so far, Bachchan Jr has delivered, strangely this time around he doesn’t get it right.

Overall, Raavan is one of the most disappointing films of the year. The opening has been shockingly dull. The occupancy for some of the morning shows were as low as 15 – 20%.

Zero content with a poor opening spells disaster.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
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124 Comments

  • Many say the Tamil version of Raavan is much better. Vikram plays Beera in Tamil, according to many, has delivered a much better performance than Abhishek. Got to watch it with subtitles when the DVD releases.

  • now thats quite a pleasing review for a change of this khalnayak of 90s film..i remember the story is quite similar ..but then that was ghai and pulled it off sort of with choli ke peeche song
    what good can be the film in tamil and telugu too even with subtitles ..!!!!

    mani is obsessed with abhishek and aish wasnt guru enough???
    lets hope he doesnt take this couple for the next film .. i fellt in some of the publicity posters abhishek was making extreme faces ..with lot of deliberation gone into making the look menacing .. but i suppose he will not do anything menacing in the film like chopping off limbs etc..cut throat or butcher someone ..jusrt dark and brooding doesnt make the movie menacing…
    for the first time im seeing a rating of less than three by indicine bravo.. wish u had given the same to rajnutty..!!!

  • i will save my 40 bucks of single screen and 150 bucks of multiplex and watch it at home ona superfly download

  • @Indicine….
    I have seen the movie and it is an more than an average movie for me. Though the film have some drawbacks yet it had its moments. The scenes involving abhi-aish are well shot and chemistry looked riveting. The screenplay could have been tight. You are right that Abhi’s character have not been penned up well. He shifts from a pyscho to romantic in regular intervals.. The climax is good but could have been better…
    My review can be found at http://indiareviews.in/2010/06/18/raavan-movie-reviews/

  • @megha..
    Also the movie is so brilliantly shot and the cinematography by santosh is just brilliant.. Infact the locations look so breathtaking,,,

  • now what will happen to this duo?? rather trio?? where will they hide their faces abhi aish and mani sir??? it will turn out to be a better flop than kites .. these folks should forget bollywood and place themselves in some other field .. abhi shouldnt have acted anymore after drona ..but he still carries on for whom?? i wonder..

  • merely shooting the film in swizerland didnt make silsila a hit film dear ..all the picturesque only adds to the viewing pleasure ..so also the dances and item numbers but nothing can beat a taut spellbinding story

  • You are just impossible,,I wonder if you could ever like a movie,,you can criticize almost everything out there in the planet….

  • Indicine Team: but I didn’t get bored while watching the movie despite the flaws, despite Abhishek’s acting in this difficult role ( as I said he tried his best but probably failed to convince the audience specially in the last scene when he dies.. his acting was terrible!).

    I don’t know why Mani Ratnam didn’t give this role to someone else!! Why Abhishek?! It could be Shahrukh or John Abraham.. John fits in this kind of roles

    So the movie is gone be a flop!

  • and dear the worst of dhaba food please your taste buds i think… u just dont have any tast e for good cinema… how do u put yourself as a critic??? when u find no flaws even in a LAUREL HARDY COMEDY??? this film has been rubbished by almost all the critics and your review wants us to waste our money on this silly enterprise??? why are u so different from others?? maybe you are..!!! indicine and almost aeveryone including yours truly has given this minus rating and you are praISING IT TO SKY BECOZ OF LOCALES!!!!

    FATHIYA I KNO

  • w that the role was offered to srk ..good he didnt do this .. he is doing his own raone perhaps thats why..!!! and this coud have been only done by the most ugly actor abhishek

  • For your kind information the movie has got mixed reviews from the critics not just negative reviews. Have you heard of a critic called subash jha,,he has given 3.5 stares to raavan,,,,infact this movie deserves atleast 2.5 stars. I trust reviews of indicine but they messed up this time and as far as taran is concerned how can I trust him since he had given rdb and chake de 2.5 stars and to a dud like do knot disturb 4 stars. I dont make my opinions based on the reviews of other critics,,I wrote what I felt while watching the movie and yes Raavan works for me but in bits and parts. Dont call me being different or something like that becoz rajnneeti has attained the blockbuster status and it was only who didnt like liked movie,,,,

  • i still mantain that rajnutty is a bad film that it worked because of sonia connection is a different story .. ranbir kat were the draw ..but the film was absolute pittance

    i havw downloaded this ravan and im aghast to see the opening scenes followed by the beera song .. aweful intro .. ive haulted at the second one called behne de and im already fed up with jig jig of bachchan .. more to follow .. utter crap this

  • ask one sane person and he will tell you how utterly crappy rajnutty was ..!!! critics literaly mauled the movie just as they have done to rAVAN. I had already spelt doom for the film and as im watching it i can understand why… a snarling abhishek doesnt make him look macho.. aish looks plump right fully married with fat at all the right places with plenty of cleavage to show .. while the south indian aparichit is trying his best to speak his hindi correctly .. govindas monkey act was undeciphearable

  • onto the fourth song now ila arun screaming in the background while aish and abhi do a dance ballet.. what rubbish