Rating : ***1/2
'Ra. One' has finally released and one thing is obvious - It is indeed a brave and fruitful effort for sure since nothing like this has ever come out of Bollywood. From the sheer experience perspective of seeing something as big as this being unveiled, 'Ra. One' turns out to be a major win for the makers as well as the industry.
It is established in the very opening sequence of the film that with the way technology has advanced, there is a thin line between real and virtual world. This pretty much happens in the real life of a game developer as well (Shahrukh Khan) who creates the biggest ever virtual villain (Ra. One) who ends up entering the real world as well. However the villain's endeavour here is not to destroy the whole world; it is basically a game of one upmanship (pun intended) where all he wishes for is to get even with the developer's son (Armaan Verma) who had once challenged him on the game.
With a plot like this, it is pretty much announced that the superhero 'G. One' has one basic task cut out - Save the young boy and get 'Ra. One' way from him forever. Now this basic virtue of the plot has it's strengths as well as weaknesses. Strength, because most in the heartland of India would relate to a father-like figure standing up for a boy instead of someone who is trying to stop a global warfare. Weakness, because those exposed to the superhero flicks from the West can well be expected to become impatient whenever the focus moves from action and thrills to family affairs.
This is what happens in 'Ra. One' as well where initial 15-20 minutes are dedicated to typical moments around a nerdy father, his supportive wife (Kareena Kapoor) and an evasive son. However it's the points after the interval where 'G. One' accompanies Kareena and Armaan to their ancestral house where the film slackens a bit. Attempt to create emotional moments between Shahrukh and Kareena don't quite bring a lump in your throat while humour too passes muster as one keenly awaits 'Ra. One' to return on track.
Thankfully it's the thrills and action which ensure that 'Ra. One' stays on to be a largely engaging affair. Creation of 'Ra. One' in the lab, the sequence where it accumulates it's powers, the one where it takes on Chinese game developer (Tom Wu) or the point where he comes face to face with Shahrukh for the first time - one can well experience the kind of grandeur that is about to explode. However the best is reserved for the sequence just before the interval point where 'Ra. One' runs after Kareena and Armaan on busy London roads. This action sequence could give any Hollywood action film a run for its money. The train sequence is simply fantabulous and though there would be obvious comparisons with a similar sequence in Rajnikanth's 'Robot', this one not just stands on it's own but also manages to surpass it.
On the other hand the sequence just after the interval point (outside the Mumbai airport) is good, though not extraordinary. Even much talked about Rajnikanth sequence doesn't quite build on well after a good promise. The fight in the climax between Shahrukh and Arjun is fine though not exceptional.
A film belonging to this genre can't be expected to have too many songs but still 'Chammak Challo' (though arriving all of a sudden) brings the right energy in the film and so does 'Criminal'. However the background score (also by Vishal-Shekhar) is terrific and boasts of international standards with a good 'desi' touch coming in during the train sequence with 'Raftaarein' playing in the background.
Shahrukh does well in playing his role well though there isn't scope to get any histrionics in place. While he is fine as 'G. One', he is endearing as the nerd. Kareena does what is expected from her though she does look like a million bucks in both of her dance numbers. Armaan is efficient and thankfully doesn't go overboard. Arjun appears only towards the later part of the film's second half and one does miss his presence for a long time.
Let's admit it - today everyone and his grandmother as well as the driver is aware of the fact that Anubhav Sinha directed 'Ra. One' is the biggest movie ever to come out of India. In that aspect results can be pretty much seen on screen with all the crores spent on the making being quite visible. It is indeed the hugest ever film that one could have ever imagined to be emerging from Bollywood in the current times and that by itself is a good enough reason to check out what the film is all about.
Rating : ***1/2