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Jan 28, 2011

Raavanan

Raavanan is good. I have always believed Raavanan, the real one in the real epic, suffered misportraiture at the hands of victors. The inescapable short end of the stick that favor the vanquished might have distorted the real Raavanan character as well. Mani Ratnam in AD 2010 tries to bring some justice to the man and he recruits actor Vikram(real name John Kennedy, no Fitzgerald) to the task.

Vikram is magnificient in his portrayal of twenty first century Raavan. I saw the tamil version. Prithviraj is the anti-hero, aka Ram aka the bringer of justice. If you had any doubts, you can lay them to rest after watching this movie, it is indeed Kaliyug, where else can you find Lord Rama as the anti-hero?

The same Kaliyug is also responsible for Aishwarya Rai (aka Sita Maiyya) pancake make-up. She is gorgeous at 37, but Prithviraj who plays her husband is a good ten years younger and it shows despite the make-up. Indian movie industry is hard on women, Aishwarya is going as far as it'd let any woman to go without becoming another Rekha.

Cinematography(Manikandan and Santosh Sivan) and locales are brilliant. Maybe this film will win the best movie award for national integration based on just the shooting locations. Raavanan's village is set amidst the picturesque sarson ka khet (or mustard fields) of Punjab, they go to temple to perform pujas and weddings at the architecturally quaint Lakshmi Narayan temple at Orchha, Madhya Pradesh, they hide out in the scenic surroundings of Athirappally waterfalls in the forests of Kerala, sometimes hiking over to Malshej Ghats near Pune or Saheb Kuthi in Agarpara(WB) for a neighborly chat. The whole of India is Raavan's one village, ""Yatra Viswam Bhavathyeka Needam"" as they say in the Vedas.

Raavanan is a brilliantly executed film. It should have been a hell of a task shooting simultaneously in two languages with slightly differing set of actors. Definitely worth a watch.

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