|BOLLYWOOD | Film Review
Hitech Masala: Ra.One
Written & Directed by: Anubhav Sinha
Produced by: Gauri Khan
Music by: Vishal-Shekhar
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Armaan Verma, Shahana Goswami and Tom Wu.
Rating: ***1/2 (Good)
(Above): Shah Rukh and Kareena in “Ra.One.”
Okay, amidst the crossfire of reviews from both sides, let’s call it a ceasefire and let G.One get the benefit of doubt.
Remember it’s a Bollywood movie. And with that in mind, it is a good flick. There have been love-hate reviews circulating, but the fact remains that with Ra.One, Bollywood has come of age as far as the technical aspects of filmmaking are concerned.
There are ambitious scenes with multiple cameras and serious computer animation involved in this film. Though the script is average, you get peppy music, thrills and computer graphics that could be the envy of any Hollywood flick.
Moreover, it is a kid-friendly movie that has also appealed to the young adult audience. The older generation who see real life video games and their kids hooked to it, as trouble, to them it might not make much sense. You can’t win them all.
The film begins with Jenny Nayar (Shahana Goswami) introducing a techology product, dealing with transfer of data through different types of rays and blending of real and virtual words.
The plot then shows dreaming sequence where Lucifer (Shah Rukh Khan) battles Khalnayak (Sanjay Dutt), a game character who has taken a desi girl hostage (Priyanka Chopra). Lucifer rescues the girl, Prateek suddenly wakes out of his dream in the class.
(Above): Armaan Verma in “Ra.One.”
Lucifer later becomes the gaming id of Prateek Subramanium (Armaan Verma), a cool dude who rocks in the band, skateboards and is a technology freak, Prateek loves playing video games. However, he dislikes his father Shekhar (Shah Rukh Khan), a bumbling and naive Tamilian who works at Barron Industries in the gaming department.
Shekhar tries to woo his son with various antics and ends up embarrassing himself and Prateek.
Shekhar’s wife, Sonia (Kareena Kapoor), is writing a thesis on swear words and wants to change the world’s way of swearing by converting the targets from females to males.
While the family is generally close knit, Shekhar’s habit of quoting famous personalities often irritates others around him.
Shekhar’s company acquires a major contract to produce a game with warnings regarding the poor response to the two previous games produced by the company.
Shekhar and Prateek have discussions on the game, and predictably, their opinions vary, (read generation gap).
(Above): Kareena in “Ra.One.”
Taking the cue from his son, Shekhar decides to make the villain in the game almost invincible, as a way to please his son.
Shekhar installs artificial intelligence technology in the villain, allowing him to learn new moves and strategies as the game progresses.
The villain is named Ra.One (Arjun Rampal), and the hero is named G.One (Shah Rukh Khan). The game has three levels.
Both G.One and Ra.One have HARTs — electronic devices that power them and give them their ability to play. However, the HARTs are also a liability as without the HART, one cannot die in the game. Death will occur only in Level 3, and only when both the HART and the hero/villain are together. The game is played using motion-sensor body suits to be worn by the player in real life.
The first trials of the game show very positive results. However, Akashi (Tom Wu), who tests the game using the suits, faces unnatural behavior while playing. On the day of the game launch, Akashi demonstrates the game to the public but feels that something is wrong, as the fights in the game seem to be affecting the real life as well.
The game, meanwhile, is received well and Prateek insists on playing it first.
He logs on as Lucifer and plays the game, reaches Level 2, and almost completes it. As Akashi attempts to quit the game, he hears Ra.One say “Lucifer shall die.”
(Above): Shah Rukh “Ra.One.”
Akashi calls Shekhar and asks him to check the programs related to the game. When he checks the program, he finds something very wrong with them. As he moves to a different area to search for the problem, Ra.One utilizes the technology introduced in the beginning of the game to come to real life. He assumes the form of Akashi and tracks down the real Akashi, and demands to know who Lucifer is.
Akashi is killed by Ra.One. He then targets others. Now it is up to Shekhar (G.One) to save Prateek from Ra.One.
Ra.One is a Bollywood movie at heart. It has humor, music, energy, and a story of a father-son relationship that is heartening and very human even with all the science and tech action around.
It might not appeal to stout critics, but to a Bollywood buff this movie is a good bang for the buck.
People have compared Ra.One to Hollywood flicks, but they forget that Bollywood has a style that no Hollywood film could duplicate.
Yet, in Ra.One, there is the hitech feel of Hollywood flicks with all the Bollywood masala.