Occasionally the husband and I have the time and interest to physically step out to catch a movie in town. Most of the times, we indulge in the DVD. Having a home theater (and plunging considerable money on it) has its benefits, thankfully. We are a family obsessed with sports and movies. Though am the lone ranger who does not share that kind of obsession, but just a “healthy interest” in both.
What with seeing the movie’s promos every evening (no, we weren’t flooded like u guys back in India); AND with our next door multiplex starting to show Bollywood movies, it was not too hard a decision to run away on a week night to watch Ra One. I know, we are getting so daring; watching 2nd show on a work/week day and all. Living life on the edge I tell you!
Anyway, we left, stuffed to the seam with my Diwali food, parked along with other handful of cars and entered. The place is dead. I see about 6 very loud group of desis in a corner and we acknowledge each other in true desi style. We ignored the others presence and while the girls continued stuffing their bellies with popcorn, the guys got busy with their phones. We bought tickets, and moved towards the hall, me doing a completely out of character thing and refusing husband’s offer of popcorn. Twice. I *am* growing old I tell you, being healthy and wise and all..
So we sit, and I counted all of 16 folks including a toddler girl running all around. Their parents got a ton of brownie points from me, when they decided to sit at the corner near the doors. Quick escape route was chalked out well. I loved that move, wish more parents were like them. By the time the movie actually starts, the hall’s filled to twice that number.
Usually I just ramble between the like and the dislike parts of a movie while doing a very personal review, but am thinking I’ll do it differently this time. Especially since it’s been whipped to death on Twitter and the usual movie critics and sure maybe they (critics) do know better, but then again, I am of the firm belief that movies are an artform that is to a very good level personal. If potty humor works for a slice, then subtlety works for others.
The catch is in the delivery and a cohesiveness of the piece as a whole. So, how does the whole piece work for you? It worked ok for me and my husband. But that’s just us, despite me being the less tolerant one for Bollywood nonsense. It may or may not work for you, and the review below and ones floating all over the web, will just add and tilt your decision.
So here we go:
The Good: [Yes, there is good, so stop the snickering already!]
- SFX. As some of the Hollywood folks say, it means that Bollywood is really ready to compete in the big leagues. (It has a while, but this made folks sit up and notice)
- The car chase with Kareena and the kid doing the getaway from the Ra One is probably the most nicely done scene. It takes the movie on par with any of the fight scenes in the thrillers of Hollywood; Terminator, Mission Impossible and such. Sharp, incisive and of perfect length.
- Kareena. Boy, is she hot or is she hot?! Proof in the fact that women on hitting the 30′s reach a whole new level of sensuality. She also does her role justice. She’s come a long way from her very annoying K3G era.
- Arjun Rampal does a cameo 15 minute role. The guy has always been hot, and here he is smoldering. Very underplayed, but when he did get on screen, he lights up. Yes, I like a deadpan, especially when it’s named Arjun Rampal. Sue me!
- The story was alright. It started fine enough and had some good potential to become a PG 13 movie, except that it got lost mid-way.
- The train sequence was excellent. Again some copying from Terminator (when SRK goes peeping into the coaches); but it was executed very well. Except that there really was no need to see poor VT go down the way it did, but all in the name of effects.
- Did I mention special effects?
- Chamak Challo: Akon and Kareena made that song. Criminal is alright except that one cannot take eyes off Kareena. The girl stole most of the show. Some parts the background music added a nice touch.
- The kid is alright. He could have used a haircut, but that’s just me.
- I also liked the movie’s disclaimer on stunts. SRK’s line towards the end also warning for no one to try this at home. No idea who came up with it, producer, SRK or legal, but that was a responsible thing unheard of in Bollywood, and it didn’t go un-noticed.
The Bad: [Aren't you happy?]
- Storyline got lost somewhere in the middle. I understand it’s a fantasy/sci-fi movie, but there has to be some semblance of logic as it flows through. It bordered on arrogance. On wanting to reach high, being told to simmer it down; and hence the stubborn insistence on going through. It seemed like it wanted to be a kid movie, (young adult 8 years to maybe 14) and hence the absence of romance and keeping it clean, but the cuss words in Hindi didn’t help. Potty humor was what I guess they were going for, but there’s this thing about humor, that not all can carry through. SRK does good comedy in general, but this was just in very bad taste, especially coz it seemed disjointed. As if added in as an afterthought.
- It bothered me that every single frame had either SRK or the kid or Kareena in it. Every one else were doing cameos. It seemed a joke. Gather in the buddies with some clout, their friends(fans) will warm that seat for you. Priyanka Chopra, Sanjay Dutt, Amitabh, Rajinikanth, Satish Shah: all scrapbook glued on to the scenes for a dimension that didn’t really come through.
- SRK’s humor is usually on the money. This time around, he tried too hard, and it shows.
- SRK is looking old. In both roles. Age has caught up and I hold no grudge against it, except that one can age gracefully and elegantly, and still remain youthful.
- So Ra One wants to kill Lucifer, coz Lucifer beat him in the game. Okay, I’ll allow that. Why is everyone else being killed? Akashi, Shekhar, Akashi’s mother? Victims of war? *shrug*
- The first opening video game scene was corny. The introduction of the family was even cornier. Seriously though,how dumb must the character be to say “konJam” as “conDom”. Last I checked, R and L were interchangeable by lispers or toddlers, and even J and H for the Spanish, but J and D. Bit of a front-bench bait me thinks.
The Ugly: [Read WTF]
- I understand the movie’s a sci-fiction, and sometimes, screenplays can overlap depending on how good the appeal of it was. This seemed like an complete mash of Terminator, Matrix and such. The original parts where very few. Movie fed off of the established storylines, and hits.
- SRK’s curly wig
- Rajinikanth’s makeup and wig. Even if it was just a 3D visual effect that we’ve suspected all along, and is now confirmed! Just look at my bad iPhone picture taken of the screen and you’ll know what am saying.
- SRK’s blatant deriding of the South Indians (and am not even a Tamilian by birth, but more adopted) by saying “ayyo” with every line, his fake tamil accent. North Indian – South Indian rifts are legendary in some aspects of our lives. Even movies, and for the most part it’s taken in the spirit of the arts, for the sake of goodwill and humor. It is a wonder why Bollywood does not get that fine line it crosses almost every single time. It’s okay to mock a community, but not when they aren’t smiling anymore.
- SRK’s noodles+curd – no idea where he thought curds just went with all! It does, but noodles, that my husband insisted was spaghetti, so whatever! (It bothered me immensely, not for the incorrigible taste that it may or may not work, but the insinuation it carried)
For an average movie goer, the movie is not bad. The movie isn’t great either. It’s one of those easily forgettable bollywood movies in the middle. A large part of them, unfortunately, fall in this bucket. It’s entertaining the way mainstream Bollywood movies are meant to. With less use of brain and more use of your visual sense.
If you can wait and have at least a 42″ TV, wait for the DVD. Kids can watch it, just threaten them on the language to be avoided. One time showing.
There’s good looking people with a large following, some good music, some nice fights and some lovely locales all in a typical Indian storyline. What’s not to like?
Soem reviews from local newspapers:
The Salon: (skim past the line where he calls Rajinikanth a one-time hero, he know not much)
As I always say, read the reviews if you have to, but taste is personal, and it takes some effort and courage to swim against the tide. Like SRK tried and failed slightly coz he looked for support and playing safe. The point is, watch the movie, form your own opinion.