Director Mani Ratnam’s Raavan, that released June18, ismorethanjustoneof this year’s most anticipated Hindi moves — it is also being made in Tamil as Raavanan and dubbed in Telugu as Villain. The Hindi version stars hus-band-wife duo Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai
Bachchan along with Tamil legend Vikram. The Tamil and
Telugu versions don’t feature Abhishek. The film revolves
around a married woman being abducted — reminiscent of
the epic Ramayan. Aishwarya plays the abducted woman.
You have said the character of Ragini is special to you. Why?
It has been exceedingly challenging physically to play the
character. Ragini is abducted. She is pushed, pulled, tied,
thrown, put through trying situations; and I had to do all
that. If I was thrown in the water, even if I knew how to
swim I had to behave like I am drowning. Not once or twice
but on a number of occasions — depending upon the number of takes we took each time — and then do it for both the
Mentally, it was stressful and challenging because Mani
[Ratnam] likes to shoot an entire scene in one go. So, often
we would shoot the Hindi scene first and after the scene
was done, we would do the Tamil version. But this time we
would do it faster as [cinematographer] Santosh [Sivan]
would want to capture the scene in the same light. To
switch onto some other language in a short time — that too
a language that I don’t speak — was obviously tough. I had
to be mentally very alert. We had to recreate the scene
without looking like you are challenged to remember your
lines. So, if you are shivering, it gets worse. Plus, if my hair
dried out, I had to again wet my hair to look the same.
Beera is also considered as a protector, provider and saviour of the have-nots of the society. There comes a point in
the narrative when Dev is obviously on the right side of law.
But after a while he starts becoming a man on a mission.
He is more about going out there and getting Beera
because he has abducted his wife and because the man in
Dev wants to get even with the other man.
So it also somewhere becomes a battle of ego for Dev,
which Ragini recognizes. Everybody has black and white
and grey in them. Through Ragini, the audience will also
discover different facets to Dev and Beera’s characters.
I think it is clever of Mani to title the film Raavan.
Abhishek’s character is not called Raavan; it is Beera.
When you think of Raavan you think of his 10 heads but
when you are watching Beera you see the 10 different facets
An interesting thing that Abhishek
and Vikram have done while per-
forming is that they were talking to
themselves in the film very often —
which could possibly mean
that they talked to the 10
different voices within
themselves. The 10
heads of Beera are
obvious but some-
where there are
equally as many
‘I would be lying
if I said that criticism
me at all’
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan tells
Patcy N why Raavan is the most
special film of her career yet