October 29, 2011


I never thought I had issues re: enjoyment of self-inflicted pain.

but I've begun to doubt myself.

Maybe I do enjoy pain.

Why else would I sit through Ra.One (2011)?

Why indeed.

This is sort of what happened.

Shahana Goswami opens the film with a terrible speech about gaming and giving us a holographic image of...not princess Leia, but Dileep Tahil, owner of the game developing company she works at. She is a game developer too. I requested a barf bag.

And her colleague is Shahrukh, who is Southern Indian, but with the worst accent ever- maybe some of the $ should have gone to a language coach? I again requested a barf bag.

Shashrukh's wife Kareena and son Prateik live in a mansion with him near London- though how they can afford it I'm not really sure. Lots of lame and risque jokes help the scenes hobble along.

Anyhow- under orders to build a game, he designs Ra.One vs G.One- with a lot of Bollywood fanfare which is impossible to believe. And did I say the "game" robot/tabgible holographic images have a heart- that is a facsimile of Iron Man's chest plate. So much for creativity.

Anyhow- Ra.One is evil and goes rogue. A live computer game if you will. Or a robot. Remember Tron I & II? I did.

And now that he is rogue, Ra.One's aim is to kill Prateik, who had started playing the game and left in between. Memories of Terminator II, with the evil robot going after the little kid.

In a nice twist, Ra.One kills Shahrukh- and we have a montage of a burial that's very Spiderman I - ish.

Ra.One goes to town, walking around in Schwarzenegger's trench and glasses from the Terminator films. Sigh. See the pattern?

So to save himself, Prateik brings back Shahrukh in the form of G.One, who fights Ra.One.

And Ra.One reassembles/regenerates after being smashed, Terminator style.

And you know how this wraps up. But a lot must happen before that:

1- Sad gay TSA jokes (really!)

2- Matrix bullet-dodging

3- Utterly delightful songs- wanna be my chammakchallo anyone?

4- Arjun being what he was meant to be- robotic, and delightfully so.

5- G.One stopping a train, superman style.

6- Burning crotches.


1- Any film that requires constant narration of what's going on by its characters has a basic issue of cohesiveness.

2- If you have a character who is Southern Indian with an accent, then let him have a proper accent, but not one that comes and goes and is lame at best.

3- It isn't 1980. Please do not show us a mishmash of copies of montages from successful films- we have already seen them, and it doesn't work- remember Jaani Dushman (2002).

4- Instead of taking years, games, animes and robotics apparently just take days or weeks (at best). And 12 year olds do this naturally. Ask anyone.


Of course I'm being harsh- the effects are great and this is a definite step in the right direction for Indian superheroes and scifi.

And in conclusion: Of course you will watch this eventually if you haven't already. Its a Shahrukh film after so long that isn't steeped in hammy romance. And while you are watching and after, you will criticise it for its fallacies, but that's a necessary side effect. Then maybe you can answer the question I cannot solve: Why does Shahrukh pose like Michael Jackson in the poster (and other places in the film)?


dunkdaft said...

ROFL at Arjun being robotic comment. Hahaha...

As I dont follow Hollywood, things were fine with me. But u left me wondering.

Burial !? Tamil Brahmin got buried ?

Anonymous said...

My niece was wondering aloud yesterday whether Ra.One was worth watching. Now I can tell her. Sounds awful. :-(

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Dunkdaft: They carried him in a coffin, and the coffin was opened for a showing, but then burnt him. A bit awkward, yeah. I guess they did the coffin bit just to get the tragic Spiderman-I montage into the narrative.

Dustedoff: It should be watched to encourage scifi/superhero genres in India! Once peopel really start making these, the product should improve too.

Banno said...

Shweta, Precise review. Sorry you had to do all that puking. :)

harvey said...

"Why does Shahrukh pose like Michael Jackson in the poster (and other places in the film)? "

You are right, he does it, doesn't he?

But since it is a SRK film, everybody will watch it all the same. A pity that the SRK magic didn't work for his wonderful film Paheli

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Banno- thanks! the bad technology hindi speeches were the worst of it. maybe

Harvey: You are so right. Paheli was beautiful- traditional and modern all together.

Anonymous said...

I saw it yesterday and I must say it really surprised me in being not that bad at all! And I was really afraid and had actually the worst of expectations.

You are rght, many of the scenes were stolen from Hollywood-superhero movies but as I was watching the film, it somehow didn´t bother me much, except maybe for the really obvious Matrix references.

I liked the jokes and the overall humour, although I´m with you on the thing with the Tamilian accent. I mean, I have seen many Tamil movies by now, and even if I don´t understand the meaning without subtitles I can hear and distinguish the actual words but Shah Rukh´s Tamil seemed only like complete gibberish to me. I thought it was meant to be funny, I didn´t actually thought that it was because of the accent but now that you say it, it makes so much more sense. Anyway, I am not Tamilian and was still feeling offended.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

In Liebe, Indien: Thank you for stopping by- your comments encourage me. I do agree with you that the film isnt terrible- but our expectations tend to get built up when its a well-publicised SRK film, and therefore when the expectations arent met, it is disappointing. SRK really didnt even need an accent- Im sure a lot of Indians have no accent at all- so including it, and then doing it badly is just lame. It was the "techie" discussions that disappointed me the most though, honestly.