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431 Responses to “Images from Raavan & Raavanan (updated)”
Abhishek is remarkable in terms of being that rare star who even when he was struggling refused some rather interesting projects. Because he felt he wasn’t ready for them at that stage in his career. This suggests a certain discipline. I actually don’t necessarily disagree with him. Most famously he refused Company. Then he wasn’t convinced about RDB. Now the latter seems to be a bone-headed decision (he refused both Aamir’s and later Siddharth’s role!) but nonetheless even post-Aks Mehra still had enough prestige. There was no reason to refuse this given some of the other stuff he was doing. Over the last couple of years he’s again refused a few very high profile projects that most of his peers if any wouldn’t have. But after 2005 many of these decisions are still not as bold as before he got his success. Getting back to Asoka I’m not a great fan of the film though it has its moments, principally cinematographic ones. I think the compromise Sivan had to make between his instincts and at the same time doing something minimally commercial with SRK had an unfortunate effect on the film. Which is a pity. Because this subject deserved a very good film. I love the whole Asoka story/legend specially with respect to Kalinga and its aftermath. Bollywood just doesn’t think in truly grand terms. Even Gowariker attempted JA, yes, but satisfied himself with simply making a bourgeois romance out of it. A lot more could have been done with that very subject.
Agree with your points on Asoka and the compromise ftom Sivan the first half hr and last half hr were what I expected from the whole film but the middle seemed to have been directed by any average Bwood director. I do have a problem with Abhishek over the films he turned down for the films he accepted despite his argument he wasn’t ready to take them on because in that sense he wasn’t ready for Lallan either as it was a tougher role to play to those he turned down. The good thing about him playing Lallan is the confidence it instilled in him to deliver on tough roles rather than playing safe which is what I felt he was trying to do in the early stage of his career. Plus the argument that he couldn’t get RDB and how Mehra would make it work was just a bad excuse.
My biggest problem probably lies with the fact that if he had accepted those films most of the silly arguments that are brought up about his talent and success would have been invalid. Then again life is full of if’s and but’s and he seems to be correcting his past mistakes by snapping up the challenges being thrown his way and thank God for that.
Again, while it sounds like a very promising and potentially very satisfying film, commercial success cannot be taken for granted. It certainly will be very strong down South and in Bombay. Am not sure if it will have enough to pull in audiences in those recalcitrant territories up North.
I think there will be some controversy. There always seems to be controversy with almost any movie in India. So there will be some controversy about the plot of Raavan. However I don’t think it will be too harmful to the movie or its chances of being successful at the box office in India or abroad.
“Most famously he refused Company. Then he wasn’t convinced about RDB. Now the latter seems to be a bone-headed decision (he refused both Aamir’s and later Siddharth’s role!) “.Agree!
also , he apparently refused lagaan (of all films).Then ended up doing utter crap like mumbai se aaya mera dost with lakhiya.
Although, these “mistakes” become clear only on retrospect, I think NOTHING can explain this except fooloshness- any whoch way one looks at it-this becomes even moe obvious when one looks at theother stuff that he was doing/being offered at that time- it is not that he left rdb/lagaan for somthing like guru or ravana- he just wasnt in the game- io think when he entered te scene was more naive and raw about bollywood street-smartness surprisibly ( NOT short of talent)..
I am more impressed by the raavan teaser than the image above…
Back to the director’s note on Raavan. I feel there is a Raavan and a Ram inside every human being. There is a hero and villain to various degrees inside everyone. There is good and bad inside everyone. These are facts of human nature. It will be interesting to see Rathnam weave this tale in the movie.
“There is good and bad inside everyone. These are facts of human nature.”-That was precisely the central theme of aks-a bit flawed but exceptional effort…
Dont think mani will restrict hmself to just this brief- he seems to be havng higher ambition here….
Of course it wont be the only theme in Raavan. But humans having both Ram and Raaan in their natures will be one of important themes for the movie. Was just talking about the last few sentences that Mani had written for the director’s note about Ravaan.
Thanks so much, Tyler. I found the note rather banal though (except the fragments that touch upon the “bond” and the “tension” between the captor and the captive; “Asokavanam” is perhaps a better title to this film).
Also I’m quite convinced that the film is going to be primarily about the bond/tension between the two. Mani is of course considered (to the extent that it’s already clichéd, but I agree with it to some degree) more adept at dealing with “individual” relationships than sociopolitical ones.
Given that some of Ratnam’s most potent dramatic moments have emerged from an element of duality (iruvar of course but the trope appears all over the place in Dalapathi, AN, Dil Se, KM, etc) the idea of the “tension between the two” being of primary interest not only makes sense but affirms that this is going to be a special role for Vikram/Prithviraj as well.
I meant Raavan(an) and Sita (“the Captor and the Captive” as the note puts it) though. Your point about the element of duality could still hold good though to the same extent as in, say, Dil Se. But I doubt (esp. after this teaser and the director’s note) if the character of Ram(an) is key to the film (though the presence of his figure is bound to be, through Sita’s eyes).
The first teaser and poster of Raavan have left me a little underwhelmed….From the first look I get a sense that Raavan is Jokerlite more than Lallanlite: larger than life, loud/flashy in the positive sense, and crucially operating in a comedic vein.
actually the first poster is more reminiscent of Bala’s world (am thinking of some of the Pithamagan posters as well as the DVD cover) than anything else IMO. Will be especially striking to see the Vikram posters…
Yes, agreed. I was wondering if I was the only one who was drawing some sort of link to Bala’s universe as well (besides the Vishal Bhardwaj linkage). I’m being vague, of course, but I’m wondering if Mani has drawn richly from Vishal Bhardwaj and some of Bala here.
Mani has of course expressed his admiration for Bala’s films more than once. And with Vikram as the lead here, I guess it is likely to have some Bala vibes (though not of Pithamagan, even if the visual of a possessed Vikram might evoke that film).
The background music has me more excited than anything else: I was always sure of a good album, but I also wanted some energy, and an Indianized album, and if the teaser is anything to go by, we’re on course to get that…
just based on the director’s note Mani should stick to making movies. Rahman has never gone wrong in a Mani album. Also, in tamil land, it is quite common among the dravidian political parties where Raavan being hailed and Ram characterized as an Aryan King.
“Also, in tamil land, it is quite common among the dravidian political parties where Raavan being hailed and Ram characterized as an Aryan King.”Sachita-Interesting observation-Can u please elaborate for our enlightenment…
Going by this info then there is or was 10 songs on the Raavan soundtrack instead of only 7 songs. Rathnam could have removed those songs due to keeping the movie’s length down and not wanting to clutter up the narrative too much. Or that Asha Bhonsle song and the other 2 songs could still feature in Raavan. Not every song featured in a movie is featured on the movie’s official soundtrack.
I’m not as bothered about the scenes. Much as those Guru scenes were fine and could have been in the film (and perhaps there should have been a director’s cut but of course India doesn’t do this!) it is only a true director who can be that ruthless when it comes to his edits. I am however always very bothered when a good Rahman number is excised and is not even available on the CD. Again in some sense one respects the fact that Rathnam doesn’t want anything on the album that doesn’t belong to the film but one is still sorry to lose out on something important and I think an Asha number would surely qualify. With Guru of course there were a couple that were added later to the score and hence were not part of the CD. Got these elsewhere eventually but I wish there had been a complete CD. But Rathnam’s films tend to evolve quite a bit when he shoots, let alone when he edits and hence these things are likely to happen. Still I am disappointed with news of this Asha number. The Sukhwinder thing not as much. If the Asha song or anything else features in the BGM that would bring us back to the Guru sort of situation.
Satyam, could be right about the Asha Bhosle song now being apart of the BGM. Hopefully when the music is released we will get answers and a better sense of things regarding the music and the movie in general.
Yes, that is true Satyam. We have seen the track list given from Bollywood Hungama. I was merely saying when the music is released we will get a better sense of all of the music since all of the songs will be released to be heard by the public. Also perhaps when the music is released we will get some answers to why certain songs were included on the soundtrack and not others. Also after hearing the music we will get a better sense of the movie. But I really was just telling Kassam to be positive about Raavan as a movie in general. I think Kassam real fears are that Rathnam has cut some crucial scenes from the movie. I think her fears are more on that level. So was just telling her to be positive. Thus far the little promotions we’ve gotten regarding Raavan has been topnotch, but when more promotions are lobbed out we will get a better handle on Raavan.
the scenes I’m not worried about.. one could take as many scenes from Rathnam as possible (!) but then it’s a director’s prerogative to shape the film according to his vision for narrative or pacing reasons.
Mani gifts Govinda a song in Raavana
June 25th, 2009 – 2:26 am ICT by Sampurn Wire –
For over two decades now, Govinda had made for himself quiet a bad reputation in industry circles of being a late latif. He was known to always come late on his film sets citing the silliest of excuses. He had changed this habit while shooting for David Dhawan’s Partner but apparently, post the film’s success he came back to his old whimsical ways. But now it is learnt that for the shooting of his Mani Ratnam directed Raavana, Govinda has been not only coming to the film’s sets on time but is also being the first artist to reach the location.
A source reveals, “During the recently concluded schedule in Ooty (which didn’t have Abhishek Bachchan n Aish) Govinda used to be ready to go to the location as early as half past five in the morning. Apparently, Govinda’s such professionalism left Mani Ratnam so much impressed that he has now decided to add a special song which will be shot on him alone. Mani had earlier been cautioned by many industry insiders about Govinda’s fussy habits during shoots and that it would be a hara-kiri taking him on. But Govinda not only was always on time but also showed lot of willingness and gave suitable inputs to make his character in the film better.
The film is supposedly a modern day take of Ramayana with Abhishek playing the title role. Govinda’s role in the film is the character based on Hanuman in the sense that he aids Vikram (who plays Aishwarya’s hubby in the film) to reach Abhishek.
I also disagree that Mani gets the best out of him. The better way to phrase it is to say that Mani gives him extraordinary parts. So for example I consider BM to be one his fine performances but it can never be as ‘important’ as Yuva or Guru. Much as Bachchan could be phenomenal doing a number of Mukherjee films but these couldn’t be as seminal as Deewar or Trishul or whatever. Of course Rathnam could get more out of him because of who Rathnam is as a director. But then good directors can often get the best out of most actors.
I see where you’re coming from but the metrosexual appeal in his instance has been at least as strong as it is in dramatic parts. It works differently with different demographics. In my experience BM for example is one his most important parts when it comes to a certain female demographic. I would even go so far as to say that it is more important than Guru for this group. Dostana plays to the same demographic. Of course BM had more to it than that but I’m just referring to a ‘first read’ response. But yeah his physicality lends itself more easily to the brooding bits even if I think he certainly has comic talents to be very convincing doing this sort of thing. So again I am not a fan of Dostana but I couldn’t really hold anything against his performance here.
You must not be following Abhishek’s correct twitter account. Abhishek does not talk more about Hollywood than Bollywood. Abhishek loves western music(particularly rap) and posts about it. But he does not talk about Hollywood or their cinema more than Bollywood.
As much i dislike Abhi on screen and their fans’ attemps to hail him as a great actor and superstar,i am absolutely a fan of Abhi’s off screen persona…He is cool,casual,non controversial,decent and entertaining off screen…Also i find him good at heart…
ya, BM was good too – problem with abhi is that barring Guru, whenever i remember his films – it is abhi I remember (just like SRK) and not the character – quite unlike aamir and BIG B….if he can work on his characters more….he will do good for himself…and he needs to get out from KJO and YRF camps…NOW
Not to mention that he is one of the very very few contemporary Hindi film actors who seems to have spent at least some time watching Tamil films, including those starring Vikram. In an interview I remember him saying Rohan Sippy had introduced him to Tamil film music. Hardly the Sanjay Gupta kinda guy who seems to spend his time watching Hollywood DVDs only…
I’m positive that Abhishek’s followers and most people in India all know about the movie the Hangover as it did very well in India as it did everywhere else. Abhishek is or was supposed to make the Hindi version of the Hangover. So Abhishek should only discuss Hindi movies, music, or what people in India understand? Abhishek spent his formative years in boarding school and university in Europe and the USA. Abhishek liking certain types of western music, movies, books, or anything else does not negate from him being a proud Indian. That is a daft thing to suggest or put out there. That is very uneducated and not realistic.
But why use this against Abhishek? I suppose you should call out almost every Indian actor and celeb on Twitter because they all highly praised James Cameron and Avatar. They all also talk about western movies , music, books, poets, and celebs. I don’t see anyone calling them out or holding it against them or questioning their heritage.
Also Abhishek making a couple of references to a couple of Hollywood movies during his entire time on Twitter proves my point that he does NOT talk more about Hollywood cinema than Bollywood cinema. He has given props to Hindi movies and also given many congrats to his friends(colleagues) on their movies on his account. But the truth is that Abhishek hardly talks about cinema of any kind on his Twitter account. Abhishek replies to his many followers on Twitter the majority of time he is on the site.
I would have preferred Asokavanam. Distinct from the Hindi version even if given some of the Southern strains in this regard the title is even more appropriate for the Tamil version than the Hindi one.
Incidentally one of the things that is not getting as much attention is the Telugu version. Vikram will dub for it himself of course being a fluent Telugu speaker and so this makes it a very authentic Telugu release. Not to mention that fact that Vikram’s movies have on occasion grossed more in Telugu than in Tamil.
All in all this set of films is really Rathnam’s greatest attempt in terms of scale.
Yes, it’s being referred to as ‘Raavanan’ for quite some time now (after March, I think). The earlier title was of course ‘Asokavanam.’ Actually, that’s why I was saying after watching the trailer that the earlier one is (I meant, would have been) a better title.
I also recollect reading that the Tamil version is titled Raavanan. Rathanm could not get proper permissions to use the title Asokavanam for the Tamil version because it was registered with another director. In the Hindi version I think Abhishek’s character is named Beera.
All of the posters are great, but I think the 3rd poster the best! Sort of reminds one of a stealthy panther. This poster has a more direct close up where his gaze is very intense and focused. It has a vast amount of drama, intensity, and tension.
Joker… hum… the first synopsis made me think that he would be the good guy seeking revenge for his sister (or something like that). If he’s the bad guy after all, it’s even better ! But then… Aish falling in love with the Joker… what a disturbing idea lol
ideaunique, i managed to watch Shararat as I had won its tickets as a part of a contest.. but didnt want to go as at that time it had received horrible reviews from many critics.. but decided to give it a try.. not bad at all.. i think releasing on the same day as Devdas was a bad decision by the makers
ontopic, I believe the Indian filmmakers, especially in the Hindi film industry, have lately been portraying many of their lead characters having shades of grey or black, without giving any kind of justification for their deeds.. which is much more understandable in the context than lets say a Baazigar, where SRK has a proper justification for throwing an innocent girl off the building or Sanjay Dutt in Khalnayak for killing politicians and innocent victims!
Raavan here is a fine example where Abhi has shades of grey not because there’s a tragic story behind it, but thats just the way he is.. also one of the reasons why it seems highly interesting is its shown through the eyes of the highly evil though seemingly misunderstood villain in Indian mythology
He might do otherwise. I’m not indian and don’t know anything about mythology, but to create a little bit of chemistry in a real life relationship between Abhi and Aish, he should explain why she fall in love with a man this crazy (cf trailers)
He might do otherwise. I’m not indian and don’t know anything about mythology, but to create a little bit of chemistry in a real life relationship between Abhi and Aish, he should explain why she fall in love with a man this crazy (cf trailers) and reveal more about him imo…
i have this gut feeling (guys, don’t doubt my gut feelings now after ghajini and 3i😉 ) that Raavan will be THE turning point in Abhi’s career just like Zanjeer was in BIG B’s career……i m dead serious this time….
thanks Zero.. I was puzzled about this earlier.. another thing that has been corrected is the cinematographer’s name on the other common poster.. Abhishek’s had Manikandan on it while Vikram’s has Sivan.
1. Veera Veera by A R Rahman, Kailash Kher;
2. Kata Kata by Ila Arun, Malgudi Subha, Sonu Niigaam;
3. Kaadhale by Shreya Ghoshal;
4. Madhuvanam by Asha Bhonsle, Chitra Sivaraman
5. Moozhgi Vidava by Karthik.
6. Aaruyir Nenje by Mahalaxmi Iyer, Rashid Ali
7. Chakaa Chakka by Naresh Iyer!
this has the Asha song! Well I was getting both anyway. Read on the Raavan forum that the Tamil soundtrack will release in May.
though the snippets Kassam posted for the Hindi version in the other thread had six songs. So perhaps the Asha song is there after all. Hard to believe the Tamil would have seven songs and the Hindi six.
ok so the Tamil does have an additional song.. I think the asha song might well be a background one and it was probably added late so they didn’t have a chance to include it on the Hindi CD. A pity either way though I am pleased that the Tamil CD has it.
the moment there’s more percussion in an album Tamil alliteration is just a more natural fit. Even otherwise (and obviously these are just poor quality snippets) there are strains here on some of the numbers that seem to connect this with an older Tamil phase of Rahman’s. The Tamil audio also has of course the additional Asha song.
Just merely going by the 30 seconds of each song premiered on that Raavan site. I cotton to the soundtrack. It has an earthy, rustic, and energetic feel on many of the songs. Will be able to gauge more about the soundtrack when we are able to hear all of the songs in full with topnotch quality. As of right now my clear favourites are: Beera Beera, Behene De, Kata Kata, and Thok De Killi Ki. All of these songs are catchy, harmonious, and energetic. The slow tempo songs Ranjha Ranjha and Khilli Re are harmonious and sweet as well. Thok De Killi Ki sounds like a song used in the battle or fight scenes in the movie. Will be able in to judge in full later.
in the meantime you should watch some subtitled DVDs. How are you doing with Iruvar? I should have warned you. We have some Rathnam hounds on the forum (especially on Iruvar) who will chase people to the gates of hell and beyond once people like yourself express the slightest interest in his films!
On Vikram though check out Saamy. The DVD is subtitled and you’ll adore this one.
Roja (obviously dubbed Hindi version & coincidently first movie of A.R. Rehman)) was the first Ratnam’s movie, I stumbled upon by accident on T.V and I was completely blown away by that. Until then he was an alien and after that he became & still is Guru, master & Mani sir in my book. So there is no fear of anyone can even try to dissuade me or chase me away from any Mani Ratnam’s creation. Yes, I’ve been guilty of not coming out of language comfort zone but then the loss is entirely mine and will compensate by visiting Iruvar, Saamy and Ravanan (in cinema hall) very soon.
Vkram’s poster is mad cool! It’s very good. I really cotton to it. If I have to choose I still think Abhishek’s 2nd Raavan poster is the best out of all of the posters presented thus far for the Hindi and Tamil version. I think Abhishek’s is more intense, dark, powerful, and striking simply because we get to see all of Abhishek’s angular face. And more importantly Abhishek’s panther-like gaze makes more of an impact. It looks like he is staring directly into the audience’s eyes. Abhishek’s eyes and his gaze gives the poster the edge!
As far as comparisons well this always happens with Abhishek in even in his movies that are not bilinguals. Thus far Abhishek has managed to more than hold his own to act vastly well up against some very talented actors in his past movies. I think it will be no different this time with Raavan. Besides Abhishek and Vikram are different types of actors who will obviously show their different approaches to the same character in the two movies. It will be a treat for the audience. Its all copesetic in my view!
Pradip, I just realized what could be done.. I’ve taken the smaller image and enlarged it.. it will have to do till they fix the glitch.. at least I have Vikram and Abhishek juxtaposed.. thanks so much..
The Vikram poster is outstanding too and a larger image should make it clearer. Rathnam seems to be ‘respecting’ the actor’s Bala genealogy here (as Qalandar suggested in a different context). Vikram seems even more ‘tribal’ than Abhishek, perhaps even more ‘other’, an even greater creature of the ‘netherworld’. It’s a very striking image. But I’d go with the ‘dark’ Abhishek counterpart as the best poster so far. But the images do suggest different things. With Abhishek a certain angularity is stressed and the shot suggests a Greek warrior quality despite the dark hues. Rathnam is shrewdly respecting two genealogies here — the Bachchanesque for Abhishek and the Bala one for Vikram. I suspect the performances will reflect the tone of these posters.
Aadmi. where did you see govinda’s look…i am really keen to see how he acts and looks in this movie….they should not keep him out of publicity as he is still more popular than Abhishek in certain parts of india….
The obstacle with this dual campaign, if I were to take a guess from these initial fragments, is going to be the same obstacle we face with a dual release, and that’s the sense of a “first come, first served” sort of thing where since the Hindi version is what many of us will experience first, (on every level) the Tamil version loses some of the “newness” or surprise and “sense of release” that might have otherwise been the case. So right off the bat with the two posters it’s difficult to say which actually makes more of an impression (I think Vikram and Abhishek project different emotions) because the Hindi one will, somewhat unfairly, have “first dibs” on our emotional reflex. This is not to say that both movies can’t be enjoyed separately (not to mention coming in second has its own set of advantages for the Tamil version) it’s just that the way things are laid out here, there’s certainly an unfortunate deference on Madras Talkies’ part (so far) for the Hindi version.
I guess this is first time this sort of thing happening for any movie. Is raavan India’s first bilingual movie releasing simultaneously?
As far as posters are concerned, i don’t see any one superior over other. Waiting for Tamil trailer anyways.
you are quite right on this score. Having said that the ‘deference’ is perhaps logical in a sense because Rathnam’s Tamil version in these bilinguals often functions as a ‘supplement’ to the Hindi one. This does not of course mean that he compromises the Tamil venture in any sense but just that he initially conceives of a subject in Hindi (with Abhishek) and then decides to go (or not) bilingual. This was less true for Yuva probably but in both Guru and Raavan(an) the traffic has flowed from Hindi to Tamil. But you are also right in that Rathnam gives the Hindi version more ‘space’. So if he had released both teasers at the same time a primarily Tamil audience would have been cued in to the Tamil version and vice versa for a primarily Hindi audience. But in the age of ‘online’ and cable TV the first set of images is available to every audience. In an odd way Vikram doing both Ram and Raavan also confirms this impression. Because if a character is to be completely identified with the Raavan character he ought not be doing Ram at the very same moment. It’s a great double for Vikram and surely will be fascinating to behold, it also increases the ambiguity inherent in the Ram/Raavan double in these alternative traditions, so all in all a big deal for Vikram and for anyone interested in this subject but because the audience lives less in such a gray zone in these matters Abhishek becomes Raavan in an unambiguous sense. There is of course the other factor here that Rathnam/Abhishek has a cache that Rathnam/Vikram does not. Vikram coming together with Rathnam is surely important but Vikram already has a larger than life image that has been exploited from Bala to Hari. There cannot be that same sense of ‘becoming’ to the project. The genuinely ‘new’ is expected with Rathnam/Abhishek the way it perhaps cannot be with Rathnam/Vikram. But again by insisting on Hindi Rathnam perhaps downgrades his status as a Tamil director for a contemporary project. Not because anyone respects him less or even anticipates his projects less but the suspicion arises quite naturally that first honors are with the Hindi version. But I do agree that irrespective of all this Rathnam could help matters by being more evenhanded with the publicity of each film. I personally think it should be done as a double everywhere with both Vikram and Abhishek showing up for both films in Bombay and Chennai. Vikram of course has a reason to be there for the Hindi anyway but Abhishek should also show up. Don’t think it will happen this way but if it did Rathnam could preserve the unity of the project.
On a related note the same ‘becoming’ factor works for Abhishek and in fact Rathnam as well. When he did Yuva this was a first for Abhishek for all the obvious reasons. When Guru came along this was the next big leap forward for a star who’d found success. But given Abhishek’s patchy box office since Raavan once again becomes ‘the film’ for him. It’s hard for stars to keep having these ‘becoming’ moments over and over again but this happens with this ‘team’ in ways that helps both sides. Perhaps not consciously but Abhishek’s trajectory has allowed him to resist the sort of institutionalization that might otherwise have been his lot with a more consistent box office record. So one should always be careful what one wishes for. Abhishek has a fine lineup coming up. Let’s say he got great success here. This would also destroy that ‘becoming’ moment. If a star is seen as being generally titanic in ways not connected with a film or part it becomes very hard for a director to conceive of something to outdo the record. One way to avoid this fate is to mix it up enough so that this sort of strong part is always a less frequent occurrence. Still institutionalization is hard to resist.
Getting back to the two films though, I’d say that one way to avoid shafting the Tamil version here is to perhaps release different “sneak peeks” for both films. If Madras Talkies’ strategy is to do an “A-B, A-B” kind of promotional strategy where the exact teaser, the exact poster (more or less) is released in succession, that’s fine but I think it would be more interesting to see different images, hear different lines, witness different songs with respect to each film/character. I think this sort of strategy is appropriate considering the “chaos” of doing a dual-epic.
that’s a great idea too.. at our end I wish the two films were equally accessible in the theater. I might even watch the Tamil one first for that different perspective. But of course it is much easier to watch the Hindi one right away for the usual reasons. The last time around I ended up watching Yuva a couple of times I think before I ventured out for AE. This time I am considering limiting it to one viewing and then making that long trek for Vikram before perhaps getting back to the Hindi. Even then parity is not established. Because the Hindi can be seen multiple times far more easily.
Interesting discussion here, although, for a Tamil audience, the first coming together of Vikram and Mani, especially given the well-publicized “false start” of the Aayitha Ezhuthu role that never was, should not be under-estimated. Given the different stages at which Vikram and Abhishek are in their career, and the different stature of the two, I agree with you this cannot be a “becoming” moment of any sort for Vikram, but it is a huge hype-fest for him. Especially given his own long absence from the screen, Raavanan is his most hyped release in half a decade…
Not to mention that much of this deference is at the internet-level: in most of India, Tamil and Hindi does not co-exist in the public space, i.e. the public spaces are mutually exclusive (Bangalore and Chennai are two significant exceptions, since major Hindi films get a large number of theater screens in Chennai these days), and it wouldn’t be far-fetched to believe that in most of TN, the only posters anyone is seeing are the Cheeyan ones…
Yeah, that’s obviously true. I think I’m speaking not only in terms of the promotional media’s accessibility but also for the audiences who in general are plugged into both cultural spheres here, if only with respect to watching movies.
and yes I might well have had the opposite impression if I’d seen the Vikram poster first. It’s still a very close call for me. The Abhishek poster possibly still wins over as a work of art. But the Vikram poster is incredibly haunting. Vikram (and this is what Bala understood better than anyone else) though not a ‘performance’ artist is extremely effective at playing ‘mute’ human beings. he can better represent the ‘other’ who simply cannot be ‘accessed’ from this side of rationality, with whom a common language might just not be possible, better than actors who are otherwise superior to him. When you combine it with his remarkable screen presence and sense of gesturality (not necessarily masala in the Bala films) you have a very potent combo. The one problem with Pithamagan in this regard was that Bala did not really give the Vikram character the kind of ‘world’ he deserved. The framework in terms of the technical choices and even the narrative was far more ‘commercial’. And I still regret the fact that Vikram did not do Naan Kadavul because of the falling out. This film really represented the logical culmination of the Bala-Vikram collaboration. Except that Vikram wasn’t in it! But Pithamagan has the best Vikram-Bala moment, the Hamlet like post funeral sequence with Vikram holding Surya’s skull in his hand. Stunning not just for the trope involved here but also because of the brilliant chapter added to all the male friendship films of Indian commercial cinema. This scene cannot be beaten! And yet the Sethu mood is lost elsewhere in the film.
“Vikram holding Surya’s skull in his hand. Stunning not just for the trope involved here but also because of the brilliant chapter added to all the male friendship films of Indian commercial cinema. This scene cannot be beaten!”
This is very true. One of the best sequences not only in that film but also within the tradition it emerges from. Imagine if Veeru held Jai’s skull in his hand – although in Pithamagan it’s actually Veeru who dies and a terrifying version of Jai that remains. In some sense Pithamagan is about the perversion or death of this kind of masala, which Surya’s character very obviously represents.
Ultimately casting Vikram in this role works splendidly in the context of what we’re discussing in terms of the sequence of promotional/film viewing. Because by casting someone who (in his industry) is pretty far beyond where Abhishek is with respect to Hindi films (leaving out, if one dare does so, the genealogy) an audience plugged into both pools here retains a very strong sense of anticipation. A lesser star (star not actor) would not have had the same effect and in this sense I completely agree with what Q says about not underestimating what it means to a Tamil audience to have Vikram teaming with Mani for the first time.
agreed except that I’d just add a cautionary note to Qalandar’s point.. He mentions Bangalore and Chennai as the overlap points for Hindi and Tamil but of course there’s a massive Telugu/Hindi overlap in Hyderabad. You have three major Southern cities taken care of. Leaving this aside the multiplexes where typically Rathnam finds most favor these days in TN are comprised of the very audience that is very likely to be aware of the Hindi promotions. This isn’t the majority of TN by any means (though even in the smaller markets I suspect some of the Hindi promotion for the film is available on some of the channels.. not that it means much for this audience) and of course here the Vikram casting truly helps Rathnam far more than the other way around. In fairness though there is another perspective on this even with multiplex Tamil audiences. Rathnam hasn’t had a big one in a while there and certainly not with this sort of subject (AP was a light romance). He comes together with Vikram which is of course major. But also for Vikram this is a great shot in the arm. After Anniyan he too has been in a transitional phase of his career in more ways than one. The Rathnam association confirms his overall prestige and in a film where his star genealogy is paid due deference. There is in any case an important off screen narrative even here. Also I suppose that if you are part of an audience that is never going to see the HIndi version the advertising for the same even when you encounter it is not likely to stay in memory for too long.
PS — one other thing that’s great about the bilingual structure is that it will certainly lead to a wider profile for Vikram and his work as far as Hindi-speaking audiences are concerned (his non-Tamil/Telugu fans seem to be increasing exponentially if the reaction to the Raavana first look posters is anything to go by). Even if only a small number of people are able to get subtitled DVDs (bizarrely, the subtitled DVDs are typically made for NRI markets; and the domestic ones aren’t usually subtitled) of other Vikram films, that’s more than would have done so in a non-Raavan world.
I think I’ve driven you a step closer to madness, lol.
I think the Vikram poster is more artful and beguiling, luring one in, and obviously keeping more hidden, where the Bachchan version is immediately more striking and overwhelming in terms of the sheer force and directness of the gaze.
One thing I really appreciate with the Vikram poster is the use of the Tamil script for the title graphic. Immediately one gets a sense of the distinction between the two industries these films are aimed at. This isn’t a pejorative in either sense (I do have a fondness for the rooted move that’s common in Tamil film promotions) just something that suggests where we’re at.
Must admit something at the outset-
NOT seen any of vikrams works (due to the obvious language barrier) but have always been impressed with his sheer presence in the little i have seen in promos, pics etc.
My 2 cents—posters of vikram> abhishek.
Also scores -appearing more “poised” in the poster which also look more artfully done than the hindi counterparts which seem to have a langda tyagi (sic) hangover- not sure if this is deliberate– anyhow , maybe i am a minority here, but not much of an omkara fan ( or of vishal bhardwaj for that matter!)…
Wish to add something here— abhishek will have it tough here….
There will be a direct comparison here with someone who seems formidable (as a first impression) …
My instinct tells me that he should have performed OUT OF HIS SKIN here to “salvage the situation”.
Also, not very upbeat about the story brief that i have heard of, till now.
Although the promos, pics etc have been exciting.
a)Every bad guy has a good side and vice versa
b) stockholm syndrome
If a and b is indeed the central theme here—feel that-
1) this is too predictable for soemone like mani
2) May not work greatly for the multplex /overseas crowd -who mainlyare out to have a “good laugh”
3)Will surely get into some sort of trouble with some elements on predictable issues like “distorting religious facts and taking liberty”–obviously these things will build up V NEAR/ AT the time of release!
Watch out for this space….
There is no direct comparison Alex. No one watching the Hindi version will care about the tamil version. That’s one thing. In the Hindi version Vikram has the Ram role, not an equal matchup by any means. But overall Abhishek is by far the superior actor. Vikram makes up for this in terms of his star signature but I don’t see a contest in the Hindi version. And in terms of the Tamil one I see two different interpretations. Had Vikram been a fine actor he could have been the outright winner here but I don’t see this. Also Abhishek in the right role (and Rathnam certainly qualifies) can bring the right level of iconic gesturality to his own portrayals. So for example Maddy was very good in AE but seemed poorer to Abhishek precisely because of this distinction. Now one might judge Abhishek’s performance in that film superior anyway. I am not so sure but he was definitely more effective overall.
i know i m in a minority here but my favorite one is the yellow one with abhishek. all d other posters r also very impactful nd effective but i think abhishek bachchan’s eyes nd face r conveying so many emotions in dat pic(however one might interpret it)..also..i feel dat d other actor’s poster is quite menacing but he appears a larger than life character whereas..just frm d posters ..abhi’s character looks like a more real guy!!
abhishek’s character looks more grey nd d other guy’s character looks pure evil nd completely black!!
p.s. i think if u see d two posters carefully..abhi’s is less dark nd d other actor’s is completely dark which might be an indication dat i abhi’s character is grey nd d other one is completely black!!
i dont know if i m reading too much into it though!!
No I completely agree. I prefer the haldi shot the most of all the pieces we’ve seen so far. Something genuinely creepy and new with this pose. My sense (especially given he has a white-face shot in the teaser) is that there are going to be more colors to come…perhaps, appropriately, ten.
Random aside: Even on the website, with the yellow opening image one gets to see abhishek’s face in its entirety, moving around; with Vikram it’s the area around his eyes that is shown flickering…and while the Vikram posters use the Tamil script, the Prithvi one uses the Latin script (perhaps they will use this in Kerala too?)
The other facet of this is cultural specificity. So in Yuva you had Calcutta, and in AE you had Madras. With the Raavan/Raavanan duo I’m not sure if Ratnam is going to be clear in terms of geography. It’d be interesting to see if he actually makes an attempt to be overt in this sense or whether this is just going to be “ambiguous hinterlands” of, respectively, the “North” and “South”.
nd i agree with you dat with d other poster..there is a very south indian feel 2 it with all d tamil letters nd even d character himself appears more a southie..but with abhishek’s one u get a langda tyagi northern hinterland kinda feel to it!!
Sony Music grabs Raavanan audio!
By Moviebuzz | Thursday, 22 April , 2010, 19:35
One of India’s leading music companies Sony Music has grabbed the audio rights of Mani Ratnam’s forthcoming Raavan’s Tamil version Raavanan and its Telugu dubbing Villain for a record price.
Sources close to the development said: “The Tamil Raavanan audio launch will take place a few days after the Hindi Raavan audio which is to be launched on April 24. It will be a red carpet event as Chennai is the home town of Mani sir, ARR and Vikram. All of them will take part in the event, details are being worked out as the launch will happen on or before April 30.”
The music of Raavan is composed by Academy Awards winner AR Rahman. Sony Music had lost out the Hindi audio of the film to T-Series, so they were determined to grab the Tamil and Telugu rights of the film. Remember Sony Music has the best AR Rahman library and is also close to the Oscar winning music director.
Raavanan in Tamil and Telugu has an impressive star cast- Vikram, Aiswarya Rai, Prithviraj, Priyamani, Prabhu, Karthik and others. Mani Ratnam is the biggest brand name in south Indian cinema after Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan. The Mani Ratnam- AR Rahman combo has never failed, and Raavanan is sure to be a chartbuster.
With this new set I definitely find the Vikram poster far superior. Abhishek’s part might be the more manic, crazed type than Vikram’s. Or certainly we haven’t seen such a poster with the latter so far while with Abhishek we’ve seen both kinds. Once again the Lallan ‘energetic’ elements seem more in play for Abhishek while Vikram seems to be following the Bala ‘mute’ trajectory. Of course other posters might debunk my speculation on Vikram.
well he’s supposed to be one more or less! It could be that (and as GF pointed out) they’re bringing out different ‘faces’ each time. This might be true for Vikram also eventually since we’ve seen only one Tamil poster of his versus two for Abhishek (the third one is common and identical). In this current set one is a Telugu poster, the other is a Hindi one, similar but might not have meant to be mirror images the way the earlier poster was. But Abhishek definitely seems to have a psychotic edge to his character. as did Lallan. People forget that great bridge sequence at the end of Yuva (among others).
the interpretations were always supposed to be different. Partly it’s a question of different stars and their respective styles but also when Rathnam does a bilingual he makes the films more complementary than would otherwise be true for a bilingual. This was true for Yuva/AE. I always tell people that both films should be seen. In this instance there were some minor differences but one major one in the first half where Inba and Michael actually have an encounter (no such scene in Yuva). So Raavan/Raavanan might not be exactly the same.
In the new poster Abhishek indeed looks vastly aggressive and maniacal. He looks utterly mad. Its the most aggressive poster thus far. I suppose this poster is displaying another one of the character’s ten faces or personalities. I agree with Satyam’s comments that Abhishek’s Raavan character looks in line with the frenzied-psychopathic nature of Lallan from Yuva. But it looks to be notched up a tad in Raavan just going by this new poster. Abhishek and Vikram are different types of actors. Seeing Abhishek and Vikram’s two different approaches to the role will be vastly interesting and something special for the audience.
I also concur that there will be some minor changes in story and tone with the Hindi and Tamil versions because the movies are catering to different audiences. Have to add that it looks like Aishwarya’s character will indeed be put through her paces after the kidnapping. It is pleasant to see Aishwarya in the new posters. She looks very beautiful even in distress. Can’t wait to see the new advert with Aishwarya.
That is a good point. I suppose Mani Rathnam and Reliance could be treading more carefully with the Hindi promotions as to not offend the religious sentiments in the Hindi regions of India. I suppose we will see what transpires with the rest of the promotions.
ash looks really scared standing next to abhishek’s raavan while standing with vikram’s raavana there is a softness in her expression although the fear is still there!! neways..pretty cool posters..i think both abhi nd vikram are going to bring their different nuances to d character nd both versions look strikingly different actually!!
I see what you mean in terms of a certain ‘war cry’ that Kamal has sometimes had in his later career.
So far if one element comes across in the Abhishek images (haven’t been enough of Vikram yet) it is perhaps a chameleon-like quality. This is a Raavan (perhaps appropriately so) who is Greek warrior, trickster figure, a demon-like creature all at the same time.
There is at any rate a very different sort of expressiveness to this image from what we’ve seen from him in the past.
What keeps annoying me is the Vikram lag. Just release all the damn images and teasers together!
The kata kata song and Khilli are definitely reminiscent of an older Rahman ‘Tamil’ phase (think there are Northern contexts to these songs but Rahman’s percussion and the general flow of these songs stamps his signature on it). Beera is the more ‘Northern’ variant though a shorter song. The two love songs here Ranjha and Behne de are more in the middle. Like what I’m hearing so far very much. The instrumentation on Ranjha is wonderful. I think Rahman has kept this more ‘ethnic’ that one might have thought and this I think helps him link up with his own roots in some ways and certainly gives the album a more distinctive sound. The Tamil soundtrack will of course have the Asha song as well. There is a slower number here on the Hindi that I haven’t heard yet. The ‘tribal’ element (I’m not sure if it’s Afro inspired or not) is definitely there but this too has history in Rahman’s oeuvre. Overall an interesting, ‘strange’ album, always the best compliment for Rahman! But these are very preliminary views based on bits.
thanks.. unlike D6 this will take more time to assimilate but what I like here is that fact that this album seems less of a commercial compromise than Guru (much as I’m fond of that album). D6 is one of Rahman’s two best Hindi works to my mind along with Dil Se. Just a very rich collection of songs. But Raavan has a certain ‘mood’ and though I might not be able to argue it’s better than D6 or comparable to it I do think I’ll possibly like it more. Having said that I don’t see a problem with this album connecting instantly, just that the stranger elements will perhaps not be commented on.
Not a runaway blockbuster for sure but it has plenty of interesting things going for it. I would like to check out the Tamil version now especially Kata Kata which has orchestration straight out of a hinterland wedding band in the concluding bits.
Didn’t recognize this myself but it’s not surprising in the sense that Rahman has always been the most “unified” of the national composers. The most national of music composers in some ways, integrating regional beats pretty fluidly .
couldn’t wait.. got it here after you pointed it out.. will get the original CD soon too. But I really like this soundtrack. Like GF I think that the percussion numbers will certainly be better on the Tamil. Of course there’s that additional Asha song to look forward to.
his smaller shot with Ash in the boat is beautiful. These are all great images in most cases. My favorite is the kata one. Have a weakness for this sort of thing. I think that’s what you were referring to here.. or was it really Killi?
Awesome images. I just have to buy the CD tomorrow. The one problem I have with this kind of promotion is that it starts too early! I think I spontaneously belong to the Tamil film world where things start popping up just before the time of the film’s release. All this is too much too early for me.
Yeah, but there’s an (probably unwritten) rule that song clips should be soon only on or after the film’s release. We (I mean, Tamils) believe in showing snatches of things right when it’s ready to explode.
Vikram will explode the box office with this one, at least with the opening. Kandasamy itself going just by the Sify numbers was well ahead of all other hits last year in terms of week 1 collections. They termed it a hit eventually, behindwoods much more anti-Vikram gave it above average. But the numbers in any case were well ahead of the competition.
But consider Ash’s year. She has this in Tamil and Robot with Rajni. In Hindi she has Raavan again and Guzaarish with hrtihik. Of course she’s had in the last few years so much success in other ways and in all kinds of projects. when the Bombay media says Kareena or Katrina are ahead (depending on the season) one feels pity for them!
Not since Thalapathi has Mani done a Tamil film with such an established star (Mohanlal was not a Tamil force when Iruvar released; Arvind Swamy never did anything of note except for the Rathnam films; Alai Payuthey was Maddy’s first tamil film — maybe Kannathil Muthamittal comes closest because that came towards the end of Madhavan’s most successful phase; but otherwise, this is it (with Aayitha Ezhuthu, Maddy was somewhat “post-peak” and Surya somewhat “pre-peak”, although both were of course household names)…
great point there.. had the same sense looking at all these colorful images.. Incidentally wasn’t Santosh falling a somewhat similar aesthetic for one of his recent films? The one on transvestites? I forget the title, haven’t seen the film either, just some of the images, I could be wrong.
Initially, when I had seen only one or two images, I was skeptical of some of the “leering” Abhishek images. But now having seen multiple photographs, this seems to be Mani’s way of creating a mythic signature, the face-paint pointing to an aesthetic that is somewhat different from “the mainstream’s”, and not completely assimilable. Note how unadorned Ash seems in comparison (that this only adds to her beauty is another thing entirely).
Blown away by abhishek ravan poster (top most)
For me-easily abhisheks career best poster till not (for me).
Now we have a real match between abhi-vikram.
I am not conversant with vikrams work in the south. But even wihtout that, he is v impressive- screen presence, poise and star charisma.
But the topmost abhishek poster gives me hope that he will make a match of it.
I know hindi audiences will not care about how vikram has done in the tamil version, but guys like us will definitely keep a keen eye….
90% of the time I find ARR’s albums underwhelming initially — but interesting enough to return to, to be drawn back to, until the music settles in, and begins to take on greater significance. It doesn’t happen for some of the instantly likeable, catchy stuff, but often that stuff doesn’t stand the test of time (I mean I still like those songs, but they just don’t mean as much to me). Took me several several listens before I started liking D-6 (by the time i had written the review I had probably heard it half a dozen times); even longer for Alai Payuthey or Aayitha Ezhuthu/Yuva, or even some non-ARR albums like Anwar and Dev D (by contrast, I was able to relate to Guru earlier, but 3 years later, I don’t listen to the music all that much, certainly not compared to the other albums I have mentioned; Jodha Akbar never “took off”, my brain tells me it has some very fine work, but it is a bit staid and lacking in personality). With Iruvar it took me a few years quite frankly — I went through a period of never listening to it except for Narumugaiye, and was wondrously surprised when I re-discovered the entire album after a 2-year gap…[Mangal Pandey is an exception: I have pretty much consistently been on board for this album for half a decade now. That has happened with several songs, but it’s rarer for an entire album].
I have heard the songs a few times at this point. Love the two romantic tracks as well as Kata and Thok de killi. The last is madly energetic. Like Beera a little less and the slower killi re is the least of the songs (though some great orchestration here at points for what is presumably an Ash dance). Ranjha might be my favorite at the moment.
Rightly these should be called artistic images & not photos. It has a feel of paintings but surely its great photoshop work. Instead of reveling anything it surely deepens the mystery and that is great. Still there is no glimpse of Hanuman!
agree satyam-easily the best pic abhishek has EVER been seen in plus the top most (for me)
-now the stakes are rising for abhishek.
The vibes i am getting here–
this is possibly a game-changing film for bollywood esp regarding the status of bachchans in the new bollywood milieu.
I mean, Amitabhs postion and legacy in bollywood is assured and even that of asihwarya, imo. But, all said, abhishek is still on a sticky wicket esp because of the standards he is compared with.
For abhishek- If not this, what?
The last time i felt something like this in terms of abhishek was guru and d6- he redeemed himself in guru but not exactly in d6.
a v imp film for him- not only in the box-offcie sense- will determine his future standing.
plus- the littelt i have seen of ash (even in the posters) looks outstanding. she seems to be acting OUT OF HER SKIN……
I hope that the huge expectations incited by these posters may turn out to be a problem for the film…
from the images, Abhishek does seem in the “forest spirit” mould, more sprite/Lord of his Realm than tyrant (which is why “villain” is such, such a poor title for the Telugu version. If Raavan was taken they should just have gone with a Telugu variant on Ashokavanam, or done the hard work and come up with a Telugu word)…
I’ve seen every Rathnam film other than his two early Malayalam and Kannada films. he’s never been close to an RGV like disaster in any film and from what I’ve been led to believe about those two I don’t think that happened there either! ‘Flawed’ depends on the context. A great director can often make flawed films that are still way better than the best of everybody else. It’s like Amitabh Bachchan on a bad day is still way better than most other actors! RGV’s oeuvre is just not comparable to Rathnam’s in any sense. Guru is actually a far more even work than some of his other films that I otherwise like more.
Chiyaan Vikram Tamil superstar Vikram, who makes his debut in Hindi films with Mani Ratnam’s Raavan, is a traumatized man.
While in the Hindi version of Raavan he plays Aishwarya Rai’s cop-husband Dev, in the Tamil version he plays the brutal outlaw Veera. With both the versions being shot simultaneously, Vikram was constantly running in and out of the two completely different characters, makeup and languages, sometimes within half an hour.
Says a source, “It got really taxing for him. While Aishwarya Rai Bachchan played the same character in two languages, Vikram had to go from Raavan in Tamil to Rama in Hindi after every shot. At one point he almost lost the plot.”
One day the film’s dress designer Sabyasachi Chakraborty had dropped in on location to discuss Vikram’s look and clothes. Vikram was informed by Mani Ratnam’s assistant that he needed to sit with Sabyasachi to discuss his look with him for the film.
When the two of them met both began to give their viewpoints to each other about how the character played by Vikram would dress up in the film.
Says Vikram, “Within half an hour discussing the character’s look, we both realised that something was terribly wrong. I wanted my looks to be simple and minimalist so that I didn’t have to change much from the way I am. I suggested to Sabyasachi to keep my skin- tone black. On the other hand, Sabyasachi was keen on a suave and clean look. And was very was confused as to why was I was giving such a strange brief.” Sabysachi felt Vikram’s look couldn’t be dark, and told Vikram that if he was so keen on a dark look then maybe he could try and do something dark but formal.
Laughs Vikram. “I suggested a dhoti. Sabyasachi got really worked up and told me it was no longer funny and asked me him if I was really sure about my character Dev dressing like a rugged rustic character. That’s when both of us realised the confusion. I was talking about the looks of Veera (the outlaw character) my character in the Tamil version and Sabyasachi was talking about Dev (the cop) the character I’m playing in the Hindi version.”
Explains Vikram, “In the Hindi version it’s Abhishek Bachchan who is the outlaw character. And the fact that I’m playing two opposite characters in the two versions had caused the confusion.”
Though exhausted by the effort Vikram thoroughly enjoyed the unprecedented challenge of playing two characters at the same time in two languages.
Vikram, one of the foremost Tamil actors, will dub his own lines for the Hindi version of Raavan.
great to know he’s dubbing his own lines. Wonder what his Hindi is like. I’d heard it was weak. Unless Rathnam accounts for it in the film. But this double role is the chance of a lifetime. Even if there isn’t symmetry between Ram and Raavan in this subject it is still remarkable to be on both sides for the very same film. I must say that Prithviraj in the Tamil version continues to grate. But the problem is the same either way. You’re not going to get a serious star to play the part.
It occurred to me just now that one Aravindan film I’d been meaning to see for some time actually has touched on this territory before, although remotely. “Kanchana Seetha” from 1977 (a film shot by Shaji Karun when he was a DP) relocates the Ramayana in an Andhra Pradesh based tribal group who actually consider themselves the true descendants of Rama. Of course here even Ram is a tribal.
There’s a culturally specific approach here and I keep trying to figure out where Ratnam is setting his movie.
These images have a “fabulist” quality that I don’t often associate with Mani’s work. Quite in keeping “tonally” with the idea that this is the retelling of an ancient epic (something Thalapathi didn’t quite have).
The more I look at stills more than anything else or any genealogy the one that comes through to me is in terms of hindi film mythology is that this could have been Gabbar Singh’s story of how he bacame THE Gabbar we remember from Sholay. I might be reading too much into the role from the stills we’ve seen but it gives that kind of iconic role and character feel about it.
Interesting you bring this up because in this ‘colonized’ age we live in we automatically look towards Western models without also considering Indian ones. And there is a whole history of the outlandish/unhinged villain. Gabbar is a good point of reference for that mix of the comical and the menacing. I once put together Jai and Gabbar as the most ‘intelligent’ characters in that film, I will now say they were the only two with a real sense of humor. I could imagine this ‘couple’ exchanging jokes! One the larger than life, ‘self-fashioning’ character, the other the cooler, detached, deadpan sort. Veeru would be the dunce in the background singing songs for Basanti!
The Joker (Ledger) was fantastic but he’s also paper thin (quite naturally). A type more than a character, well played without doubt. But my favorite Hollywood ‘villain’ of contemporary times is still the Butcher (GONY). The point I’m trying to make is that for a proper Indian film you can never be just a comic book character, no matter how brilliantly you do it. Much as Gabbar isn’t one.
The Butcher is easily the greatest Hollywood villain of the past twenty years or so. I can’t think of any major villain in the past few years that comes too close with maybe Ledger’s Joker as an exception and your characterization of that character is just about spot on.
Much as Gabbar has grown on me with every viewing of Sholay, the great screen villain/anti-hero in all of Indian cinema (or my experience of it) remains Mammotty’s “satanic” performance in Vidheyan. That was a true Raavan.
“Thin” is a good word: superhero comics don’t generally traffic in full-fledged characters, and the danger of characters like the Joker is that they lend themselves to de-humanization. No one ever need understand anything about the Joker, because he’s stark raving mad/wicked.
Thats where I believe he’s pitched his performance and character on as it just gives me the Gabbar kind of vibe. The only question for me is if he can pull it off because Amjad Khan produced a performance that had the perfect balance of mania, humour and evil that the character required. I’m still not sure if a movie like Ravaan would hit big at the box office in current tomes but if Abhishek gets it right it could be a career defining performance.
The composition of the shot with Abhishek carrying the pistol and Ash crouched on the floor a few feet away is tremendous. The blocking here is perfect with Abhishek looking like a colossus in that shot.
[Great review here. I shall only point out that you omit three Tamil collaborations — Iruvar (Rathnam’s greatest film and Rahman’s most ‘exquisite’ soundtrack), Kannathil Muthamittal (the title song here is among Rahman’s greatest compositions..) and the older Thiruda Thiruda (a superb masala soundtrack). Raavan is actually the tenth collaboration for the two.]
I doubt there’s another Indian commercial director in history who even after close to three decades (Rathnam) at work was still considered the most cutting edge one around in the strongest ‘critical’ sense of the word.
Probably the bravest maker in current times to make a movies a rustic as Ravaan. I’m beginning to think based on it rusticity that it could be an all India smash hit as it caters that much for the people of India that current cinema has forgotten about with the desire to cater to the multiplex and western market. This is an Indian movie in its purest sense and that might be its trump card all over India.
okk..just saw the live music launch of raavan!! something dat abhishek mentioned caught my attention..he said dat mani ratnam in his entire career has never allowed an actor to reshoot a scene..as in give a second take!! wow..dats quite amazing!!
also he said something real fun..he told ash dat mani sir launched you with his film..but he keeps launching me again nd again..lol!! dats abhishek bachchan 4 you..as self deprecating as they get!!
The top three images (Abhishek with the white background; the two Ash solos below it) are the best of the solo shots — as GF noted, the one with Abhi walking away from Ash is masterfully constructed, and definitely in the “fabulist” vein I mentioned earlier (on that note, who wouldn’t think of Sleeping Beauty when confronted with the image of sleeping Ash below that one?)… the one of Ash/Vikram on the bed is so-very-Mani: no one makes domesticity look quite so sexy.
I will say this: nothing in the promos of Guru was as visually appealing as these sorts of images. Not all have been successful, but none are anodyne or stale.
You should really check out his Tamil movies. You’ll absolutely love them. His breakout film was the tere Naam original, Sethu. Then he did Pithamagan with the same director with another major Tamil star, Surya (he’s doing RGV’s Rakta Charitra). but for the truest masala pleasures check out Saamy and then Dhool and in turn Dhill (the original for Dum) and finally Gemini. In a more serious masala/thriller vein Samurai. Arul is passable. He also does somewhat different turns in Kasi, King, Majaa. For some over the top stuff Anniyan and more recently Kandasamy. His relatively recent Bheema was good too except for a bizarre ending. Unfortunately he’s not done too many in recent years which is a real pity. On the other hand he’s made his films count in the sense that there’s not much repetition. He was supposed to do Madhavan’s role in the Tamil version of Yuva but had date issues.
the second picture (d ash solo pic with hairs flying) just brought back a very distinct memory of ramayan by ramanand sagar..d same scene where sita (played by deepika..not padukone..ofcourse..ha..)sitting under a tree in ashok-vatika thinking about lord ram!! ohh.. such sweet memories..!!
MR & SLB both are extremely passionate and incorruptible so bonding with them is fine and needless to say that Ash has great bonding with both. Ash surely hosted function very well and should try to host IIFA. The only thing puzzled me was her high waist old style sari..am I seeing too much or what?
Mani Ratnam launches Raavan’s music with Abhishek & Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Story By: CHUMAN DAS updated on: Apr 26, 2010
MUMBAI: Keep it real, that was the direction given by Mani Ratnam. And for the launch of the music launch, the cast and crew followed it to the script, and that kept the very special invitees spell bound as Mani weaved his magic with his superb team of Rahman and Abhishek Bachchan.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra avoids music launches and is yet to attend one, apart from the films that he makes and he confessed, “I am glad I came. I was woven into the magical world of Raavan.” Raavan, the latest creation of Mani Ratnam showcased its music, unlike any launch ever in Mumbai’s film industry.
Shaad Ali, a former assistant of Mani Ratnam and who has directed films like Saathiya, Bunty aur Babli and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, has been the assistant to Mani in this film, disclosed, “It was all Mani Sir’s idea. He had a vision. He told us that the launch should reflect the film and we followed his instructions.”
A set was created in Yashraj studios, which had a jungle feel. As Raavan was shot in the forests of Tamil Nadu, the set of the music launch was thus replicated. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a white sequined saree was the hostess for the evening. She said, “We have had to deal with rapids, snakes, leeches, cold water, early morning wake up calls, trekking for miles, but we would all do it again for Mani Sir.” After detailing us about her character called Ragini in the film, she introduced the superstar from the South, Vikram. Working on a bilingual and his first Hindi film, Vikram admitted, “When I was given the Tamil lines I would think and act, when I was later given the hindi lines, I would just stop thinking and act.”
Amidst the banter, Raavan was getting ready to reveal one of his many avatars. The banter between Ash and Vikram petered out as the first strains of the music could be heard. The maniac, just one of the numerous shades of Raavan was unleashed and Abhishek Bachchan gave a powerful performance of what this Raavan can do, whennailed. As the lyrics of Thok De Khilli gathered momentum, AB dressed in a muddied black shirt and trouser with a black patch on his eye and dirt covering his bare arms and neck, jumped, leaped and thumped as the audiences gave a thunderous applause.
Abhishek had a small tete-a-tete with Ash on stage, where he candidly said, “Working with Mani is simple. You know he will take care of you as an actor. He will do everything for the character and make sure that everything looks seamless. You just have that implicit faith in him because you know that he is only thinking of the character and the film in totality. Nothing else matters and he also has the best technicians working for him.”
The evening ended with a lyrical recitation from Gulzar and AR Rahman took it to the ultimate level when he gave music to those lyrics and sang. It was only natural for the three hundred odd guests to give the duo a standing ovation.
Rohan Sippy, who was part of the spectacle said, “A music release like this cannot be done all the time. The content of Raavan is rich and so is the gravity of the film. It is only then one can plan and conceive a show like this. I don’t see music launches like this becoming a trend because you also need the canvas of a star cast as Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan and Mani Ratnam and AR Rahman.”
Raavan’s music is rich and varied. Mani has stuck to a rain song with Ash, a soulful rendition on destiny, two peppy dance numbers amongst the six tracks of his film. Raavan is slated to release on the 25th of June, but one can be assured that the pulse of the music will be felt, much before its release.
It does look absolutely breathtaking and it’s the type of film that needs a world stage for it looks like the type of movie that could be appreciated worldwide and be a genuine breakthrough film as Indian cinema at its very best.