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Starring: Vikram, Aishwarya Rai, Priyamani, Prithviraj, Prabhu, Karthik.
Direction: Mani Ratnam
Music: A R Rahman
Production: Madras Talkies
The biggest Friday of the year thus far is here. After more than 6 years, Mani Ratnam is finally ready to release a film in Tamil. The last time we saw a Mani Ratnam Tamil film on screen was in 2004, Ayudha Ezhuthu. Though 2007 had Guru which was nothing short of a masterpiece and also had a dubbed Tamil version, it basically was a Hindi movie. But, now we will have our wish; the release that we have been waiting for all these years; Raavanan.

Well, there is nothing left to say about this movie that most of you would not know. Ever since it was first announced, it has been one of the most eagerly followed processes. Every bit of news about Raavanan and its making has found its way into the media and that leaves very few surprises to unravel in the form of a preview. However, in spite of all the hype and media coverage associated with the movie, there is still mystery that shrouds the actual theme of Raavanan and there is intense anticipation regarding this aspect.

How will Mani Ratnam interpret the Ramayana? Or, is it an interpretation of the Ramayana at all? Have we been guessing too many things just because of the title of the film? Well, that is unlikely because we have got quite a few clues regarding Raavanan’s link to the great Indian epic. The trailers have very clearly shown that Aishwarya Rai being held a captive in what seems to be forest like environs. And, the natural extension of this would be the rescue mission being carried out by Aishwarya Rai’s husband to retrieve her from captivity. The captor is Raavanan, the captive is Sita and the man out to rescue the captive is Rama. Pretty simple; one would think. But, Mani Ratnam is not the one to go along such obviously expected lines and that is where all the anticipation about Raavanan’s take on the Ramayana arises.

Almost everyone knows that there are conflicting interpretations of the Ramayana and the mindset of the characters involved in it. Perhaps the most diversely sketched character across mythology is Raavanan himself. Some detest him as the evil asura lord who misused all his powers to wreak havoc in all the three worlds and then schemed in a wicked way to kidnap Sita, not showing the guts to face Rama one to one in a duel. Some versions, however, present him as the learned, devout Brahmin who managed the almost impossible feat of gaining the amnesty of Lord Shiva after infuriating him. He is also shown as an able ruler and invincible warrior who created the great city of Lanka and there are also views which justify his kidnapping Sita, saying that he was avenging the insult that his sister Surpanaka was subjected to at the hands of Rama.

There are also versions which go to the extent of saying that all that Raavanan did was towards his ultimate aim of getting slain by Rama who was none other than Lord Vishnu himself and thus gain eternal salvation.

Which Raavana will Mani Ratnam present before us on screen? Well, there have been reports that this Raavana is one who earns the wrath of the system by standing up for the oppressed and the minorities. But, we don’t know anything for sure.

If Raavanan is providing a huge opportunity to anyone, then it has to be Vikram. Well, any actor will benefit hugely from a Mani Ratnam film. But, Vikram has got an extra special opportunity this time; something that no actor in world cinema has got to do - playing protagonist and antagonist (if there is a clear-cut distinction) of the same story in different versions. As Raavanan in Tamil and as Rama in Hindi; this is one movie that will prove Vikram’s versatility beyond doubt. One can says for sure that his fame is sure to spread much farther with Raavanan. Aishwarya Rai seems to be a blessed actress; very few get three Mani Ratnam films in their career, this lady has. It will be enchanting to see the ‘most beautiful lady of India’ (supposedly) play the highly revered Sita. Priyamani gets a huge opportunity, so do Prithviraj and Munna. And, there will be a whole lot of highly respected faces like Karthik and Prabhu.

Raavanan can be said to be a film that stands on a tripod. The tripod consists of Mani Ratnam, Santhosh Sivan and A.R. Rahman. Nothing needs to be said about the excellence that these technicians bring. We already know about the music; the magic of the camera will soon be evident.

As a film; according to reports, Raavanan was among the toughest to have been shot. The most demanding terrains, the most inclement weather, the most unfortunate interferences, delays etc. created a lot of doubts over Raavanan. But, the team has braved all this and come out proud and all of them seem genuinely confident that they are part of a good product. The fights were reportedly shot in very risky conditions, including one on a shaky hanging bridge and a scene where Aishwarya and Vikram climb up a waterfall. That is the kind of stuff we get to see on AXN. It is really going to be a thrilling experience.

At a run time of reportedly just above 2 hours, Raavanan will be exciting, emotional and gripping journey which will look to interpret one of the most revered Indian myths. This one has definitely got all the makings of a milestone in Indian cinema. Be sure to be there!
Tags : Raavanan, AR Rahman, Aishwarya Rai, Vikram, Abhishek Bachan, Prithviraj, Priyamani, Prabhu
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