Saturday 29 October 2011

Movie Review: Ra.One

Bollywood, the name evokes singing and dancing, large choreographed pieces, love and romance but never any actual kissing. Now let's add science fiction to that list with special effects galore and 3D and a mention that this movie now holds the record for the most expensive Bollywood film ever made. There are a lot of good points to this cinematic endeavour and there are a number of not so good points which explains why the critics have been giving mixed reviews.

Let's start with a not so good point. Anubhav Sinha who both wrote the story and directed the movie must have had a target audience of kids in mind. The whole idea centers on a computer game and the characters in the game crossing over into real life. Sorry, this is where I roll my eyes. Tron Legacy tried to thrill me with its computer generated world but the story was so juvenile, it just didn't capture my imagination like, for instance, The Matrix. Ra.One has the same problem. Maybe if I was a fourteen year old kid I may have been enthralled with this gaming stuff translated in live characters. Unfortunately, I'm not 14 years old. Some may say I'm just being an old fuddy duddy but you have to have a little more meat to your story than what Mr. Sinha has come up with. Then again, I wasn't too thrilled with Transformers but I can see those who went nuts for that movie would find this story captivating.

Shahrukh Khan is quite versatile and this film affords him an opportunity to show all his talents. I can see why he has been given the much deserved moniker of The King of Bollywood. While he does a great job of playing the handsome hero kicking butt, he is very, very amusing playing the more goofy game developer. He is so goofy; I found it hard to believe his wife turns out to be the beautiful Kareena Kapoor. However, at a party when the Akon song Criminal starts playing, Mr. Goofy turns into a surprisingly charming dancer. That's when I realised why Kareena Kapoor would have fallen for him.

Speaking of Akon, later in the film we have the choreographed scene with the Akon song Chammak Challo. These big dance numbers are the hallmark of Bollywood films and this film doesn't disappoint in that regard even though it is technically a science fiction movie. I've included the videos for Criminal and Chammak Challo below as I greatly enjoyed them.

I went expecting the film to be in Hindi with subtitles. I was surprised at how much of it was in English. What? I'm still wondering if English crops up that much in everyday speech or if the film maker added the English with an eye on an international market. A couple of scenes where somebody was talking about computer technology and threw in the occasional English technical term was anticipated but then somebody would throw in an entire English expression or just switch to English altogether. What? I'm confused.

Final Word
For me, the premise of the story, characters from a computer game coming to life, just doesn't cut it. If you're a teenager, you may go for it but if you're an adult, you are going to find this sadly lacking. Nevertheless, the special effects were at times interesting and the love story between Khan and Kapoor showed promise. I am always amused by the unwritten Bollywood rule of no kissing in scenes of romance. Yes, there's no kissing but there is still that tension between the players. It is quite different from an American film.

Shahrukh Khan is excellent but my recommendation is to wait until the film comes out on DVD or ends up on television.


Rotten Tomatoes: Ra.One: 78%

Wikipedia: Ra.One
Ra.One (Random Access–Version 1.0) is a 2011 Indian science fiction superhero film, written and directed by Anubhav Sinha. The film, which features Shahrukh Khan in dual roles, as a game developer and his superhero look-alike G.One, also stars Kareena Kapoor, Armaan Verma and Arjun Rampal as the titular game villain Ra.One.

official movie web site: Ra.One

Wikipedia: Akon
Aliaune Damala Badara Thiam, better known as simply Akon (born April 16, 1973), is a Senegalese American R&B recording artist and songwriter.

Uploaded by RaOneMovie on Aug 30, 2011
Chammak Challo Official Song Sung by Akon

The meaning of Chammak Challo
The word Chhammakchhallo (Spelt chammak challo also) is used for a girl who is flashy in appearance. The word can be called part of slang, and can be derogatory as well, though it's not a swear word. Exactly, chhammak here refers to the sound of jingling as someone walks, and chhallo was most probably used for chhallas (chhalla = a ring, not necessarily the one worn in a finger) and hence chhammakchhallo was used for someone who used to make a jingling sound with her jewels.

The lyrics to Chammak Challo
Girl you are my chammak challo.
Where you go girl, I'm gonna follow.
What you want girl just let me know.
Girl be my chammak challo.

Shawty I'm gonna get ya.
You know I'm gonna get ya.
You know I will even let you be my chammak challo.

Kaisa sharmaana aaja nach ke dikha de.
Aa meri hove aaja parda gira de.
Aa meri akhiyon se akhiyan mila le.
Ab tu na nakhre dikha...

Uploaded by tseries on Sep 23, 2011
"Criminal Ra One" (video song) ShahRukh Khan,Kareena Kapoor


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