Watching a much discussed-bashed film three months after its release--it's akin to reaching a buffet dinner late--and being told to avoid this sabzi, try that dessert...the fun is that much less.
I am not a big foodie or anything, but I do like to approach a buffet spread with an adventurous sense of anticipation.
Anyway, on with the film. Well, I missed the first fifteen minutes--and that's something I hate, miss any part of a film; like to watch it from censor certificate to last credit. Still, I knew I hadn't missed much, thanks to my bolly-browsing , my habit of reading film reviews (to an extent; do not like to have spoilers revealed); must add that I do not allow this sort of review-reading to affect my assessment of a film. Of course one's enjoyment is compromised somewhat, since the film is no more a fresh experience.
I guess I missed the early scenes that irritated many viewers--the ones featuring Priyanka Chopra and Sunjay Dutt in guest roles, plus some lame politically incorrect jokes about Chinese folk with names like Iski Lee, Sabki Lee --the usual PJs about foreigners, Indian style.
What I did catch first was this girly-looking long-haired boy in his classroom, in obviously Brit company. The fat White kid indulges in some sort of mischief on his laptop and the outcome is a raunchy video of the Black class teacher, a buxom lady who is obviously horrified and angered even as the class laughs...umm, wasn't this advertised as a kiddie flick?
Still, I found myself fairly engrossed in this film, the early scenes that depict SRK as some sort of a nerdy Tamil Iyer scientist based in the UK, discussing the new computer game he was trying to develop in the company of an Indian (Shahana Goswami from Rock On) and a Chinese guy. Don't remember seeing any Brits in this scene, or maybe I missed them. SRK is explaining the virtual reality game, trying to come up with a name for it--and Goswami it is who points to the words RA-ONE on the board, and helps christen the game--developed by Indians--so Ra-one and G-one (Raavan and Jeevan...geddit?)....ah well, something new, not bad.
I had missed the infamous 'Shekhar eating curd 'n' noodles' scene --BTW, my spouse actually loves mixing curd and Maggi noodles, since it tones down the masala hotness of the whole goop; but he does eat the Tamil-Chinese-Punju mishmash with a fork, not his fingers. And in our Iyer home spouse and self love adding curd to anything that goes with this most gentle of foods--so curd it is, with chapatis, adai, idlis, dosas, rice, sevai, upma--well, basically everything except halwa and dessert.So there--what's the big deal folks, noodles CAN be eaten with curds.
Back to the film. So Shekhar of the wierd hairstyle was at home--going irritatingly 'aiyyo aiyyo' with every third line of dialogue--and I thought--'what a lazy screenplay'. First of all the idiot was declaiming in a poor caricaturish manner--'Aiyo, romba nalla idea-'-and I wondered --'did the dialogue writer even bother to consult a true-blue Tamil?
Here is a bit of advice to Hindi film dialogue writers--if you use a Tamil character, DO NOT make him say Aiyyo when he is happy or pleased . Aiyyo is actually an 'ashubh' sort of word , a word most Tamil kids are discouraged from using; aiyyo denotes negativity--so it's aiyyo, somebody fell or worse died .
And it's Aaha, what an idea. Or just wow, what an idea, nalla idea...Tamil film heroines and heroes are always going wow whenever they are shown pleased.
I suppose I shouldn't expect any better from a commercial film set up, whether Hindi or Tamil. A Tamil film hero is likely to say balle balle while playing fake Punjabi..so I shouldn't dwell on this small matter. But SRK's aiyyo went on for a while and seriously irritated me.
Thankfully, the story was moving along too and there was some good stuff there on screen. Like any science fiction story set up, here too the scientist realized that he had created a monster and that his creation was now the controller--I was actually moved by the sight of Shekhar looking helpless and terrified as his creation Ra-one went on a rampage.
The story continues, different setting, SRK's G-one avatar now holding center fort, along with the evil Ra-one (Arjun Rampal, looking properly evil). I watched till the end, nether fascinated, nor bored. It was interesting to watch the twist in the tale when Kareena's character is possessed by the...well, for any one still remotely interested in watching the film, I won't reveal more.
This film had all the ingredients necessary to make a decent commercial flick--the premise about a scientist and his horrifying creation, the emotional family hooks that keep an Indian audience happy, some good special effects and action sequences, the Silver Streak reminiscent scene ( runaway train shattering its way out of the railway station), the hot heroine in fit body, a couple of hummable songs, some masala naachgaana, a fight to the finish climax---and yet the whole dish just did not add up--like curd and noodles, or more likely, halwa and pasta together.
I'd term Ra-one a missed opportunity, yet surely worth a watch-- or two (if you are a die-hard all-forgiving SRK fan). My rating for the film is a pass mark of 5/10.