Ra One: A Review

Ra. One – Dir: Anubhav Sinha; *ing: Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Armaan Verma


Sshh! Hear that? That’s the sound of a few thousand metaphorical knives being sharpened, at least one of them wielded by Salman Khan I imagine, ready to be flung at the H.A.R.T (I’ll explain later) of Shah Rukh Khan’s magnum opus, a film so hot for CGI you can’t help but wonder if James Cameron and George Lucas had a drunken moment and spawned an unholy offspring that mistook a 3D Studio MAX keyboard for a xylophone. And some of those knives are bound to hit the spot because the movie is virtually (get it?) begging for its pixels to be pounded. Though, I have to say, if you’ve ever thought to yourself, ‘Gee, wouldn’t it be just awesome to see SRK in a fright wig and Arjun Rampal’s (half) naked, so-chiseled-it-deserves-a-spot-on-Mount-Rushmore body in glorious 3D’, then this is the movie for you.

SRK geeks out in a curly hair piece as Shekhar Subramaniam, a video game developer who creates the ultimate CGI villain in the shape-shifting (and utterly divine) shape of Ra.One (Rampal) to please his gaming nerd son Prateek (Verma) who has a penchant for the dark side of the virtual world. As the hero, Shekhar designs G.One (SRK again) whom he imbues with many of his own characteristics and, uh, pet phrases. Both characters sport the aforementioned H.A.R.T, some kind of power source without which neither can blah, blah, blah. Of course if you’re going to have desis messing about with technology, things are bound to go to pot, which they do when the animated baddie, in a ‘suspend disbelief NOW, mortal scum!’ moment goes sentient and enters the real world in a really lousy mood. His goal is to kill Prateek but he also has no issues with murdering the life out anyone else who gets in the way. And so poor Shekhar is offed quite unceremoniously, while the kid and his mum (Kapoor) try to outrun the kill-bot, who is gaining on them, BUT! Have no fear, G.One is here! Or there, rather.

Many critics have ripped the movie a big one, frothing at the pen trying to describe the unholy terribleness of it all in such a tangible way that you’ll feel their quivering canines slobbering through the newspaper. To them, I’ll quote Alfred Hitchcock: “It’s only a movie.” A silly movie, to be sure, with an insipid script and non-existent character development, a by-the-seat-of-our-pants screenplay and one gimmicky star cameo after another. Where the world of computer/console gaming is presented as exciting and glamourous with strangely 70s-James Bond-esque sets, and the gaming company honchos coming off more like eccentric circus impresarios rather than the suspender-ed ex-hippies that they surely are. And yet, Ra.One is not bad in an egregiously offensive way, mainly because it’s not pretending to be anything it isn’t; it knows that its humour and sentiment are lowbrow but its special effects absolutely first-rate and often quite mind-boggling. It knows that at the heart of it, it’s just a lot of CGI jiggery-pokery masquerading as a film (Iron Man anyone?) and I appreciate the honesty.

And anyway, cue Chammak Challo and all else is forgiven and forgotten.

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