Ra.One

Actors: Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Master Armaan Verma
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Sci-Fi/Action
The lead pair, the mega bucks, the first trailer, record number ofshowings, the 3D format, the SFX, Akon, Thalaivar’s guest appearance,and SRK’s marketing blitz must all add to the hype and curiosity. But the same potpourri is a recipe for failure when not cooked right. The plot written by Anubhav Sinha is about victory of good over evil.  NerdyShekhar Subramaniam (SRK) is a video game designer based in London withwife Sonia (Kareena Kapoor) and son Prateek (Master Armaan), who doesnot think highly of his father. So Shekhar’s idea to impress his son isto develop a new video game (a la Kinect). The bad character from thegame Ra.One wants to avenge losing (in the game) to Prateek playingG.One aka Good One, in the game. Things turn topsy-turvy when bothcharacters jump out of the video game with Ra.One (Arjun Rampal)hounding Prateek, and G.One (SRK) playing protector.

PERFORMANCES:
As Shekhar, SRK is not commendable. South Indian accent and mannerisms isnot SRK’s cup of tea and must strongly be advised against repeating it.The wig doesn’t help either. Although Shekhar’s chemistry with Sonia isdry, his relationship with Prateek is very well portrayed. As G.One,SRK is classier, younger, muscular and actually looks like a superhero.G.One emoting, being an automaton and especially after an ‘emotion mere syntax mein nahi hai’,is implausible and is clearly a scripting error. The best part aboutG.One is his athletic vibe, and it is refreshing to watch SRK performstunts. VFX is just a tool, but the ropes are tied to a real person andG.One does so much more than just punch the bad guy. Kareena as Soniais eye candy chammak challo and looked too young to play soccermom. Kareena shares great chemistry with G.One. Eh?! OK so I have to fizzle it out for you to let some logic in. Shekhar dies, and so. 

Arjun Rampal as Ra.One has limited appeal. His chiseled look, his suit, hisstunts are greatly in tune with sci-fi villains of today. AlthoughShekhar’s villain is intended to be stronger than the hero, Arjun’sscreentime is low, and as Ra.One does not induce fear and/orexcitement. If anything, Arjun’s action is commendable in the climax.Master Armaan (yep it’s not a girl) plays tween Prateek, who is geekyenough to read video game program code(!). Prateek starts to respecthis father only after his untimely death, and by hanging out withG.One. His role was etched to highlight the relationship between afather and son, and Prateek does a decent job.

DIRECTION, SCREENPLAY & CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Being able to handle a bunch of weighty elements called out in the beginningof the review takes a lot of spunk. Moreso for the film producer tohand over the reins to a Director whose filmography comprised 2 semisci-fi flicks that were duds. A bold decision to cast Anubhav Sinha as Director backfiresin all aspects, who has crumbled unable to use brand SRK and othervaluable resources to narrate what could have otherwise been a superbstory. The story is flawed, its not stressed enough how characters comeout of and go back into the video game; how Ra.One is interested infighting the player and not G.One; how Kareena is able to easily copewith Shekhar’s death and is able to move on and develops feelings forG.One; how G.One is able to emote; the list is virtually endless. Yesit’s a superhero flick with nearly no holds barred, but logic and flowhelps enhance viewing experience. G.One shows up right before theintermission and he’s only there to protect Prateek and Sonia. VFX isused in controlled proportions and there are very specific instanceswhere it is commendable. Sequences that could be awe inspiring aredampened due to westerlies like T2, Spiderman, Iron Man, etc.

Apart from the loose plot, the screenplay by Anubhav Sinha, Kanika Dhillon, MushtaqSheikh, and David Benullo is a complete let down. Once the expectation is established that one solid fight between G.One and Ra.One is mandatory, scenes in the interim are jumbled up without any definitivemeaning and probably with a sole focus to showcase VFX expertise wherepossible. It would have really worked in the film’s favour should G.One do more superhero than just talk. The action in general is limited and the train scene isstretched beyond need. During the initial squabble between G.One andRa.One, there is no reason why they would both throw cars up in theair, which don’t hurt either. There’s some unwanted comedy like G.Onecatching a bullet fired at him, up his nostril beating Dharamji’s act, but still!  Cinematography byNicola Pecorini and V. Manikandan is commendable and all characterslook their best. Used in coordination with VFX, this film is definitelya breakthrough in homebred Indian sci-fi cinema. Specially in theaction sequences, the bike crashing, the bus accident, the trainsequence, the collapse of the terminus etc are good examples. Editing by Sanjay Sharma and Martin Walsh iswhat’s the word, ah yes, shitty. There is a lot of chaff that wasincluded purely to thrill certain audience pockets (read children), butthe content is simply outweighed by poor chaperoning.

MUSIC:
It’s a commonly observed relation in Hindi cinema that good movies tend tohave good music. Vishal – Shekhar’s music hasn’t caught on, except acouple of songs – Chammak Challo and Dildara. Ofcourse the music wasn’t intended to propel the story, but it doesn’twork as a great departure from the bad screenplay either. Backgroundscore by the same duo with contribution from the PraguePhilharmonic Orchestra is catchy and does add excitement to those fewscenes where G.One does spring into action action.

WHY 2/5:
The good: Afuturistic concept although not stitched together correctly. SRK andKareena Kapoor. The VFX. The background score.Potential for part 2. Red Chillies’ production values.
The bad: Direction. Screenplay. Editing. Much hard work in the wrong areas.

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