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Kalanithi Maran and Sun Pictures’ RAW (dubbed version of Tamil film Beast; UA) is the story of a RAW agent who saves shoppers held captive in a shopping mall by a group of terrorists from the neighbouring country. The terrorists want the Indian government to free the jailed leader of terrorists.
Veer Raghavan (Vijay) is a bold and brave RAW agent. One day, he happens to be in a shopping mall when terrorists strike and hold shoppers captive. They negotiate with the Indian government for the release of their leader. The Indian government yields in to the demands of the terrorists, but Veer knows that releasing the terrorist head is detrimental to the interests of the country. How he saves all those held captive forms the crux of the drama.
Nelson’s story is oft-repeated and, therefore, lacks novelty. His screenplay moves at a very slow pace and gives the audience a lot of time to think. A thriller like this ought to have such a fast pace that no questions can crop up in the audience’s minds. In the alternative, the questions need to be addressed by the writer. Nelson has added a lot of comedy in the drama but the comedy dilutes the impact of the tension-ridden drama which even otherwise moves at a slow pace. Furthermore, the victims sit with such deadpan expressions while they are held captive in the shopping mall that the viewers wonder whether they even understand the repercussions of being kidnapped. The unwitting revelation of Veer’s plan to one of the terrorists is so childishly written that it further dilutes the impact of the drama. Dialogues are ordinary.
Vijay does a wonderful job. He has terrific attitude for the character, and shines in action and performance-oriented scenes. He is grace personified in dances. However, he is unable to rise above the mediocre script. Pooja Hegde looks pretty but gets very limited scope. She acts well. Selvaraghavan is so-so as Altaf. Yogi Babu has his moments as a comedian. VTV Ganesh makes a fine mark. Aparna Das hardly gets any scope; she is so-so. Lilliput fails to make much of an impact. Ankur Vikal lends routine support. Others are ordinary.
Nelson’s direction is too average for a film of this canvas and scale. Anirudh’s music is fairly nice but the songs of the dubbed Hindi version are not popular. Jani’s choreography is very eye-pleasing and delightful. The background music could’ve been better. Manoj Paramahamsa’s cinematography is good. Anbariv’s action and stunt scenes are terrific. D.R.K. Kiran’s art direction is nice. R. Nirmal’s editing should’ve been sharper. Dubbing is of a fine standard.
On the whole, RAW is too ordinary to make a mark at the box-office. Its weakest point is its script and its strongest point is Vijay’s attitude and superstardom.
Released on 13-4-’22 at Inox (in 3 shows; in daily 1 show from 14-4-’22) and other cinemas of Bombay thru UFO Cine Media Network. Publicity: extremely dull. Opening: so-so. …….Also released all over. Opening was average at most of the places and fairly good at some. The original Tamil version has also opened simultaneously.