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Ramayana-The Epic review: Great animation, zero creativity

Ramayana-The Epic review: Great animation, zero creativity

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Movie Title

Ramayana-The Epic review: Great animation, zero creativity

Director

Chetan Desai

Star Cast

Manoj Bajpayee, Juhi Chawla, Mukesh Rishi, Ashutosh Rana

The lack of choice in Indian animation is truly woeful.

On TV you have tales of Bheem and Kumbhakaran, and the films can?t look beyond Hanuman, Ganesh and Ram as their protagonists. Last week saw Lava-Kusa release, which chronicled the story of Lord Ram. This week the kids get to watch Ramayana.

It?s worrying.

Why are our animation filmmakers so wary of creating original, fun characters rather than sticking to stories that are mainly violent, regressive, and frankly more appealing and suitable for grown-ups?

Ramayana is no doubt an interesting tale, rooted in the belief that good wins over evil. The characters are strong, the developments astounding, and the finale mind-blasting. So then, there?s not much left to do for the makers than to prettify the story.

Chetan Desai?s storytelling is suitably gimmicky. You have a sea monster with a snake?s head hissing directly onto the screen, the intimidating Raavan?s palace, the sea-god emerging dramatically and so on. The battle between Ram and Raavan is a visual spectacle with elephants, hundreds of Raavans, and the final confrontation.

The core of the story is battle: whether it is between the devas and rakshasas, between two brothers, or between Ram and Raavan. So you have plenty of violence throughout.

The Bali-Sugreev portion (where the two brothers fight for the throne to Kishkindha) is shown in great detail and is a stylistically shot portion. You have the two brothers fighting to the tune of thunderstorms, while Ram?s carefully aimed arrow pierces the rain in slow-mo.

The film?s animation is sophisticated and detailed, far superior to most Indian animations.

Dialogue is tweaked to make it more contemporary. So you have a Raavan meeting (all 10 of them in a room), where one Raavan shuts down the other?s suggestion by saying, ?Marvayega?. Then again the vaanars in Kishkindha are introduced by way of Bollywood-style dancing and singing.

The performances are praiseworthy: Manoj Bajpayee (Lord Ram), Juhi Chawla (Sita), Mukesh Rishi (Hanuman), Ashutosh Rana (Raavan) and Rishabh Shukla (Laxman) are all cast perfectly. Rana?s rendering of Raavan and Rishi?s as Hanuman is especially effective.

The legendary story?s most controversial portion occurs after Ram rescues Sita and then doubts her fidelity. But this film prefers not getting into that aspect at all, and ends much before, just as Ram and Sita are happily reunited.

Go for it only if you?re yearning to revisit the tale yet again.

Rating: 2 stars

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