Business Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Star cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, master Armaan Varma.
What’s Good: Individual sequences; stars’ performances; excellent visual effects; the superlative action, the ‘Chammak Challo’ song; eye-filling photography; extraordinary background score.
What’s Bad: The first 20 minutes and some portions in the second half which are boring; the story, which is about a video game, will not be fully understood by the computer-illiterate older generation.
Verdict: Ra.One has novelty and great visual effects to see it through at the box-office and ensure profits in spite of its very high cost.
Loo break: A few in the first half.
Eros International and Red Chillies Entertainment’s Ra.One is the story of Shekhar Subramanium (Shah Rukh Khan), who lives in London and who is so clumsy and uncool that his young, school-going son, Pratik (master Armaan Varma), does not consider him as his hero or idol. In fact, he doesn’t even respect his father like a son should.
Shekhar works in a gaming company and he alongwith his colleagues makes a video game, Ra.One, in which the villain, Ra.One, is almost invincible. He makes the villain so powerful because his son tells him that heroes are boring and villains are cool. As luck would have it, Pratik, who plays games under the name of Lucifer, defeats Ra.One upto a level. Ra.One then loses his head and escapes from the computer in search of Lucifer. Soon, he kills Shekhar when he lies to him that his name is Lucifer. Shekhar takes on the blame in a bid to save his son’s life. But Ra.One, who has now taken the identity of Shekhar’s own colleague Akashi (Tom Wu), does not give up his search for Lucifer alias Pratik.
Meanwhile, Pratik goes to his dad’s office and between Jenny (Shahana Goswami) and Pratik, the two decide that G.One or, in other words, the Good One from the game would have to be released from the game to combat Ra.One.
Pratik and his widowed mother, Sonia (Kareena Kapoor), leave London to return to India and are given a hot chase by Ra.One. After a lot of misses, Ra.One finally confronts the mother-son duo but G.One emerges in the form of Shekhar to save them.
Now, G.One, Sonia and Pratik come to India after G.One has almost eliminated Ra.One. However, Ra.One is re-constructed one day and lands in India. What happens next? Does he find Lucifer? Does G.One protect Sonia and Pratik alias Lucifer? If so, how?
Ra.One Review: Script Analysis
The story, penned by Anubhav Sinha, has been liberally borrowed from several Hollywood films but it has been suitably Indianised. The Indianised screenplay, written by Kanika Dhillon, David Benullo, Mushtaq Shiekh and Anubhav Sinha, is fast-paced for a good part, but the first 20 minutes, and some portions in the second half are a bit boring. Perhaps, the most heart-touching Indian sentiment in the drama is when G.One comes to the rescue of Sonia and Pratik for the first time, appearing like Shekhar. There are other emotional moments like when Sonia takes a promise from G.One that he would save Pratik’s life, come what may, and when G.One and Pratik join forces to try and combat Ra.One in the end. Also, how Pratik is made to realise that ultimately, it is the hero who is good, and it is the villain who is evil and that good is what one should pursue, is subtle yet effective. But the emotions are understated and although they touch the heart-strings, they do not draw tears from the audience’s eyes. Had the sentiments been more pronounced, it would’ve been better as the viewers would be moved to tears.
However, where there are less-than-required emotions, there are some sequences which are absolutely brilliant and constitute major highlights of the film. Among such highlight sequences worthy of applause in the cinemas are the one in which Ra.One chases Sonia and Pratik; the one in which G.One appears all of a sudden between Ra.One and the car in which Sonia and Pratik are seated (in this particular scene, there will be deafening applause in the cinemas); the action sequences between G.One and Ra.One; the taxi-stand sequence at Bombay airport; the Rajnikanth sequence; the sequence showing the re-construction of Ra.One first and G.One later; the train sequence, etc. Here, it must be added that although the writers and the director have taken care to explain the technicalities of the video game in a simplified manner, yet, the drama will be more understood by the city and multiplex audience than the audience in the smaller centres and those frequenting single-screen cinemas. Again, since the base of the story is the Ra.One video game, it will not be fully understood by the computer-illiterate older generation. On the other hand, kids and the youth will love the drama for the very reasons the older generation wouldn’t – it has a lot of technical jargon, the drama is more subtle and less over-dramatic; and the experience is absolutely novel for the Indian audiences.
Comedy is enjoyable and entertaining but the film could’ve done with more of it, especially in the pre-interval portion. The visual effects are excellent and so are the 3D effects (for those watching in 3D). Another plus point of the drama is that it is not stretched too much. The climax, in which the young son of Shekhar collaborates with G.One, to fight the evil Ra.One is exciting in a different way – more than a nail-biting and edge-of-the-seat climax (which the chase by Ra.One in the first half is), it has heart-warming sentiments of father and son.
Ra.One Movie Review: Star Performances
Shah Rukh Khan does a splendid job and is the life of the film. He is good as Shekhar and fantastic as G.One. The look of G.One is wonderful. Kareena Kapoor is also lovely. She looks gorgeous and acts with effortless ease. She is brilliant in emotional scenes. Both, Shah Rukh and Kareena’s dances are remarkable. Arjun Rampal makes an effective villain and looks very handsome and formidable. Master Armaan Varma makes a sensational debut. He looks charming and acts with such aplomb that it is difficult to believe, this is his first film. Tom Wu is menacing enough. Dalip Tahhil is stylish as ever. Shahana Goswami is as natural and realistic as can be. Satish Shah and Suresh Menon evoke laughter. Rajnikanth appears in a single scene in special appearance and makes his presence felt with mersmerising effect. Sanjay Dutt and Priyanka Chopra don’t add much in special appearances. Amitabh Bachchan’s voice over in a portion of the film heightens the impact.
Ra.One Review: Direction & Music
Anubhav Sinha’s direction is good. Credit goes to him for giving the Indian audience a supremely novel experience. He has excelled in the visual effects department as well as in extracting good work from the actors. Music (Vishal-Shekhar) could’ve been better. While the Chhammak Chhallo song is extraordinary, the others could’ve and should’ve been better. The Dildaara song is appealing. The other songs range from fair to good. Song picturisations (Ganesh Hegde and Feroz Khan) are very eye-filling. The picturisations of Chhammak Chhallo and Criminal songs (both by Ganesh Hegde) are extraordinary. Background score by Vishal-Shekhar is wonderful. Nicola Pecorini and V. Manikandan’s camerawork is marvellous. The film looks just too beautiful. Visual effects are outstanding. Action scenes, choreographed by Parvez Khan, Spiro Razatos and Firoz Boss, are mind-boggling. Sets (Sabu Cyril and Marcus Wookey) are lovely. The conversion from 2D to 3D (by Prime Focus) is remarkable. Production values are just too grand.
Ra.One Review: Komal Nahta’s Verdict
On the whole, Ra.One has the novelty factor and visual effects as its greatest plus points. It may be lagging in the other departments but these two – novelty and visual effects – will definitely see the high-budgeted film make profits for all concerned. Looking to the almost unprecedented hype and huge craze for the film and its grand opening, it will sail past its safety mark in the first week itself (after considering all the other sources of revenue too) and then go on to yield profits.