3.5 Very Good

Ra.One

Director Anubhav Sinha has little to flaunt from his directorial career
but as he partnered with ShahRukh Khan for a sci-fi movie, it suddenly
set the new standard for presentation of special effects and action.
Here it is, smashing records and mesmerizing those who went with little
expectations. Ra. One may draw inspirations from 'Robot', 'IronMan',
'Tron' and 'X-Men' but it manages to overwhelm with the phenomenal
execution of special effects, action and stunts. For a change, the
sequences are credible for a super-hero film.

London based Barron Industries is on the brink of blurring the line
between the virtual world and the real world. Wireless streams of
digital data that surround us have the potential to be carriers of
artificial intelligence that can be seen and felt. Shekhar (ShahRukh
Khan), a video game programmer with Barron has a last shot at creating
an engaging game to enthrall avid gamers including his son, Prateek
(Armaan Verma). This time, his focus is to create the most powerful
villain because as per his son, villains are super cool. The most
interesting aspect of the storyline is the fusion of virtual gaming
with the possibility of Barron's new technology that leads to the
game's villain, Ra.One taking a devastatingly real form. At the launch
party, Prateek played through the penultimate level against Ra.One as
his virtual avataar, Lucifer, only to abandon the game. That made
Ra.One very mad and he worked his way out to reality to end the game.
Destroying whatever came in his way, Ra.One did not even spare Shekhar,
who tried to protect his son's identity. Shocked and in despair,
Shekhar's wife, Sonia (Kareena Kapoor) decides to move to their
abandoned home in India but before that, Ra.One has his plans to kill
Lucifer. On the busy streets of London, we witness the most
exhilarating and impressive chase sequence Indian cinema has ever
produced. Ra.One, jumps over traffic, rides a motorbike like a maniac
and is about to throw a car at them in a junkyard when his gaming
rival, G.One arrives to save the day.

The build up to Ra.One's escape into reality takes some time and we
also have to deal with a goofy, inane, curly haired ShahRukh Khan which
isn't exactly 'entertaining'. But soon, the movie really kicks off once
Ra.One emerges out of his virtual state. Indeed, this villain is super
cool. Right from his menacing costume to his ability to transform,
re-form and perform, Ra.One is the first of his kind of super-villains
Indian cinema has seen. G.One on the other hand is a plastic faced SRK
with a strange hair-do and a cool blue costume. He would've been better
off with a mask or hood though. Being a gaming super-hero, G.One cannot
associate with emotions but is able to acknowledge relationships and
that is what differentiates him. This very trait brings us another
exemplary work of special effects, the local train sequence before the
climax where G.One decides to save Sonia's life. SRK jumps over the
side of the train, over the platforms, on top of the train and through
the train in a thrilling sequence that somehow, manages to look very
credible. Just like the film's concept, the CGI is so sophisticated
that one cannot distinguish between the real and virtual. The final
confrontation between the players of the game is an awe-inspiring
special effects bonanza that looks more like a video game with real
people in it.

Kareena Kapoor doesn't annoy the way Priyanka did in 'Krrish' and she
does look beautiful in almost every scene. Armaan Verma has no reason
to sport such long manes but he just doesn't have the charm of Dakota
Goyo from 'Real Steel' who shared a similar role. Arjun Rampal's
physique does justice to his casting as Ra.One and he is experienced in
playing a negative role as well. King Khan took a big gamble with
Ra.One yet, the multi-crore gamble paid off for the team and Ra.One
turned out to be quite an impressive product aimed at family audiences.
SRK worked hard for his role and it shows on screen where he performs
almost all of the stunts by himself. SRK and Sinha set out to make
Indian cinema's most dazzling spectacle and they managed to achieve
that.

The cinematography makes London and Bombay look spectacular where the
biggest action unfolds and the visual effects are stunning with crafty
CGI being intricately used to blend the virtual gaming environment with
reality. The background score along with the film's music adds to the
techie feel.

Vishal Shekhar's score has select tracks that are not only unique in
their fusion but they also suit the film's modern style. Bhare Naina is
despondent and vibrant at the same time and is beautifully rendered by
Nandini & Vishal-Shekhar. SRK's well suited singer, Shafaqat Amanat Ali
adds some peppiness to Dildaara while Akon & Vishal rock the party with
Criminal. Vishal & Shekhar also produce Raftaarein in the background of
the train sequence which also serves as an outstanding retro theme for
G.One. Finally, the film's highlight in music is Akon's brilliant
rendition of Chammak Challo which is commendable simply because it's
Akon singing the whole song in Hindi!

As the exemplary achievements in the audio and visual departments of
Ra.One narrow the gap between Bollywood and Hollywood to just 2 years,
Anubhav Sinha doesn't follow it up with the story. On numerous
instances, Sinha tends to explain and imply too much, perhaps to cater
to masses and children but it does take away the slickness. There is
random slapstick humor as well that once again erodes the
sophistication gained by the technical aspects. However, Sinha keeps
the pace going and never lets the momentum fall into the abyss. He does
well to back up the theory of Real gaming in execution but has little
finesse in the rest of the plot. A vast majority of Hollywood's
super-hero flicks have had worse story- lines and therefore, Ra.One is
praiseworthy. Yes, he has some tendency to be more human-like, Yes, he
lives with a family, Yes, he dances to Akon's singing and Yes, he looks
like a blue-eyed ShahRukh Khan but this is Indian Cinema in it's very
typical form. What comes as a surprise is the plot, (though a bit
far-fetched) and the technical attributes that make it a spectacle of
sorts. Ra.One is a fulfilling entertainer for the whole family that is
torn between being brainy and hearty at the same time.

8.1 on a scale of 1-10.