Friday, October 15, 2010

Ramayana - The Epic review by cgtantra

Film: Ramayana - The Epic (Animation) (U)
Director: Chetan Desai
Voices: Manoj Bajpayee, Juhi Chawla, Ashutosh Rana, Mukesh Rishi
Dialogues and Script Research - Rituraaj Tripathii
Art Director - Priyam Chaterjee
Rating: 3/5

Ramayana - The Epic , the Chetan Desai rendition to the original Valmiki’s Epic Poem is one of the latest mythological 3d-animated feature venture and an honest attempt to marry this still nascent medium of animation of feature story telling to an Indian Audience which has spent their weekends more with the Superstar entertainers than with computer animated versions of Hindu mythologies. With the formula of Animation as a preferred medium and Mythological Heroes like Hanuman kickstarting the trend, Ramayana the Epic with its pre-release marketing and perfect Dussehra Release timing should be expecting a decent turnout of the families and kids. Though from a technical and animation point of view, its nothing superlative but surely a much-required fledgling step towards achieving international quality foot-holding.

Plot: Ram (voiced by Manoj Bajpayee), the eldest son of Dashrath, is exiled from the kingdom for fourteen years because of over jealous StepMom Kaikei . His beloved wife Sita (voiced by Juhi Chawla) and the younger brother Laxman (voiced by Rishabh Shukla) who is devoted to him, decide to accompany them to the jungle of Chitrakoot. One day, Surpanakha, the ravishingly beautiful demon princess spots Rama in the jungle and is attracted to him. When he rejects her proposal, she complains to her brother, Ravan (voiced by Ashutosh Rana), the demon king of Rakshasas. Ravan disguises as a sage and kidnaps Sita to his kingdom of Lanka. And thus begins the epic battle between the forces of good and evil, as Rama unleashes his powers against Ravan in an amazing demonstration of heroism, and super powers accompanied by the massive Vanar Sena of King Sugreev and Bahubali Hanuman.

With a story already set deep within the religious sentiments of all Indians and Ramanand Sagar’s version of Arun Govil as Lord Rama set in the minds of millions of TV Viewers from our childhood days, Chetan Desai’s Ramayana The Epic , has made an effort to package the Magnum-an-opus into a 100 minute narrative in his own style. With grand SETS and locations, innovative weapons, time dissolves with voice overs and lots of cutting edge visual effects. Though the editing is crisp and the story flows on from one incident to another, a bit more punch could have been added to the screenplay to make it more fluid , as at times it feels slightly disconnected or as if there is a sense of hurry - especially in the second half. 

The music is peppy and catchy and especially the Vanar Song when Ram enters Khiskhinda jungle with all the Vanar Sena doing “Matar Gasti” would hopefully be enjoyed by Kids. The dialogues(Rituraaj) though can be difficult at times for kids and the layman to understand as it is very textual and attempted to be staged in the ancient times and hence bordering on sanskrit.

As the film begins, the first thing that catches your attention is the very stylized title design which had pumped up my expectations form an aesthetics and design value perspective for the film. With Ketan Mehta’s Maya Digital Media ( earlier Maya Ent. Ltd) as being one of the oldest Animation and VFX Production houses in India, Ramayana The Epic comes as the first Feature Length Movie release for the team and a stepping stone to churn out more in the coming years.

But , except for a few really great sequences and executions, there seemed a lot of disparity in the quality of animation as well as design. The main characters designs could have been done better except for Ravan ( Ashutosh Rana is a treat to hear personified by the best character design in the movie). Ravan as a Villian and the way the voice artist has done justice to the character portrait (the scene where we see 10 different perspectives of Ravana coming from Ravana’s seated on different seats symbolizing the conflict of 10 headed Raavan) is really commendable and something to look out for. And personally, Ravan with the portrayal of over egoistic and bordering on hot headed maniac seems to be one of the best crowd pullers in this entertainer.

The Animation throughout the movie is something that could have been given more attention and except for a few fight sequences like the Bali-Sugreev Rain duel and the Raavan multiplying and disappearing in FX Dust part there are very few visually grand choreographed sequences that one could go back home and talk about. The Samudra Dev formation VFX scene is also something that deserves a mention for the tremendous Machine Power that might have gone in executing it by the Maya Digital team.

With Ramayana known for generations as having some of the best visual duels and fight scenes, more could have been done in orchestrating and choreographing the battle scenes..especially the ones in the end. There was some great visual imagery in the form of Ravan’s Lanka kingdom touching the skies and Ayodhya nagari but still too little from a full length movie perspective. Cool gadgets and weapons like Ravan’s Flying Vehicle Pushpak and the telescope vision machine and freaky creatures like the Naag Maata and Sea Creature are also worth mentioning.

As a whole in the summary it can be said that though the movie has its moments of glory , and definitely a step towards making animation movies more visible in front of the Indian Audience to appreciate - We still await the day when we come across that landmark film which can also gain praises worldwide for that elusive blend of Great Storytelling and High Quality Animation and Art Direction. With Indian Kids and Audience now having instant and regular exposure to all forms of International Quality animation, and with prospects of more and more animation films being made and released in India, lets hope that Indian Animation and VFX studios are raring to go and make the best of the opportunities ahead.

Well, from an Animation artist and technician point of view if this movie can rule the roost of Dussehra time and do good for the makers, then that’s more than said encouragement for the aspiring filmmakers and the deep pocket investors behind them..then may the power be with us -

Jai Shree Ram! :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment