The biggest reason why Ravanan is watchable is Vikram’s interpretation of the "Veera"/ "Ravanan" character. The basic difference between Abhiskek’s version and Vikram’s is this...Abhishek is a boy playing Beera, Vikram plays Veera like a Man. You have the same unintentionally hilarious scene where there are 10 villagers describing different aspects of the Veera character..but you know what...it is actually believable in the tamil version as Vikram actually adds complexity to his character, without making anything caricature’ish. Vikram’s Veera is above all else Noble. While the screenplay still lets him down, his facial expressions, his sheer masculinity, and warmth on the screen make Vikram very credible as a man people look up to, a defender of the very people he comes from. The other aspect of Vikram’s portrayal that i really liked is the fact that he comes across as a strong, almost invulnerable man with one achilles heel...his strong attraction to Raagini. While Abhishek made his attraction almost laughable with his manic behaviour, the very same mannerisms on Vikram make him look like a man who is struggling to hide his attraction for an unattainable lady, almost losingcontrol of his faculties every time he is around her! I loved the scene on the revolving boat, where Veera asks Raagini to stay back with him. This is a proud man who is asking for the moon..he knows she wont stay, yet he is helpless in the face of his desire. Tremendous work by Vikram!
2. Language, setting:
The rustic tamil spoken consistently by all of Veera’s people, and the rain drenched lush forests are MUCH more in sync with Ravanan than it was with Ravan.... i have to admit, while watching the hindi version, i spent half my time wondering where exactly the action was happening! In Ravanan, the setting is in tune with the characters and Veera’s community makes sense.
3. Dev and Raagini:
Prithivi Raj and Aishwarya, as Dev and Raagini in the tamil version, look far more in tune as a couple than Vikram and Aishwarya did in Raavan. A huge problem with Aishwarya’s looks is that very few men match up to her on an equal footing on screen. Salman Khan, Hrithik are some of the men in the past who have complimented her. Prithivraj too has the clean cut looks that sort of gel with Aishwarya’s on screen presence. Vikram does fabulously as a Ravanan who ASPIRES to be with Raagini, a bit in awe if you will,knowing that they dont quite fit together. Whereas Prithvi raj looks quite comfortable playing Aishwarya’s on screen husband. That being said, there are still HUGE problems with Dev/Prithiviraj’s characterization even in the tamil version, but atleast he looks the part..both in terms of his on screen paramour, AND in terms of providing a complete anti thesis to Vikram, with regards totheir appearance.
Inexplicably, even though the melody is the same, the lyrics arent that different, the music in Ravanan works much better. I think again the cultural suitability of the soundtrack, given that Rahman and Mani Rathnam (who must be ok’ing the tunes)are from the South,is what goes in favour of Ravanan.The "Katta Katta" song is incredibly catchy, the dance song is well choreographed and Vikram is a far more accomplished dancer..or i should say his steps just fit better with his characterisation than it did with Abhishek.
5. Veera/Ravanan and Raagini:
In the tamil version, the viewer has no difficulty believing that Veera is besotted with Raagini, that he finds himself vulnerable only when it comes to her. Alternately, Raagini does not display any attraction towards Veera. Yes, she does soften towards him as the movie progresses, but it is fairly clear that she wants to get backto her husband. The ambivalence that was there towards Abhishek, isnt seen in the tamil version, which actually works out well. This is closer to the original conceptualisation of Sita...which fits inbetter with the plot that Mani Rathnam has deviced for his movie.
All in all, while Ravanan still falls short of Mani Rathnam’s earlier works, it is not nearly as bad as i thought it was :) The tamil version has a good Veera/Ravanan, a beautiful Sita/Ragini, a good looking if poorly characterised Dev, and some interesting songs to fill in the gaps
Source : http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Ravanan_Movie-194048-1.html
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