Mani Rathnamís Ravanan is the story of an innocent woman made as a pawn in the clash between the police and the people living in forests.
The kidnap of Rahini (Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan) by Veera (Vikram) sets the tone for the film. DSP Dev (Prithviraj), who is also Raahini's husband enters the forest in search of his wife and to kill his foe Veera.
A flashback scene tells us about the tragedy of Veera's sister (Priyamani), who was molested by the police in the pursuit of capturing Veera. Veera kidnaps Raahini to avenge Dev, who had devastated the life of his sister. Veera unexpectedly falling for beautiful Raahini comes as a twist in the tale. He opens up his mind to Raahini, who has slowly starts empathizing his struggle against the police.
The gripping climax tells you as to what happened to Veeraa, Dev, and Raahini. It also deals with the suspicion of Dev about Raahini.
The eerie surrounding of the Adhirappalli waterfalls and the dangerous forest areas have been capturised in a spectacular manner. The script moves fast with kidnap, hunt and the oscillation of Veera. Raahiniís romantic life and the tragedy of Veeraís sister have been told in flashback in a telling manner. The visual beauty achieved by Santhosh Sivanís camera work and the awesome music by A.R. Rahman make quite an impact.
Mani Rathnam makes his script and characters do the job. Suhasiniís dialogues add value to the script.
However, the characters other than Veera, Raagini and Dev have not been shaped up well. The background of Veera and his people are not shown convincingly. The emotional drama between Veera and Raahini could have been more powerful.
Aishwarya Rai stands out with her beautiful looks and acting skills. She gets into the skin of her character and makes it quite credible. She is very good at showing subtle emotions. She has also admirably done physically draining sequences like trekking.
Vikram has delivered one of his best performances. His body language, facial expressions, and powerful dialogue delivery, expressive eyes help him making Veera closer to the audience. The moment of oscillation towards beautiful Aishwarya has been portrayed quite well.
Prithviraj looks smart in uniform and acts well. But his expressions look monotonous. Karthick and Prabhu are just about okay. Priyamani, in a brief appearance, impresses.
Santhosh Sivan and A.R. Rahman are the other heroes of the film. Sivan's camera work is spectacular and Rahman's music is stunning. The picturisation of songs Usurey Pogudhey and Kattu Chirukki are commandable.
Ravanan is watchable movie despite the inadequacies in terms of making the backdrop strong and clear. The performances by Vikram and Aish, music, and cinematography make the movie worth watching.