07 May 2021: Kunal Kohli's 'Ramyug' review: Do we really need another 'Ramayan'?
Hum Tum director Kunal Kohli entered the digital forum with Ramyug, his vision of Ramayan.
While we understand his intention to give young fans modern stunts and novel packaging, the non-linear storytelling, and glitchy acting fail to impress.
The tale is known and similar "modernizing" efforts have been made in the past.
So, was there a need for another adaptation?
Let's find out!
Approach: 'Fanaa' director assumes every viewer knows the tale
The makers aimed to modernize the epic for young viewers, but the storytelling remains inflexible for a Ramayan novice.
Kohli begins in medias res, i.e., in the middle of the story. We go back to various episodes through flashbacks and dialogues.
Also, certain specific parts from the epic have been lifted to be adapted, making Ramyug a concise Ramayan but with a hotchpotch timeline.
Cast: We get song montages just like in Bollywood movies!
One thing that gets clear early on, is that the MX Player show is going to be a filmy ride.
Ram (Diganth Manchale) and Sita (Aishwarya Ojha) get lost in each other's eyes; Lakshman (Akshay Dogra) and Raavan (Kabir Duhan Singh) often act as comic reliefs. And there are abrupt song montages.
Vivan Bhatena as Hanuman is sure to come as a pleasant surprise.
Mixed message: Modern Sita continues to preach women's virtues from 'Ramyug'
Did the makers try to incorporate performative feminism when Ram says Sita should not agree to marry him just because he passed her father's test, but only if she wants to?
The moment viewers anticipate something new, Sita's reply brings them back to reality.
She says she is willing to dutifully follow him, solidifying the implication that a man leads and a woman follows.
Problematic portrayal: We can't be feminists, just for the heck of it
Through multiple such incidents, the show upholds the patriarchal stance of a woman's place in a marriage and society.
The makers' attempt at empowering women comes across as futile because it feels compulsive.
You cannot declare Sitas (women) of the future won't need Rams (male saviors) to save them from Raavans (male attackers) and yet justify Sita walking through fire.
The good: Tisca Chopra shines in her minuscule role; 'Ramyug' gets 2/5
However, it's not all bad.
Shot in Mauritius, the visuals are a delight and one can ignore the occasional reminder of the green screen to enjoy the stunts and CGI weapons.
Styling has been kept age-appropriate with all the male characters featuring chiseled torso in sharp contrast to the 1980's edition.
Tisca Chopra shines in her minuscule role.
Final rating: 2.0 out of 5.