We’ve all seen plenty of "artificial intelligence" films, so its unlikely that you’ll be blown away by the storyline of Ra.One, in which computer game characters come to life after being given the ability to learn and adapt their skills with time. Whilst it is hardly groundbreaking storytelling, the graphics and special effects make the film worth a watch.
Computer game developer Shekhar (Shah Rukh Khan) designs a game in which the villain is near-indestructable in order to impress his adolescent son Prateek (Armaan Verma), who is embarassed at how uncool his dad is. As the game’s characters come to life, Prateek and his mother Sonia (Kareena Kapoor) travel from London to Mumbai in a bid to escape Ra.One (Arjun Rampal, though you only see his face partway through the second half). Protecting the mother and son pair is G.One (SRK) who – in a way similar to Rajinikanth’s Chitti in Endhiran/Robot – struggles to adapt to human life due to the limits in his programming. This social awkwardness could have made for great comedy, but sadly it pales in comparison to similar situations in Endhiran.
As a Tamilian watching the film, the constant jokes that centred around SRK’s Tamil character Shekhar Subramaniam – which included eating noodles with curd, and a background track that sang "Paithyakaara Paithyakaara" (‘mad man, mad man’ in Tamil) – were a bit much, and could have done with being toned down a tad. It’s clear that the aim was to create something new with this film, but with heavy influences from Iron Man, The Matrix, and of course Endhiran (amongst many, many others), there’s hardly anything in the film that takes you by surprise.
As with the majority of SRK films, there is of course, the obligatory Kuch Kuch Hota Hai reference, as well as unnecessary cameos from big names (in this case, Priyanka Chopra and Sanjay Dutt). The only unnecessary appearance is that of Superstar Rajinikanth. Though incredibly brief, his presence grabbed my attention, as I was zoning out from the otherwise dreary action scene. [Let it be said, however, that I’m quite biased towards the Superstar!]
This is hardly Shah Rukh Khan at his best, and there is nothing engaging about either of his characters in the film. On the one hand you have Shekhar, who is just an awkward, geeky designer with a God-awful Tamil accent, and on the other you have G.One; emotionless and unoriginal. That said, I did find myself hoping that G.One would triumph over Ra.One in the climax scene. Kareena’s performance is actually unexpectedly good. Her stand-out moment was during the second half, when she bats for the other team (in the good vs. bad way, not the other way…). Armaan’s performance as Prateek is enjoyable, and I reckon the kid could have a future in cinema.
All in all, it’s a family entertainer that’s probably worth a watch (just one, though; don’t overdo it!). The effects are good, and the general concept is in fact, pretty decent. However, considering all the hype that surrounded the film, Ra.One is sadly a bit of a let down. 2.75/5.
© Thamarai.com 2011