The Verdict on Ra.One
Directed by- Anubhav Sinha
Starring- Shahrukh Khan, Arjun Rampal, Kareena Kapoor, Shahana Goswami, Armaan Verma, Tom Wu
Well, Shah Rukh Khan’s magnum opus has hit the screens worldwide, and it has done so with a considerable force. The marketing juggernaut called Ra.One actually has a movie in the end, and is not just a series of elaborate publicity modules and public appearances as many thought. Well, this Rs. 175 crore magnum opus has opened to record bookings in the festive season. But, is it any good? Well, Mad Crazy Hatter will tell you that, and much more. Here is the Hatter’s verdict on Shah Rukh Khan’s dream project.
Special Effects- 10/10
The movie began with a breath-taking opening sequence laden with Vfx and I almost gasped. For the next 120 minutes, my jaw just kept falling and falling. The special effects and technology in Ra.One is outstanding to say the least. It carries forward a legacy created by Rajni’s Enthiran (Robot) and at times, even surpasses Shankar’s masterpiece. Ra.One has already created a world record by having the most number of VFx aided sequences in any movie- even more than James Cameron’s Avatar. And, I swear by Heath Ledger’s ghost, the special effects alone are enough to carry this movie as potentially the biggest hit of this year. If Enthiran was the pioneer of this genre, then Ra.One could be the watershed for such movies in India. Indian movies are not traditionally known for their technological prowess but it is heartening to see that the times are changing. Quite honestly, in terms of sheer special effects, Ra.One can hold its own in front of any major Hollywood blockbuster.
This is a superhero movie, a futuristic superhero movie in fact. And it’s needless to say that its action sequences are its USP. The action in Ra.One is fast-paced, keeping in tune with the movie’s overall theme. It has been interspersed with the Vfx almost perfectly. Now, Ra.One’s action is not the Salman brand of blunt force trauma inducing, punch-laden, jaw shattering style we have seen in Dabangg and Bodyguard, or the slick combat-based action seen in Hollywood superhero flicks like Spiderman or The Dark Knight. In fact, it is larger than life, and quite blatantly too. SRK seems to have taken a leaf out of Rajnikanth’s voluminous book on style and action and realized that the Indian audience loves action sequences where everything and everyone flies. The sequences are complex and fast-paced, involving lots of heavy duty martial arts, acrobatic manoeuvres and what seems like the Great Indian Rope trick (one where the actors are suspended in mid-air while the camera decides to change its own angle.) The chase sequences are shot well and executed even better. At times, Ra.One is a testosterone-fuelled roller coaster and those times are not few either.
Plot and Treatment- 5/10
The plot of Ra.One could have been its most outstanding feature. It had a wonderful premise, supported by some quality Vfx sequences. But SRK’s habit of pleasing all maybe took a little something away from the ‘hardcoreness’ of the movie. If it had been treated properly, Ra. One could have been the pioneer of superhero movies Bollywood has been waiting for. (I still do not consider Krrish as a genuine superhero movie. It was a farce to all ardent supporters of the superhero genre.) Ra. One still does a decent job, but it’s like a sabretooth with its incisors chopped off, a falcon with its wings clipped, a footballer with his kneecap taken out, a pornstar with… (I think you get the picture.) The plot is laden with all the essentials of an SRK flick- song and dance, melodrama, emotional bonding, a prominent child artist and his unique brand of humour that some like, some don’t and others laugh at sheepishly. The storyline misses out on a few pivotal points and often, doesn’t bother explaining the science of things- which to me is a major shortcoming in any science fiction movie. The plot is still good, but it could have been so much better.
If you are going to the theatre to watch this movie and anticipating power-packed acting performance worthy of the National Awards; please step back so I can slap you out of your reverie. The actors (read people in front of the camera barely emoting, or Kareena’s case emoting too much) are there in the movie just because robots can’t act as of yet. The day Skynet manages to bring out acting robots, the days of the Kareena Kapoors of this world will be over. SRK and Salman have reached an understandingI believe, where have both have decided not to act but simply stand in front of the camera, deliver the lines and exit the scene effortlessly. Well in all fairness, if their movies can make all that money without them having to actually act, then Aamir should be rethinking his act too. Why work hard when you can work smart. But Shah Rukh can actually be a good performer, as he shows in some fleeting scenes in the first half. So, I will forgive him for that Mark Zuckerberg look and Mallu accent.
Kareena’s job is to look hot and overact as much as possible, and she has done both the tasks to perfection. Arjun Rampal makes a fleeting appearance as the lead villain and we would have liked to see more of him. He looks truly badass. Shahana Goswami is the one lifesaver in this movie in terms of acting. It comes naturally to her by the looks of it. Armaan Verma is a likable kid, but he is just that. He is no Dakota Fanning or Darsheel Safary for that matter. Dalip Tahil is quite over the top and Chinese actor Tom Wu is way under it. Superstar Rajnikanth should not have degraded himself by doing that lipstick smeared cameo somewhere in between, but Sanjay Dutt on the other hand, was a treat to watch. Ra.One is no Dark Knight. It does not have intense performances. Its USP is the action and not the actors.
The Elements- 6/10
The cinematography of the film is consistent with its theme. But quite honestly, the cinematographers Nicola Pecorini and V. Manikandan did not have much to do with the amount of special effects in this movie. But still, the credit has to go to them for making the action so lifelike and fast-paced. This is the first major Indian movie to have a wide 3D release, and one can see why. The theme and treatment of the movie suits a 3D environment perfectly. The Vfx and the action has been specifically designed keeping in mind the 3D technology and hence, they blend in very well. I myself find 3D a bit cumbersome and prefer a movie where I do not have to look like a hippy from the 60s with those glasses. But if you are a 3D buff, then Ra.One would definitely appeal to you in 3D. The background score is able to capture the tone of action to perfection, although it does lag behind in parts and places. The soundtrack is certainly not one of Vishal-Shekhar’s better works and is passable at best. The much-hyped ‘Chammak Chhallo’ is foot-tapping and nothing more, although Kareena Kapoor has ensured that the video stays in our mind for some time. Other tracks like ‘Dildaara’ and ‘O Rehnuma’ are pleasant, but nothing special. The surprise package for me was ‘Raftaarein’ sung by Vishal Dadlani in an RD Burmanesque voice.
THE VERDICT- 6.6/10
Ra.One has special effects never seen before in an Indian movie. For that alone, it is a must watch. In fact, the action and Vfx are so strong that one can choose to simply ignore any other shortcomings and plot loopholes that the movie has. So the Hatter says that if you are in either of the four following categories, then go watch Ra.One- a) SRK fans b) special effect and Vfx crazies c) sci-fi freaks d) just someone who wants his money’s worth this festive season.