Ra. One comes at a point when I had almost lost faith in Indian cinema. I had sacrificed a considerable amount of money, time and IQ points by making daring ventures into theaters with an inkling of hope of seeing an Indian movie that doesn’t look like it has been made by an inmate of the Athens Lunatic Asylum. Out came Ra. One and I went in with the same expectations.
Same old, same old.
A few facts first. The movie has a budget of INR 1,750,000,000; I don’t even know what number that is. It spent fifty-two crore rupees on mere publicity due to its various tie-ups and it boasts of a foreign cast. It was also out on gaming platforms even before the film’s release Now that I have got your expectations stacked sky-high, let me gladly deflate them.
Here’s the story, for starters – Shekhar Subramanium, played by the man they call ‘King Khan’ when they don’t remember what his real name is, is a nerdy, almost-neurotic game programmer who cannot make idlis. Since his only purpose in life seems to be to impress his uncouth, stereotypical 21st century brat-of-a-son Prateek (Armaan Verma), he designs a video-game according to his son’s demands where the villain is meant to be nearly invincible. However, due to some mysterious technology, the villain pops into real-life and begins looking for the player who started a game with him but never finished it. In this process, the ‘good guy’ is called to save the world. The villain, as the title proudly proclaims, is called Ra. One and the hero is called G. One. Did I already mention that one of the main highlights of this film is the lousy usage of puns?
Ra. One can be considered an experiment. However, due to a ludicrous storyline that leaves many unanswered questions, cheap, contrived comedy, attempts at raping science-fiction and some really obnoxious characters, it is an experiment that has gone grossly wrong. The film has the nasty habit of playing jump-rope with a rope called logic. It is a brave try at sci-fi, but doesn’t quite work. You can almost hear the director saying, ”Wait, this seems too realistic. Let’s fuck it up a little.”
The jokes nearly break your funny bone in an attempt to tickle it. They are clichéd and juvenile. If I had to put it in modern-day parlance, they are LAME. In the beginning of the film, there are characters which are meant to be Bruce Lee’s friends and go by the names Iski Lee, Uski Lee and Sabki Lee. That’s meant to be a joke by the way, but I am not sure in which universe.
It is hard to believe that we’re talking about the same man here who gave phenomenal performances in Swades and Chak De India. He does well as the geeky, South Indian dad who eats curd and noodles with bare hand, expects his son to love him, but is a disaster as the superhero G. One.
Each time I found snippets from a movie I recognized, a part of me died. You can find ripped pieces of Spiderman, Terminator, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and Spy Kids. If you pay enough attention, even Matrix and Small Wonder in the midst of all the chaos. Not all films manage to show you over a dozen movies at the cost of one though, so woohoo for that.
The special effects play a grace-saving role and with the fortune spent on them, they are expected to. Considering that the film is in 3D and all, director Anubhav Sinha does get to flex his muscles with them. The CGI makes Ra. One a delightful birthday cake whose beauty conceals the fact that it is actually made of dog faeces.
With things like the curly outgrowth on Shah Rukh’s head, dreadful clichés and disturbing cameos by Priyanka Chopra, Sanjay Dutt and Rajnikanth, watching this film ends up as a rather worthless experience. While Krrish gave us plenty of reasons for never making a superhero movie again, Ra. One manages to reassert it firmly. And the film tops all its awesomeness with Akon crooning ‘Lemme be your Chammak Challo.’ Heck, I don’t even know what a chammak challo means.