India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Ramayana: Not an epic revisited

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It must take a lot of talent to take one of the greatest stories ever told and turn it into a mediocre, boring tale that makes you yearn for Ramanand Sagar to make a comeback with his serialised ‘Ramayana’. Chetan Desai’s “Ramayana – The Epic”, an animated version, tells you nothing new but manages to make one of Hinduism’s most revered epics and its characters tacky, B-grade Bollywood extras who uses phrases like “marvayega tu” and sing rap songs in the middle of a jungle before going out to fight against Ravana. I am all for retelling a story but I am afraid Desai goes about this ‘Ramayana’ with the attitude of a bull in a china shop. He glosses over the childhood years of Rama, deals with his wedding and exile in a half-hour and then moves on to the action — namely, his fight against Ravana. Important plot points are explained away by a two-line narration and the dialogues, particularly, are amateurishly written. This is certainly not how Hindi was spoken hundreds of years ago. Desai also ends the story with Rama’s coronation and leaves out one of the most important parts of the story — Sita’s trial by fire. The animation itself is not much to write home about and Indian audiences may find it hard to accept a Rama sporting washboard abs and a buxom Sita. If you do want to revisit this much-loved epic, I recommend you go back in time to the Sunday mornings of yore. Watching this version is not going to do it.

ramyana1It must take a lot of talent to take one of the greatest stories ever told and turn it into a mediocre, boring tale that makes you yearn for Ramanand Sagar to make a comeback with his serialised ‘Ramayana’.

Chetan Desai’s “Ramayana – The Epic”, an animated version, tells you nothing new but manages to make one of Hinduism’s most revered epics and its characters tacky, B-grade Bollywood extras who uses phrases like “marvayega tu” and sing rap songs in the middle of a jungle before going out to fight against Ravana.

I am all for retelling a story but I am afraid Desai goes about this ‘Ramayana’ with the attitude of a bull in a china shop. He glosses over the childhood years of Rama, deals with his wedding and exile in a half-hour and then moves on to the action — namely, his fight against Ravana.

Important plot points are explained away by a two-line narration and the dialogues, particularly, are amateurishly written. This is certainly not how Hindi was spoken hundreds of years ago.

Veer: Epic disaster

veerThis has got to be one of the most difficult reviews I have ever written. All I have done so far is stare at a blank word document for more than 15 minutes. Words fail me, but I will have to do it, because I will not allow those three hours of my life to be in vain.

Perhaps I am being a little overdramatic here, but this drama is nothing compared to the extremely loud, jingoistic and nauseating drama that Anil Sharma’s “Veer” indulges in, so kindly bear with me.

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