Raavan DVD


I am an NRI, translated into: no-real Indian.  I follow Indian cinema in my quest to find only one million original films before humanity as we know it disappears.  I will use the term Indian cinema sparingly because I only have access to Hindi films, not Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati and other languages.

Great jubilation!  You’ll never guess what I found  in a Killarney video and music store that stocks mainly Hollywood titles.  I found Raavan!  I couldn’t believe it.  Yes.  It was an original DVD, complete with the segment called, ‘making of.’  Pirate copies never have that.

Amazing!  It is an open secret that I love Mani Ratnam’s work.  It is even a bigger open secret that I love Raavan, because of its South African connection and outstanding cinematography.  The film’s beginning also has a song in my language, Zulu.

The joy of a DVD is that it reveals certain nuances you missed in the theatre.  I’ve written about the film’s subtle sensuality.  What I discovered in the DVD is a scene that is pure erotica.  Dev, inspector of police (Vikram) is going crazy looking for his wife (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), who is kidnapped by Beera, the outlaw (Abhishek Bachchan).

He thinks of her when he sees nectar coming out of a tree in the forest.  He collects the sticky nectar in his hands and breaks down.  That’s Mani Ratnam for you.  What does the nectar represents?  My DVD library is very happy to welcome Raavan the DVD.

Raavan should be compulsory viewing in film schools world-wide together with films such as Dr. Zhivago, To Sir With Love, God of Gamblers, Farewell My Concubine, Jean de Florette and Daughters of the Dust.

Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness the novel.

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