Ra.One is everywhere! Nopes, not by audience appeal of the movie but is promotion that is way more ubiquitous than crows in any city. Be it posters of every conveivable size, TV advertisements, toys, mugs, appearances on shows and even race cars. Had they thought of spending that energy on the script, Ra.One could’ve been better.
In what is the weakest possible opening for a film, Shahana Goswami launches some new technology in the dumbest possible way. Then there is a gaming scene King Khan battles a baddie (Sanjay Dutt) to save the damsel (Priyanka Chopra), both in overdone and unfunny roles. Cut to a classroom, we are shown a long-haired girly looking Prateek (Armaan Verma), a gaming freak and a computing whizkid.
Prateek hates his uncool father Shekhar Subramaniam (Khan) a typecasted tamilian game-designer who can never park his car right (humor stolen from Mr. Bean). Although a British citizen and successful enough to afford many cars and a great home, he can’t pronounce ‘keys’ when he loses them in a woman’s top. And there is Kareena who plays his gorgeous wife who is writing a thesis on swearwords.
While Khan’s tamilian gig in ‘Om Shanti Om’ was funny, he seems to have stretched it too far this time. Predictably, our hero speaks with an accent, has to add an ‘aiyyoo’ to every sentence and here’s something new: he eats noodles with curds; sick! Thankfully, his character is killed before he does anything even siller.
Ra.One has also been dubbed into ‘Telugu’ and ‘Tamil’. But then, if King Khan thinks that a clichéd madrasi character and a couple of tamil lines in the song ‘Chammak Challo’ is enough to extend his market down south, he is thoroughly mistaken.
Coming back to the story, Shekhar wants to gain his son’s admiration and works on his idea to create a gaming villain who can’t be beaten, i.e., ‘Random Access One’ or Ra.One. The ‘Good One’ or G.One has to beat his opponent with goodness.
Just around its launch, the game comes to life and Ra.One is out on the strets seeking to kill Prateek who played as his opponent in the first ever tryout of the game. Obviously, there is only one thing that can save him: G.One who is less of a cape-crusader but more of a Terminator-esque saviour for the boy. The family he protects may have found G.One as a more sensible replacement for the silly Shekhar!
One can go on forever on the things it has copied from Ironman, Batman or Superman among others. But, one must credit Ra.One for having made a movie on gaming, involving top notch technology and Hollywood style action. Barring the imbecile beginning, the rest of the story is still bearable, thanks to the believable effects. While it may not work for us as grown-ups, kids may find Ra.One interesting.
The film definitely had the potential to be better than what it has turned out to be. Much like Rajnikant’s ‘Robot’, the designer could have been portrayed as any regular guy who could be empathized with. Talking of ‘Robot’, the cameo of Chitti, the robot drew more applause and whistles than two hours of Shah Rukh Khan on screen.
Speaking of performances, Shah Rukh was hopelessly pathetic as Shekhar Subramaniam but was tolerable as G.One. Arjun Rampal delivered a commendable performance as a villain, although his role was short. Chinese-American actor and martial arts expert Tom Wu stands out as a worthy performer. Armaan, well, I thought he was a girl till the movie kept on insisting that he is a 'son' to Shekhar. Kareena plays her attention grabber act with aplomb.
Movies like these seem to be portrayal of grandidose ego with possibly zero input from its director Anubhav Sinha who has mostly directed flops till date. In a scenario where the star is much bigger than the director, the film would definitely suffer from myopia. Concordantly, there is more emphasis on style than content.
So, should you watch ‘Ra.One’? There is no clear answer to this one. Shah Rukh’s die hard fans would swear by whatever he does; and there are those who despise his every move. The special effects are a new high for Bollywood and worthy of applause. And Akon’s ‘Chammak Challo’ with Kareen in red stands out. But the ultimate choice solely depends on which side of Shah Rukh’s fandom you stand on.
Rating 5/10: Scores for special effects; falls flat otherwise