MUMBAI: Keep it real, that was the direction given by Mani Ratnam. And for the launch of the music launch, the cast and crew followed it to the script, and that kept the very special invitees spell bound as Mani weaved his magic with his superb team of Rahman and Abhishek Bachchan.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra avoids music launches and is yet to attend one, apart from the films that he makes and he confessed, "I am glad I came. I was woven into the magical world of Raavan." Raavan, the latest creation of Mani Ratnam showcased its music, unlike any launch ever in Mumbai’s film industry.
Shaad Ali, a former assistant of Mani Ratnam and who has directed films like Saathiya, Bunty aur Babli and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, has been the assistant to Mani in this film, disclosed, "It was all Mani Sir’s idea. He had a vision. He told us that the launch should reflect the film and we followed his instructions."
A set was created in Yashraj studios, which had a jungle feel. As Raavan was shot in the forests of Tamil Nadu, the set of the music launch was thus replicated. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a white sequined saree was the hostess for the evening. She said, "We have had to deal with rapids, snakes, leeches, cold water, early morning wake up calls, trekking for miles, but we would all do it again for Mani Sir." After detailing us about her character called Ragini in the film, she introduced the superstar from the South, Vikram. Working on a bilingual and his first Hindi film, Vikram admitted, "When I was given the Tamil lines I would think and act, when I was later given the hindi lines, I would just stop thinking and act."
Amidst the banter, Raavan was getting ready to reveal one of his many avatars. The banter between Ash and Vikram petered out as the first strains of the music could be heard. The maniac, just one of the numerous shades of Raavan was unleashed and Abhishek Bachchan gave a powerful performance of what this Raavan can do, when nailed. As the lyrics of Thok De Khilli gathered momentum, AB dressed in a muddied black shirt and trouser with a black patch on his eye and dirt covering his bare arms and neck, jumped, leaped and thumped as the audiences gave a thunderous applause.
Abhishek had a small tete-a-tete with Ash on stage, where he candidly said, "Working with Mani is simple. You know he will take care of you as an actor. He will do everything for the character and make sure that everything looks seamless. You just have that implicit faith in him because you know that he is only thinking of the character and the film in totality. Nothing else matters and he also has the best technicians working for him."
The evening ended with a lyrical recitation from Gulzar and AR Rahman took it to the ultimate level when he gave music to those lyrics and sang. It was only natural for the three hundred odd guests to give the duo a standing ovation.
Rohan Sippy, who was part of the spectacle said, "A music release like this cannot be done all the time. The content of Raavan is rich and so is the gravity of the film. It is only then one can plan and conceive a show like this. I don’t see music launches like this becoming a trend because you also need the canvas of a star cast as Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan and Mani Ratnam and AR Rahman."
Raavan’s music is rich and varied. Mani has stuck to a rain song with Ash, a soulful rendition on destiny, two peppy dance numbers amongst the six tracks of his film. Raavan is slated to release on the 25th of June, but one can be assured that the pulse of the music will be felt, much before its release.