Dan dan dan dan dan danakka!
There are five dan’s in Raavanan’s dandanakka chanting. Raavanan is a roller coaster ride of emotions, of the audience who are feverishly trying to find out who is the real Raavanan. Mani is a beautiful essayer of People’s emotions. When it comes to putting it together visually through the actors, the light, set and the music, he is a master. Raavanan is exactly that and much more and some less.
It is a story revolving around 3 powerful characters. Dev the cop, who doesn’t give up and who wants to “encounter” everything related to Veera. Veera, the tribal leader who has 10 screaming heads in him, that of good and bad (and also one head chanting dandanakka). Ragini the ‘classy’cal dancer who becomes the target of Veera and who begins to see the two men from different perspectives.
It moves from what we would normally perceive as a fight between good and evil and associate them to people. Dev being good and Veera being bad. But very soon as the story unfolds in the background of beautiful forest landscape, the perspective of the story gets tilted in favor of Veera. Veera’s life, his people, his family, their sufferings and the justice that he seeks for them against oppression. As the story moves towards the end, the line blurs and you won’t know what is good and what is bad and who is good and who is bad. Everything merges and what you see is just events happening like a chain reaction.
The visuals and art work are stunning. Perhaps Mani’s best picturisation till date. Vikram rocks as Veera. It stopped me from even considering to watch the Hindi version, as I really doubted whether Abi could match his performance. (It seems to be so, as I am seeing bad reviews of the Hindi Raavan) Prithviraj’s Dev was quite a surprise. His portrayal of a cold blooded cop reaches its heights when he smiles as he shoots Veera and his brother. Aish was beautiful as a daring woman with growing softness for Veera and reaches her peak when she fights Veera in a slow background of “Kattusirukki”.
Beyond these three characters, Karthik as Hanuman and Prabhu as Kumbakarna seem to have been wasted a little bit, although they did their part well. In my opinion I feel Karthik needed a much more screen time to assert the role of Hanuman. There were some loose ends and abrupt moments in the screenplay when Karthik appears as a surprise where Aish is being Hidden by Veera and when Aish just stops the train and walks out in search of Veera, easily giving away the prize money to Dev. It was difficult to digest them in an otherwise tightly written script.
Raavanan is a treat to Mani’s fans. But I really wished Mani could have made just Raavanan and focused on it alone. We are missing “the Mani” ever since he started putting one foot in Bolly and one foot in Kolly. Perhaps this is the reason for the few minor discrepancies that I had described. I am not an expert to say this though.
Also, for god sakes, please begin putting OST like Hollywood. The background score is just awesome, too bad I can’t have them in my iPod. Is someone listening to this? Do you feel they should do this?
Alright that’s it, let me stop my buk buk buk buk buk!