|Directed by||Mani Ratnam|
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Editing by||Sreekar Prasad|
|Running time||130 minutes|
|Budget||25 crore (US$4.6 million)|
|Box office||65 crore (US$12 million)|
Raavanan (English: Ravana) is a 2010 Tamil thriller film written, produced, and directed by Mani Ratnam. The film stars Vikram and Prithviraj in the lead role, with Aishwarya Rai and essaying other pivotal roles along with a supporting cast led by Karthik, Prabhu and Priyamani. The film was also made simultaneously in Hindi as Raavan, with a slightly different cast. Furthermore, the film was dubbed and released in Telugu as Villain, with all three versions releasing simultaneously on 18 June 2010.
The film follows the crux of the epic Ramayana, with a ruthless police officer on the chase to find a tribal leader and lawbreaker, who has kidnapped his wife. Veeraiya, the kidnapper and his motif for the kidnap has been led on by the death of his sister, as a result of police custodial torture and brutal rape. The film explores the search by the officer, whilst exploring the changing emotions that the three protagonists experience with each other, leading to a riveting climax, situated in the jungle.
Raavanan was announced in February 2008, amidst much hype of the celebrated director, Mani Ratnam's return to Tamil films, whilst Vikram's and Aishwarya Rai's selection in the lead roles, creating more anticipation. Shooting began soon after, and took place in various locations with a record number of extras in areas including Chalakudy, Kerala and Ooty, Tamil Nadu amongst other regions throughout India. Prior to release, the film was given a U (Universal) rating by the Central Board of Film Certification.
The film opens with shots showing Veeraiya (Vikram) jumping off a cliff into water. His gang is busy distracting the police. Police vehicles are set ablaze and women seduce policemen into a trap whereby Veera's henchmen attack. The police are ruthlessly murdered. Raagini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), whilst on a boating trip, is kidnapped by Veera. Dev Prakash (Prithviraj Sukumaran), her husband and a senior police officer, is informed of the incident.
A brief montage of sorts showcases the story of Veeraiya. He is seen as a local hero, who runs a parallel govt in areas near Tirunelveli, with his brothers — Singarasu (Prabhu Ganesan) and Sakkarai (Munna). Though considered a terrorist by the local police, Veeraiyya is respected by the villagers. He kidnaps Raagini hoping to avenge the death of his sister Vennila (Priyamani). He brings her to the edge of a cliff to shoot her to death. She refuses to die at his hands and jumps off the cliff into the water far below, hoping to kill herself, but fails to do so. This causes Veera to hold off the murder, being unable to kill someone who has no fear of death.
Dev and his team enter the forests with the aid of Gnanaprakasam (Karthik Muthuraman), a local forest guard. Gnanaprakasam plays the role of Hanuman from the traditional epic. Despite searching deep in the forests, Dev is unable to hunt down Veera.
Meanwhile, Raagini develops feelings for Veera after she hears the story of his sister's death. Dev had led an encounter against Veera during Vennila's wedding. Dev's shot grazes Veera in the neck. Veera, fighting for his life, is unable to protect his sister, and he is led out of the fiasco by his gang. The police pressurize Vennila into revealing Veera's hideout. When she refuses, she is subjected to physical and sexual assault. Veera returns home to find Vennila distraught and traumatised. The next day, she commits suicide by drowning in a nearby well.
Unhappy with the way his brother is leading a war causing distress to his gang, Sakkarai offers a truce to Dev. Dev initially seems to agree but, when Sakkarai comes out in the open, Dev shoots him to death — revealing that he considers the destruction of Veera as more important than saving his wife.
Veera and Singarasu are enraged and attack Dev's camp; they wipe it out completely. A final confrontation between Veera and Dev takes place on a rickety bridge — where Veera triumphs over Dev — when he decides not to let Dev die. He tells Dev he is letting him live because of his wife. Dev manages to extricate himself out and finds Raagini bound and tied up — with Veera leaving her.
Dev is not entirely happy and, while returning to their hometown of Mettukudi, he accuses Raagini of infidelity and informs her that it was Veera who told him so. Furious, Raagini leaves Dev to meet Veera through Singarasu. She manages to meet him and asks him why he had accused her. Veera tells her he said that he had protected Raagini safely for the fourteen days and nothing else. He quickly realizes that Dev lied, hoping Raagini would lead him to his hideout.
Dev appears with a police team and confront the duo. Raagini tries to save Veera, but he pushes her out of the line of fire. He is shot multiple times, whereby he falls off the cliff. The touching climax of the movie shows Raagini's true feelings coming to surface: She is seen trying with all her might to save Veera. Although Veera tries to grab her hand amidst the gun fire, he fails to do so, dying without touching Raagini throughout the time he knew her. (In the last song, "Naan Varuvaen," it says he, Veera, will be back to touch her, with his life and soul.) Veera, content that Raagini has feelings for him, falls to his death with a smile.
- Vikram as Veeraiya aka Veera
- Prithviraj Sukumaran as Dev Prakash
- Aishwarya Rai as Ragini
- Karthik as Gnanaprakasam
- Prabhu as Singarasan
- Priyamani as Vennila
- Munna as Sakkarai
- John Vijay as Hemanth Kumar
- Ranjitha as Annam
- Vaiyapuri as Raasathi
In 2008, Vikram was signed up to portray the male lead Villain of Raavanan while Prithviraj was cast in the antagonist role. In the Hindi version, Vikram plays the antagonist and Abhishek Bachchan plays the protagonist. Aishwarya Rai will play the female lead in both versions of the film. The film sees Prabhu and Karthik act together in a Ratnam film for the second time after 1988 film, Agni Natchathiram.
Shooting began in the southern part of Tumkur, Karnataka at the end of October 2008. Mani Ratnam became ill during filming, which delayed the filming for a few months in 2009. However, the film began its last schedule in August 2009. The film finished filming and went into post-production in October 2009. V. Manikandan was hired as the film's cinematographer. However he walked out in May 2009 after finishing most of the film and remaining was shot by Santosh Sivan.
This film has numerous action scenes and stunts performed by the actors. The Kerala martial art form Kalarippayattu is also featured in the film. Dancer Astad Deboo choreographed a passionate chase scene and tandava dance between Vikram and Aishwarya Bachchan for the film. Choreographers Shobana, who starred in Ratnam's Thalapathi, along with Ganesh Acharya and Brinda have choreographed in Raavanan. Indian fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee designed Aishwarya Rai's costumes in the film.
Filming took place in numerous locations around India including the forests of Tumkur Karnataka, Kerala, Ooty, Jhansi, Kolkata, Mahabaleshwar and in the Malshej Ghats in Maharashtra. While filming in Chalakudy, Kerala, the production temporarily ran afoul of forest officials for reportedly not following regulations; the issues were resolved by October 22, 2008.
Raavanan released in 375 screens worldwide. The overseas distribution rights of Raavanan was sold for a record price of $1.5 million to Ayngaran International. Satellite television rights of the film were sold to Raj TV for $1.1 million. Raavanan was previewed at the Devi-Sri Devi Cinema Complex in Chennai, where it received a standing ovation led by the actor Rajnikanth. It was released worldwide on 18 June 2010 in 375 Screens (225 Screens in India and 150 Screens Overseas).
The film screened at 67th Venice Film Festival. The film was well received at Venice where the audience gave it a thunderous applause after it was screened. The master filmmaker was honoured with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award, an award shared by the likes of legends like Takeshi Kitano, Abbas Kiarostami and Sylvester Stallone. Later, the film has been screened at the Pusan International Film Festival. The film was premiered at the 10th Annual Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival in New York City. Jim Luce praised mani ratnam's work and mentioned 'Raavanan is a must see international film of 2010.
The film received positive to mixed reviews. The Hindu called Ravanan a "masterstroke" and said that it was "Rai's most genuine performance till date". Rai's performance was also noted as a highlight of the film according to Rediff, with her performance placing her in a "different league" than other Bollywood actresses. Indiaglitz praised the music, cast, dialogues and cinematography, but stated that the first half was "an utter waste of film reels"  The cinematography was called "brilliant" by Behindwoods website, although they found a "lack of ‘Tamil’ feel in the film and its music" Sify praises Mani Rathnam's style, but calls some of the performances "inadequate". On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 64% with seven fresh and 4 rotten reviews. The CNN-IBN stated that "The film is certainly not the best from Mani Ratnam's Madras Talkies, but it can't be dismissed as shabby. Even if this Raavanan has no shades of grey, overall the film falls under the greyish form of art from Mani Ratnam enterprises, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plays the strong woman who does not fear her kidnapper. Her performance is worth a mention but her male co-stars steal the show". Sify rated the film as above average and noted "the film’s best-written role, Aishwarya Rai has made a sensational comeback as Ragini, is mesmeric and has come out with an award-winning performance. Prithviraj is the ideal foil for Vikram, and is good. The movie lacks the Mani Ratnam touch in the story and screenplay department, and has a wobbly first half, where the story just does not move. The last 10 minutes are the best part of this 2 hours 7 minutes film".
Box office 
Unlike its Hindi counterpart, which tanked at the box office, the Tamil version tasted success in the South. During its opening weekend on 15 screens in the Chennai, it was the number one film and netted 90 lakh (US$160,000), an opening weekend record then. The film collected $8 million at the box office in the first month of release including $400,000 from Kerala. It went on to make over 60 crore at the worldwide box office and remained one of the top Tamil grossers of the year.
- Won - Filmfare Best Actor Award - Vikram
- Won - Filmfare Best Male Playback Singer - Karthik
- Nominated - Filmfare Best Actress Award - Aishwarya Rai
- Nominated - Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award - Prithviraj Sukumaran
- Won - Best Actor Award - Vikram
- Nominated - Best Actress Award - Aishwarya Rai
- Nominated - Best Cinematographer - Santhosh Sivan
- Nominated - Best Male Playback Singer - Karthik
- Nominated - Best Female Playback Singer - Anuradha Sriram
- Nominated - Favorite Director - Mani Ratnam
- Nominated - Favorite Actress - Aishwarya Rai
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- Raavanan collects 2 million rupees in the second week