I've often heard people say, film-making is nothing short of a gamble. And as any gambler will tell you, you've got to gamble huge to triumph huge. Going by this logic, Shah Rukh Khan is The Supreme Gambler of the year.
What's at stake, beside the big money invested in RA.ONE of course, is a dream, a vision, an aspiration to make a film which appeals to kids and kids at heart. In short, attempt a film that appeals to the universal audience. At the same time, it ought to raise the bar for Hindi films. Also at stake is SRK's once-unchallenged supremacy as the reigning idol of Bollywood and that elusive thing called reputation. When you invest your repute in your dream project and stick your neck out, you expect nothing short of a mega-success.
Movies like KRRISH and ROBOT initiated the trend of superhero films in India, with fantasy making deep inroads into mainstream Hindi cinema. Now RA.ONE raises the bar, takes not a step or two, but a giant leap and adheres to international standards, in terms of execution. But the soul, I wish to add, is very desi. That's precisely the reason why RA.ONE emerges trumps. RA.ONE is beauty [read good looking film] with brains [read content].
What characterizes a stunning superhero movie? I have narrowed it down to three precise constituents that I deem are absolutely necessary for an alluring superhero flick. The first is that the motion picture must encompass spectacular action and edge-of-the-seat thrills. Secondly, a magnificent superhero movie must also boast of luminous performances from the protagonists, which in turn should make these characters appear credible and relatable. Thirdly and most importantly, superhero films must have a narrative that keeps us yearning for more. All of these are indispensable factors in making a superhero movie that will be both acclaimed and adored by fans. Fortunately, RA.ONE emerges triumphant in all the three departments.
RA.ONE is the most ambitious, most expensive and the most technologically complex Hindi film ever made. It pushes the envelope further. It's not merely a film, but an experience, an event. It's a film that will rewrite the textbook of computer graphics in Hindi cinema. At the same time, it is very Indian at heart. The relationship between SRK and the kid is the highpoint of the enterprise. But, at the same time, there are ample clap-trap moments that will send the viewers in frenzy. The chase sequence, when Ra.One finally zeroes on Lucifer, and the subsequent 'entry' of the superhero is awe-inspiring. The train sequence in the second hour is exceptional and a cinematic feat. The presence of Rajnikanth in a crucial sequence will be greeted with deafening claps and whistles. And, of course, the climax of the film; it's simply jaw-dropping.
Besides these factors, the 'Chammak Chhallo' number is already a rage and so are the sequences involving visual effects. In a nutshell, it's an entertainer that works big time. You haven't experienced something like this ever before, on the Hindi screen!
A father tries hard to fit into his son's world. While Shekhar [Shah Rukh Khan] tries every trick in the book to woo his son, his son had given up on him. Just when the father-son duo hit a deadlock, Shekhar strikes gold when he designs one hell of a game. Finally, it all starts falling in place. But the happiness is short-lived. All hell breaks loose when the game that was meant to be played with, starts playing them.
We are spoilt by cinema's ability to create on celluloid anything that can be imagined, therefore we have raconteurs making endeavors to bestow us with movies that you wouldn't have ever envisioned even in your mind's eye. You realize this as you watch RA.ONE, which is a visual spectacle from start to end.
Director Anubhav Sinha along with co-writers David Benullo, Kanika Dhillon and Mushtaq Shiekh may be inspired by international flicks as far as the concept is concerned, but they ensure that they serve the right masala to moviegoers in those 2.30 hours. What actually takes you by complete surprise is not just the money spent on visual effects or the stunning chase and action scenes, but the twists and turns in the screenplay that unravel at a feverish pace.
Besides, the moviegoers have certain expectations and notions about superhero flicks and they expect such characters to perform audacious aerobatics to save someone's life or a nation. But this one's different. Visually arresting and dramatically just what the doctor ordered, the film boasts of relatable characters, which makes this superhero movie for kids as well as grown-ups. In fact, I'd like to add, RA.ONE is not only skillfully directed, but also visually dynamic and entertains from commencement to conclusion.
The album of the film lives up to the grand expectations. Vishal-Shekhar deliver a striking score with 'Chammak Chhallo', 'Dildaara' and 'Raftarein' being the pick of the lot. The background score, also recorded by them, is equally electrifying. V. Manikandan and Nicola Pecorini's cinematography is top notch. Same goes for the stunts and chases [Andy Gill and Spiro Razatos]. Dialogue [Kanika Dhillon and Niranjan Iyengar] are hardly ever commonplace. What I found most interesting is that, whether humorous or thoughtful, the channel of communication appears very credible. The Ra.One and G.One suits, designed by Robert Kurtzman, are super.
RA.ONE is a perfect vehicle that does justice to the talent of Shah Rukh Khan. He seems to have found a story and character that work in perfect sync and tandem with manic energy. SRK steers this physically challenging lead role with high-spirited self-belief. He's endearing as the father and magnificent as the superhero with a heart. Kareena Kapoor is a delight to watch. She effortlessly glides into the character. Besides, she looks ethereal in the 'Chammak Chhallo' song and her wit is infectious. Arjun Rampal pulls his act with effortlessness and style. Also, Arjun's well-designed look is admirable.
I'd like to make a special mention of Armaan Verma, the kid who has a pivotal part to portray. He stands shoulder to shoulder with SRK and Kareena all through the film and delivers a super-confident performance. The film has a number of actors in key roles [Shahana Goswami, Dalip Tahil, Satish Shah, Suresh Menon, Mushtaq Shiekh and Tom Wu] and each of them fit well in their respective parts. Sanjay Dutt and Priyanka Chopra add to the glam quotient, while Rajnikanth proves yet again that he's a scene stealer.
But the man who warrants the actual round of applause is director Anubhav Sinha himself. For bringing out the best of SRK, Kareena and Arjun. For the amazing screenplay. For the speedy yet smooth stream of the narrative. And for the fantastic unfolding of the written material. He merits top admiration for every act of his.
On the whole, RA.ONE is a solid entertainer, no two opinions on that. It's not merely a great looking film, but also has soul, which is so essential to strike a chord with the avid moviegoer. As for the business prospects, RA.ONE is sure to shatter all previous records and set new ones, in India as well as internationally. The film will be the new yardstick for measuring success. It has Blockbuster written all over it!