So was it worth the wait? Has SRK delivered what he’s been promising for the last several months? There’s no question Ra.One is the biggest undertaking for a bollywood superhero film. The stunts, special effects, animation and sound is at par with hollywood. But what about the story?
The film is about a father and son. One a video game creator, the other an avid gaming buff. Shekhar (Shahrukh Khan) is trying to convince his gizmo freak, villain loving son, Prateek (Armaan Verma) the values of good, evil and life. Completing their circle of love is Sonia (Kareena Kapoor) the out of control Punjabi kudi, busy completing her thesis on the usage of foul language and its impact if used on the male gender (tere tau ka poda, for starters).
Dalip Tahil plays the owner of Barron Industries, which employees Shekhar and assigns his team to create a new video game. Shekhar’s colleagues Jenny (Shahana Goswami) and Okashi (Tom Wu) successfully design and launch a game titled RA.One (Random Access ONE). On the launch night, RA.ONE successfully manages to step out of his virtual world and enters the real world to complete his unfinished game with Lucifer. What happens next? You’ll have to watch the film.
This film has been touted as the most expensive film in India, largely attributing its costs to the use of CGI to recreate the game scenes, the fights and chases. Money well spent, each and every rupee, dollar and pound. The special effects of the film are world class and for that alone SRK should take a bow! Be it the game scenes or the chase of RA.ONE across the streets of London. Kids should love this aspect of the film and judging from my son’s reaction, they do! Hamza could not sit in his seat during the car dump sequence.
Cinematography by Nicola Pecorini and V Manikanandan is top notch. Be it the aerial shots of London or the ‘in your face’ sequences at Shekhar’s home, they pull you into the movie.
The music of the film by Vishal Shekhar is mindblowing. Even their background score, especially the high pitched signature tune for RA.One is haunting. The Dildaara song really leaves an impact throughout the film, while Bhare Naina stirs the right emotional chords. Criminal really gets the crowd moving. And what can I say about Akon’s other song ’Chammak Challo’? Amatullah was dancing in the aisles as the crowd in this Mysore multiplex really shook the floor when Kareena took to the stage. Excellent choreography by Ganesh Hegde.
The story by Anubhav Sinha is simple and sweet. Coupled with the fast paced screenplay by Anubhav Sinha, Kanika Dhillon, Mushtaq Sheikh and David Benullo, the film doesn’t waste time with unnecessary long drawn out fight sequences or useless talk. It maintains a steady tempo throughout. At around 2 ½ hours, it doesn’t have a single dull moment. Unlike other films recently, the one doesn’t take itself too seriously. The intricacies and the reasoning of how and why the real and virtual worlds collide, is expressed beautifully in the opening shot. Another bow for the makers.
The acting is just right for every character. Be it the intrusive Iyer by Satish Shah or the larger than life Richard Bransonish Barron, pun intended by Dalip Tahil. The supporting role by Tom Wu is good. Shahana Goswami doesn’t have much to do hence looks so much more out of place whilst shaking her ‘booty’ due to her weight. Cant afford to do that if you are sharing the screen and dancing toe to toe with Bebo!
The direction of the film is good. Anubhav Sinha has his heart in the right place and it shows. If the rumours of good friend Karan Johar directing an emotional scene are true, then it has to be the Karva Chauth scene. Brilliant.
Armaan Verma’s debut as Prateek is brilliant. He is lovable as the disinterested brat, cute as the supporting son to the mother and charming as Lucifer. Kudos to the casting team!
Arjun Rampal, though he makes a late entry, lives and breathes his character. When he enters, evil really does take shape. I wish he was given more screen time. Still, he steals the show with his chilling performance.
Kareena Kapoor looks like a trillion bucks! Be it the smart western outfits or the Chammak Challo saree, Manish Malhotra has done one helluva job styling Bebo. But more than that, it’s Kareena’s charming and contagious smile that makes you melt. She shares excellent chemistry with Shahrukh throughout the film. Be it the Jackie Chan’s ‘Armour of God’ inspired fight sequence at Mumbai airport, the dinner table conversation over noodles and curd or the handling of G.ONE at home. After Bodyguard, this is another winner for Kareena and a well deserved one at that.
Now for the man you can love, you can hate, but you simply cannot ignore! The Badshah of Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan. Playing various roles here as producer, actor and chief marketing officer of the film. As a producer, one has to give him full marks for having the courage to make such a product in India. The fights, the chase sequences, etc. have presented us with things only seen in Hollywood films so far. He has taken inspiration from all sources including Shankar’s Robot. But I feel he’s taken it several notches higher. As a marketing person, over and above the tie ups with a food joint, a gaming company, notebook manufacturer, paint company and what not, SRK has managed to use his resources very well. Be it Priyanka Chopra and Sanjay Dutt for the opening sequence, Amitabh Bachchan’s voiceover in the introduction for the game or Superstar Rajnikant’s cameo as Chitti. He does it with class.
SRK’s star power can be seen right in his intro scene as Lucifer. One cant hear anything else besides the crowd’s whistles and hooting for their star. Later, when he makes an entry as G.ONE, again you see how much the crowds love him and deservingly so. But his true star power is witnessed when the crowd sees Chitti and for a split second, one is treated to both icons in the same frame. For the rest, he pays tribute to THE SUPERSTAR Rajni, who makes an amazing ‘entry’ in the film. I was worried the crowd would uproot the chair in the theater to honour their GOD.
All in all, please treat your self to a special Diwali gift. This is not an epic drama or love story. This is a simple, tender story of a father and son explained in a way today’s generation identifies with. For SRK, 2011 is going to be another 1993, wherein he gave Baazigar and Darr in a span of a couple of months and stole the hearts of the audiences worldwide. Likewise Diwali with RA.One and Christmas with DON2, after a long break of almost 2 years…SRK IS BACK!
YusuF Poonawala, Vice President with a leading Multinational Travel Company, is an independent writer, who authors The Y Factor , a blog where he reviews movies, English and Hindi.