Raavan (2010): Mani Ratnam's Crown Jewel and a Landmark in Indian Cinema

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews  

raavan, mani ratnam
Raavan (2010) - By Mani Ratnam
Our Rating: 8.0
IMDb Ratings: 5.1
Genre: Action | Adventure | Crime
CastAbhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Govinda
Country: India
Language: Hindi
Color: Color

Raavan is a 2010 movie directed by renowned Indian filmmaker, Mani Ratnam. Mani Ratnam is the undisputed heir to the legacy laid by the great Indian auteurs like Guru Dutt, Dev Anand, Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor and Shyam Benegal. If movies like Roja, Bombay, Yuva were the cornerstones of his career then Raavan would definitely be the crown jewel. Despite being a rendition of the Ramayana, Raavan is avant garde on several fronts. The cinematography of Raavan is both detailed and evocative, and does full justice to the picturesque beauty of movie's exotic shooting locations that spread across Tumkur forests in Karnataka, Athirappilly Falls in Kerala, Malshej Ghats in Maharashtra, and some scenic locations in Ooty, Jhansi, Kolkata and Mahabaleshwar. While this scenic beauty greatly contributes to the movie's poignancy, it simultaneously does a great service to Indian Tourism by marketing India's exquisite beauty so vividly at a global level.

Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan in Raavan
Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan in Raavan
In Raavan, Mani Ratnam dauntlessly transforms the eternal saga of the Ramayana into a profound tale that transcends the trite theme of virtue versus vicea gigantic task that a lesser director could have easily botched up. The tone of Raavan is set right from the first scene and gets enhanced with subsequent scenes. The pristineness of Raavan gives it an uncanny charm, which makes the viewing experience titillating and nigh ineffable. The picaresque theme of Raavan may appear to be commonplace, but movie's exotic backdrop and meticulous execution make it augustly unique. The first half of Raavan is deliberately paced that gives it a poetic effect that is seldom associated with contemporary Indian movies. A. R. Rehman's plaintive score lulls the viewer into a state of trance that sustains beyond the length of the movie. 

Abhishek Bachchan as Beera in Raavan
Abhishek Bachchan as Beera in Raavan
Abhishek Bachchan outdoes himself as an actor in the portrayal of glacial yet vulnerable, Beera, a part which required subtlety and brusqueness in equal parts. Mani Ratnam is known to get the best out of his actors, and even he would be proud of Bachchan's performance in Raavan. Incidentally, it was Mani Ratnam who had entrusted Junior Bachchan with challenging roles in Yuva and Guru that had helped him answer his critics in the early going. Aishwarya Rai gives a thorough performance, doing full justice to her talent and pulchritude. During the course of the movie, one incredibly gets to see her in all the nine rasas (essential aspects or energies that define a set of emotions and moods). Govinda is invidiously under used in the movie, and fails to leave an impact. Raavan has a nice assemblage of actors who have given commendable performances with a special mention of Bhojpuri actor, Ravi Kishan.

Aishwarya Rai in Raavan
Aishwarya Rai in Raavan
Barring a few hiccups and some redundant scenes, Raavan serves to be a great cinematic experience, and has enough to fascinate the masses, satisfy the critics, and teach the students of cinema. It's indeed sad and disconcerting that a movie so high on substance flopped at the box office because of being at the receiving end of some negative publicity at the time of its release. Raavan is a must watch for those who love Hindi cinema and for those who want to get acquainted with it. 

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your feedback is highly appreciated!  

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Raavan Trailer

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  1. Interesting review... made me notice certain details that I might have missed while watching it. Btw, I liked Raavan better than RA.One :-P

    1. Thanks... it's indeed a matter of real pleasure for me! While I liked RA. One for its concept, I just adored Raavan for its cinematic charm.


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