By the time I write this everything would have been said and done about Mani Ratnam’s modern epic. So before I start here goes. This is not a review by any means. People have done too much of that already; some of them justifiable, most of them done just for the sake of it. So let me try and answer a few complaints against Raavanan.
1. Lack of Storyline: This one is indeed an LOL. For those stalwarts who came out with such a complaint, I have only one advice. Before searching for a storyline in Raavanan why don’t you try and read a great Indian epic called ‘RAMAYANA’? You will be surprised!
2. Same old Cliché in the name of screenplay: Mani Ratnam is the man who gave us Alaipaayuthae. Remember? The film with such brilliant intertwining of the past and the present and the trend setter in non linear screen writing among Indian films! He is the man who gave us Aayitha Ezhuthu; Another trend setter simply for the use of a single scene from different perspectives to tell different, albeit, interconnected stories. Isn’t he allowed to tell a story using the well trodden present- flashback- present mode for once? As for the charges about the deadening pace of the screenplay, where was the promise of a racy one on the first hand?
3. Lack of depth in Ash-Prithvi Romance: What does the title ‘Raavanan’ suggest? Did it give any ideas that there will be a generous dose of romance between Ash and Prithvi? It screams out with clarity as to who the protagonist is. So why should there be depth and detail in the romance of Ash and Prithvi? Isn’t the fact that Ash is Prithvi’s wife reason enough for him to go in search of her? Why should there be proof of their love or romance in the form of a lengthy flashback replete with cheesy scenes?
4. Poor Characterization (Ranjitha, Vayyapuri, Karthik): How many of us have seen Vayyapuri in films these days? Is he a mainstream comedian who has been handed the ignominious role of a eunuch thereby bringing disrepute to his stature? Would there have been a complaint if a real eunuch had played the same role instead? Just because we know Vayyapuri we feel that his character lacks definition. Same goes in case of Ranjitha. The role essayed by Ranjitha could have been essayed by any amateur. The fact that it was a famous face led to this complaint. And we all know how Ranjitha became famous!! As for Karthik, he himself stated in a recent interview that the offer to act in Raavanan was like a lease of life for him to force himself away from his confused career path and drug inflicted past. And he did bring in a few laughs mind you!!
5. Mani’s Confusion about the good and the evil: Sorry people. Mani is very clear about who is good and who is evil. As a matter of fact he shows it in the film itself. The Tirunelveli tribes follow Veerayya as if he were a Messiah. For them he is a do gooder. The police are the evil. On the other hand, in the eyes of the police force, Veerayya is an accused and Dev, who is a dutiful police officer, is the divine incarnate. The simple concept behind this is that the definition of a person as good or evil depends upon an individual’s perspective. A person who is good in your eyes might be evil in someone else’s.
6. Mani Ratnam has failed to deliver: Well, when did he ever promise?
Watch Raavanan for what it is... An age old epic retold with never-before-seen splendiferous locales of India as its backdrop; A visual treat which takes your breath away, courtesy the magical lenses of Santosh Sivan; A Film boasting of a Million Dollar performance by the mercurial Vikram; A film that catches the rustic tunes of Indian Folk and brings it to your ears via the musical brilliance of A R Rahman.
Don't watch it for what you think it should have been.