Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ravanan - The Vulnerable Veera

With oscillating interests and subdued expectations, I went to see the movie "Ravanan". The thamizh version of Mani Rathnam's movie.

A movie that has an awesome and a break taking presence on your senses.

The story has its roots in the Ramanaya, the epic close to every Hindu's heart. Ram is played by Prithvi Raj, the young police officer, who is transferred close to a forest area only for capturing the notorious criminal "Veera". Seetha, is Aishwarya Rai. "Ragini" as called in the movie - wife of Prithvi Raj. Ravanan, is played by Vikram. The criminal hiding in the forest and who is searched for by the Police.

The first scene opens up with Vikram standing high and mighty on top of a hill and plunging deep down into the cliff into the water. His presence reverberates through the audience and whistles and claps echo around.

The story starts with Veera abducting Ragini from her boat. She is then blindfolded and taken to Veera's hideout in the mountain where Veera plans to kill Ragini to avenge his sister's death. But while he is at it, Ragini boldly confronts him with her fearlessness and lashes out at him saying that no one but she is responsible for her own life and that he does not have the right to take her life away. With that she drops down from the cliff into the yawning valley below where the water flows. Veera searches for her down the cliff to find her floating on top of a tree and slowly falling into the water. And at that instant, he falls in love with her. A beautiful moment indeed! Captured well by the camera and Rehman's music.

What follows from then is Ramayana. Dev (Prithvi Raj) follows with his commandos into the forest to rescue his wife. Ragini tries escaping many times only to be captured by Veera again. But after a few attempts, Ragini realizes that Veera has fallen in love with her. She is given a saree from one of the women in the village. She is given a name "Kurvamma" by Veera. She is given the freedom to roam around. Ragini stays for her Dev to come and rescue her.

Though Veera abducts Ragini to avenge the death of his sister who was humiliated by the police, he falls in love. At a "maatraan thotattu maligai" (a jasmine in another man's garden). He never touches her. He never forces her. All he wants her was to decide to stay back in the little village in the forest. He tells this surrounded by little children on a coracle with Ragini standing on the shore. A beautiful way of communicating love. Ragini is just lost for words.

Does Dev find Ragini? - As per Ramayana, he must indeed! After all, he is the disciplined and brave police officer who values duty more than anything in his life. But now, arises many more questions. Is duty more important to Dev than love? More than his wife? More than sensitivity? Ragini does ask him whether he has come to the forest to rescue her or to catch Veera. Did Seetha ever have this question for Rama?

Is Veera the bad man? - As per Ramayana, he is indeed! After all, he has abducted another man's wife. But now, come the queasy questions. Is a man who is sensitive to a woman, bad? Is a man who does not touch a hair of his lover, wicked? Is a man, who in his most vulnerable self, proclaims that he wants to meet Dev and ask him why he met Ragini before he did, a villain? Is a man, who saves Dev when the latter is hanging on a falling bridge, only for the woman he has fallen in love with, selfish?

Who does Ragini choose? - As per Ramayana, she chooses her Dev indeed! After all, she considers Dev as her God. But then, she could not avoid tears from slipping out from her eyes when she learns how brutally Veera's sister was molested by some policemen who are reporting to Dev. She could not stop from staring at Veera when he was dancing merrily with his clan to celebrate a victory. She could not stop from praying to God pleading him to give her strength to hate the evil and not fall for the good in them. She could not believe it when her husband says the Veera spoke ill of her. She could not shoot Veera when the latter gives her the gun to hold it when he is searching for her husband in the cliff. She could not hide the tremor in her eyes, the cry from her lips or the shake in her hands that were desperately trying to catch the falling Veera.

Ramayana is an epic. Rama is God. Ravana is a villain. Seetha is the impeccable wife.

But every coin has two sides. There is a Ravana in a Ram. There is a Ram in a Ravana. And any Sita would oscillate between the two...Ragini is no exception. And that's why a whisper escapes from Veera's soul when his body is falling down the cliff. A whisper that says that he will be back to love her again...

The movie began with Veera sliding down the cliff. The movie ends with him slipping down its edge.

The first one with life, the second, without life.
The first one without love, the second with love.
He really did fall in love…didn’t he?

Many people in the theatre were glued to their seats even after the end. And many more were engaged in a discussion about the movie even after 12:30 in the night when the theatre starting emptying.

I am tempted to watch it another time too :-)

The actors have played their parts so well that it is tough to believe that they are not the characters themselves. Vikram's performance was outstanding. The man has rawness, a larger than life presence, and the ability to standout as powerful yet vulnerable. Standing ovation to this hero who lives the character he plays.

Aishwarya Rai has matured in this movie. She is no more the nubile hip shaking doll that men would love to play with in their dreams. She is a woman with a mature sensuality. She knows what she is doing and she is doing it well.

Prithvi Raj - This actor has blossomed into a very handsome hunk in this movie. The role of a police officer suits him very well. With his slanting eyes and muscled shoulders, he reflects sensuality and power. A song :-)

Prabhu, Karthik, and Priya mani have done their parts very well too.

The hero who needs many accolades is the camera. The awesome beauty of Adhirampally falls and the lush greenery of the forests transport us to a different world. The color of forest, the color of water, the color of sandalwood, the color of Rai's eyes, the color of love, the color of life - a fine performance, dear cameraman.

Rehman has done his part in the situational songs. The more you hear them, the more you will like them.

And, the Director takes the crown! I have fallen in love again Mani Rathnam. With your creativity, your sensitivity, your stories...

Ravanan - a movie that will make us peer back into history, will allow you to unravel the mystery of time that has slowly eroded the rights and wrongs of the forgone years, and will let us play with the lovely mystic ball called life...and death.

In love with Ravanan,
Kalps ;-)

Source : http://kalpscolumn.blogspot.com/2010/06/ravanan-vulnerable-veera.html?spref=tw

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