“Tum har saal Raavan ko isiliye maarte ho, kyun ki tum jaante ho ki woh kabhi nahi marta. Jo marta hai usse baar baar maarna nahi padta.” Yes. The villain gets the best dialogue in the movie. The movie which has mostly been receiving wide-spread negative reviews all over. So much so, that it can be easily said that whatever positive SRK tried to do for this film with his Over-the-top publicity has backfired on him to a large extent. That too, by people persuading other people to not watch the movie, and form a negative impression on minds even before they have actually seen the movie.
The movie, predictably, revolves around the villain. Shekhar Subramaniam (SRK)’s son Prateek thinks villains are cool, so the doting father creates a game wherein the villain is more powerful than the hero. Artificial intelligence makes the villain (Random Access – Version One ~ Ra.One ~ “Raavan”) self – aware and he comes out in the real world to seek vengeance and kill Lucifer (Prateek’s gaming ID). Familiar much? Yes. The film borrows heavily from Terminator, Matrix, Iron Man and other sci – fi movies of Hollywood. Shekhar gets killed by Ra.one and the superhero (The Good One ~ G.One ~ “Jeevan”) is brought into the real world to defeat Ra.One. Long story short, as expected G.One triumphs over Ra.One.
The movie does have its moments, but we will come to that later. First of all, this is not an all-shining, all-praise review of Ra.One. My intention is just to try to be objective and mention the pros and cons of this movie, and if possible, to persuade you to form your own opinions as I do not want to enforce my judgement on you.
First of all, the cons. The movie has a very, very weak storyline as opposed to the expectations the publicity created. The initial start is very boring and as first impression is the last impression for many, Shekhar eating ‘curd and noodles’ by hand, Kareena’s acting with the abuses, and others aspects are a little irritating but gladly the story doesn’t linger on them for too long. The movie, also has a lot of logical flaws in it. Clearly, the script writers should have paid more attention to the movie. Too much burden has been placed on SRK’s shoulders to pull off a miracle. And Ra.One is very un-SRK in the purist sense. He doesn’t play the charming romantic, or the perfect young man. Instead he is a father who quotes some really nice quotes but not all are well received. The editing could’ve been a lot sharper. Priyanka Chopra and Sanjay Dutt’s cameo do not evoke the kind of laughter they would have expected to. In short, the emotional quotient of the movie is sometimes low. Too many genres have been tried to be done in a single time, and fails to appeal consistently.
Let me mention one detail. Shah Rukh Khan’s character name is Shekhar Subramanian so I assume he is a Hindu. Now when he is killed by Ra.One the funeral is done in Christian tradition, and the body of Shah Rukh is put into a Coffin. Cut to next scene: Karenna and the kid are shown holding his ashes in their hands. Now I believe if you bury someone in Coffin there shouldn’t be any ashes.
There might be many such faults and those occurred maybe due to the screenplay being written by four people. The script appears muddled. Some of the scenes are surely entertaining but when one goes to watch a SRK film, one hopes to be entertained throughout, and sadly Ra.One fails to do so. The oblique mentions to vulgarity, do not go down well most of the time with the Conservative Indian Society, although the same young people enjoy the incessant cuss words used by their Hollywood counterparts. (For me, “Iski Lee, Uski Lee, Sabki Lee” was quite hilarious. 🙂 but again, that’s me and my slapstick sense of humour.)
Now, to the good parts. The movie has its fair share of moments. And never before has any other film from the Indian Film Industry carried such an awesome audio – visual effects package throughout. I can positively say, that every penny spent for the effects was worth its weight in gold. For me, the film was on par with many of the better-rated Western Counterparts. Ra.One is the most ambitious, most expensive and the most technologically complex Hindi film ever made. It pushes the envelope further. It is a film that will rewrite the textbook of computer graphics in Hindi cinema. At the same time, it is very Indian at heart. SRK’s role as G.One sweetly reminds you of My Name is Khan. And the basic message comes through. No matter how the world perceives you, if you’re good at heart, then you can win and achieve anything.
You do feel bad when the caring father designs a game so that his son would consider him a “dude Dad” instead of a “coward”. And when G.One quotes Shekhar’s sentences, and the subsequent help they are to Prateek in defeating Ra.One only reaffirms the sense of Good Triumphs over Evil, in the end. Simple quotes like:
“Beta, ye yaad rakhna. Burai tumhe kitni bhi cool lage… Par burai, (thinking for a while), par burai ACCHI nahi hai.”
“1000 log har saal cigarette peena chod dete hai.” “Kaise?? Packet pe warning padhne se?”
“Nahi. Marne se.”
And many others make you smile in only the way SRK movies can make you smile.
Next, the audio-visual effects. Believe me, the destruction of Victoria Terminus station in Mumbai is awesomely done. Reminded me of the way the movie ‘2012’ destroys prominent places of the whole globe. The basic paradigm we need to change is that Indians can do it too.
We see “Batman: The Dark Knight” and we easily believe that what they show in the movie can happen in the real world. But we see “Ra.One”, especially against an Indian backdrop of scenery, it becomes difficult for us to accept it at its face value. Sure, Spider-Man can save a train from falling off the bridge, Superman can hold it in one hand, but G.One, sorry, no, SHAH RUKH KHAN, a living being we know is no more than a mortal, he does it in a movie, it doesn’t have the same awing, inspiring effect on all of us in general.
My advice to you if you decide that you’re brave enough to watch this movie, keep an open mind. Notice the flaws, but equally notice the good things. Appreciate what you feel should be appreciated. There are various other negative rumours about the movie, but I won’t even give them any importance by writing about that.
Why I connected with this film was for two non-filmy, personal reasons. One, I have been reading the Ramayana series written by Ashok Banker, which is amazingly awesome, and describes Rama as only a human being, who is only living by what he feels is right. There was an instant connect, as when the movie picks up pace, I remember one quote by Sage Vasishtha in the novel: “Every epic is in its core a tragedy with a happy ending.” Symbolically, Ra.One movie was like that for me. In no way are the two comparable, but Ramayana can be used as a reference frame. My heart goes out to SRK, because sadly this film lost its track and couldn’t capitalize on the huge potential it had to become an LARGER-THAN-LIFE movie. But he has started a trend. There has been a huge amount of work done by the VFx team and it deserves a huge applause. The London Chase scene is pure adrenaline. Second reason, I have always enjoyed the concept of superheroes. One person (Read Batman, not G.One) rises above the common people, holds on to a set of integral values, and wages a constant war for protecting the people. Somehow, he becomes a legend.
As to people saying Shah Rukh is no more the King of Bollywood, think again. The only actor I believe comparable to him is Aamir Khan. Recent movies of Salman Khan and Himesh Reshammiya demand exactly the same amount of intellect from its viewers.
So for me, Salman Khan, doesn’t even come into the equation.
I spent some time researching on Wikipedia, and trust me, there’s no alteration in these facts:
Aamir Khan (Last movie 3 Idiots – 2009)
Years : 1988 – 2011 = 23
Movies hit : 25/33 = 75.75%
In last 10 years : 7/9 = 77.8%
As of Sept. 2011 (Not including Ra.One and Don 2)
Shah Rukh Khan (Last movie MNIK – 2010)
Years : 1992 – 2011 = 19
Movies hit : 38/53 = 71.7%
In last 10 years : 16/22 = 72.72%
If we consider Ra.One and Don 2 as hits, which they surely are, in the last 10 years, SRK has given 18 hits. While Aamir has given 7 hits.
These are the facts. I am not saying SRK’s movies are BETTER than Aamir’s. I am saying SRK has been working harder, and delivering more number of hits. I prefer genuine spontaneity to cold, calculated minds any time of the day. In 19 years, SRK will have given 40 hits. FORTY. While Aamir, in 23 years (4 more than SRK), will have given 25 hits by the end of 2011.
But then again, that’s my personal opinion.
I asked a few of the people whom I interacted with immediately after watching Ra.One, and what they said was equally true. I did not want this blog to be solely in one direction. So here is a review by my friend Devajeet Datta, two years senior to me. And what he says is another candid way of reviewing the movie.
This one was like one of those really expensive crackers you bought as a 12-year old and couldn’t just wait to see the fireworks, but were left cursing yourself when it turned out to be a dud. While Ra One does score in the special effects department, and has a decent plot, you just can’t resist cursing the scriptwriters 10 minutes into the movie.
There are parts where all common sense and logic are taken for a ride (‘Chammak Challo’ for your son’s birthday? Really??) and the humour fails to tickle your funny bone (It is especially frustrating when you are geared up for the proverbial good vs evil clash,and your hero catches fire on his genitals).
And if you are a gamer like myself, please take a moment to express your condolences to the poor guy who wanted to pull his company out of losses with a game having only 3 levels of one-on-one combat with only one playable character. Overall, Ra One is just for the eyes, and you are advised to keep your ears and mind shut while watching this.
And finally, for those who believe that the flaws should be excused, keeping in mind that it is bollywood’s first Sci-Fi superhero movie, might I suggest taking another 3 hours off from your busy schedule and watching a little something called ‘Mr. India?’
Thus ends this review.
If you found this complete post interesting, you might also like to read my earlier posts:
July 2011 – https://jondoe297svj.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/experience-is-what-we-get-by-not-having-it-when-we-need-it/
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