Excitement had been brewing literally by the day for the past many months. Promotions made watching television difficult. Expectations rode on cloud nine and almost touched the moon as media went berserk like the speeding Mumbai local coming to stop only in front of Ganapati, courtesy superhero G.One but not before the heritage building housing the Victoria Terminus station (renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) developing a million cracks, people on the street going amuck like cattle in a storm, and the poor queen’s head rolling in the street. Unfortunately, sadly Sukh Rukh Khan’s misdirected attempt to create a villain who cannot be vanquished falls flat when that does not happen, and in an attempt to have a happy ending G.One is resurrected to kill the villain.
There is no denying the fact that it is an example, a little too perfect, of heart over-riding the mind. Ra.One is no doubt a sincere effort that has gone down the gutter. Universally penned by the critics mercilessly, it has also been outright rejected by the audience. A case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. The flick has one long disjoined sequence of situations and events that aren’t even half-baked, but also lackadaisically connected with the seemingly sole purpose of being able to show a 40-plus fading superstar performing some breathtaking stunts. An injudicious mixture of too many genres that fail to lead to a wholesome experience, beginning with Sahana Goswami addressing an assembly of dumb ones who do not even raise a questioning finger when she dwells on joining the reality with the reel (though the heroine does ask how a character in a video game can come alive).
Goswami takes a break to pave the way for the arrival of an awful-looking Sanjay Dutt and dangling-in-the-air Priyanka Chopra appearing like a bad omen in itself. Followed by an equally unimpressive mixture of a serious storyline intercepted by slapstick in the first half which sees the hero dead. And many take-offs in the second half leading credence to a little thrill are ruined by the bereaving mother-son returning to India with the resurrected hero playing the bodyguard, assuming human forms for song and dance sequences at will, and then the whole Karvachauth drama being enacted in a most ridiculous fashion. It is a sad story all the way because reportedly more than Rs 150 crore had been riding on this gizmo-happy amateurish attempt to create a superhero. With much less expertise and finesse Rakesh Roshan had raked in millions. Indeed a large chunk of the first half where the superman superstar leap frogs over London skyscrapers, over running cars holds the viewer spell bound. But then mere gimmicks never work, and one has seen the likes of these over and over again with better contents even in terms of pure fantasy.
For a while now most high-end Hindi movies have been relying heavily on the booty from the overseas territory(ies). Now for that audience, having watched far superior fare, with better story-boards, technical gloss and splendour like Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Bicentenial Man, Terminator 2, The Matrix, X-Men and many more besides the only thing of interest would/could have been the return of the actor who likes to be called ‘Badshah Khan’ after a long hiatus. And there is, literally, a mouthful of him in the film that many would find hard to gulp down with a tall glass of Pepsi. Kareena Kapoor lives her role with finesse, so does the young boy with a confident presence, Armaan Varma. Arjun Rampal’s gradual transformation from a lamp-post to a dependable actor after Om Shanti Om is amazing. The menacing look accompanying the taut muscles is effective to say the least. Not a single character comes across convincing even if films thrive on make-believe and cinematic licence. To make matters more unbearable, the dialogue go from pedestrian to pathetic: the worst being the double-entrées, car keys landing in a woman’s revealing bosom and all that condom talk in a film that would have largely survived because of juvenile patronage. The music by Vishal-Shekhar is yet another letdown, leave alone the elegantly choreographed Chhamak Chhallo that rides high on Kareena Kapoor’s scintillating presence. Some inventiveness could have lent a whiff of fresh air, but then even the lyrics have nothing to offer.
The film has sunk without even a whimper, resulting in Shah Rukh Khan being bestowed with a billion jokes that went round the net within two days of release, including : Government also declared 26 October as public holiday to celebrate the end of Ra.One promotions…; Government of India just announced Rs 50000 relief to all those who watched Ra.One, Rs 25000 for those who left at interval; Breaking News…! Crocin, Disprin, Combiflam, Adol Panadol, Diclomol and all headache tablets stock over after Ra.One’s release; Salman to SRK after watching Ra.One, “Mujh par ek ehsaan karna, dubara aisi movie mat banana”; Rahul Gandhi to meet people affected after seeing Ra.One; Even Ra.mu doesn’t wanna waste time by watchin Ra.One…! Nahi chala Ra.One…! Ab SRK bolega buy one get one aur ek week ke baad bolega Ra.One coming soon on Sahara One and Star One; All bachelors must see Ra.One to understand what pain means to married men; Ra.One gives more pain than a wife—HARD TO BELIVE BUT TRUE; Get Ra.One under Lokpal bill…! Put people behind bars who made such movie; As SRK hates losing and hates messages he is surely of going to take a break from Twitter; Now v came 2 know why he joined Google+ before Ra.One release; Faking News 100 people committed mass suicide after watching Ra.One…!
Even before the release two years ago of My Name is Khan, even Billu before that, which he had produced, professors of doomsday have been naming it the end of the road for Badshah Khan as while the former raked in the moolah mainly from the USA and not the domestic market, and the latter not even doing that. Shah Rukh Khan, the self-styled Badshah of Hindi cinema had done incredibly well in an attempt to reinvent himself as an action hero, especially in Don…the chase begins. Ra.One has him making yet another attempt to reinvent himself. But, sadly for him, instead of out-doing he has undone himself and come a cropper. But then one can’t write him off in a hurry for his next big release, action thriller Don 2 in which he plays the ruthless underworld gangster (from the look of it at least unlike Ra.One) holds a lot of promise, and could as well turn out to be a Christmas bonanza for both himself and his millions of well-wishers.
By Suresh Kohli