RAW(Beast In Tamil)
Starring Vijay, Pooja Hedge
Directed by Nelson
Rating: * 1/2 (one and a half)
RAW: Set in a shopping mall that looks like a set masquerading as a mall , Raw(Beast in Tamil) is Tamil superstar’s Vijay’s waterloo. It is proof that the pudding works only when the ingredients are in the right proportions.
Raw showcases Vijay as a former RAW agent(hence the title RAW, get it?) facing a terrorist situation in a shopping mall. This premise alone is a damper for Indian audiences. Diehard styled thrillers do not work for Indian audiences specially when there is Bruce Willis around. John Abraham realized this recently when Attack suffered from a post-attack trauma at the boxoffice.
Way back in 1974,the illustrious B. R. Chopra made a one-night-plus thriller 36 Ghante with a spectacular cast being held hostage . In spite being slick and gripping 36 Ghante flopped.The film’s leading lady the wonderful Mala Sinha had explained to me, “Log teen ghante mein 36 Ghante nahin poori zindagi dekhna chahte hai.”
She had a point. Vijay’s fans want to see more than their hero mall-functioning in an oafishly staged terror-attack saga where the mainstay, the action sequences , are so clunky they look like amateurish green-screen disasters.
The terrorists played by actors as scary as Mickey Mouse wearing a Joker mask, seem to have no clear gam- plan aside from getting a ‘dreaded’ terrorist released from prison in exchange of the hostages. Vijay’s Veer Raghavan too seems clueless as to how to tackle the hi-falutin hoodlums.
His action sequences where he combats the attackers are laughably juvenile.We haven’t seen such wretchedly misguided stunts since Rajinikanth decided to use a body double to protect his health.In RAW(a.k.a Beast) Vijay needs protection from the assault on common sense that inveigles the arteries of a narration that desperately seeks a reason for its existence and fails miserably.
Vijay is a star with a huge power. Exactly why he agreed to be part of a screenplay that seems to be written on a day when all the writers’ creative powers have broken down , is a question only the star can answer. Director Nelson turns a blind eye(Nelson’s eye?) to basic logic and common aesthetics: the mall looks like it needs to shop for a more serviceable landscape.
Oh yes, before we forget: Pooja Hegde. What is she doing in this film? Is it enough to sign on a project with a big star where you get your share of giggles and songs?
There is so much that is wrong with RAW, including the playing-time of 2 ½ hours which is in defiance of the basic guideline for a one-location thriller.To end on a positive note: this film will prompt Vijay to re-think his career strategy.It can only get better from here.