When one thinks about Ramayan, Ramanand Sagar’s magnum opus Ramayan comes to the mind by default. The kind of following it created was unprecedented and even in its second run on Doordarshan recently it outclassed all the latest soap operas. One more film that comes to the minds of some unfortunate souls is Mani Ratnam’s all time disaster Raavan which remained like a bitter pill in the annals of Indian cinema.
Ramyug, streaming on MXPlayer falls in between the two but swinging more towards the Raavan end due to various obvious reasons.
The story of Ramayan is always an evergreen one, always sounds fresh when heard or sweeter when read and never gets outdated even if it is watched for ‘n’ times in any format.
Ramyug depicts only five ‘kandas’ consisting of ‘Ayodhya Kanda’, ‘Aranya Kanda’, ‘Kishkindha Kanda’, ‘Sundara Kanda’, and ‘Yuddha Kanda’ out of actual 7 ‘kandas’ leaving out ‘Bala Kanda’ and ‘Uttara Kanda’.
It starts from ‘Aranya Kanda’ and goes forward and back as narrated by the sage Vishwamitra (Dalip Tahil) who adds significant inputs in the course of his narration.
The weakest link in Ramyug is the casting and the awful performances. If one expects to see a Arun Govil, Dipika Chikhila, Sunil Lahri, and Arvind Trivedi or atleast half of them, it would be highly frustrating. Ram (Diganth Manchale) is physique wise fits the bill but when it comes to performance, he is much below the standards, Akshay Dogra as Lakshman fails to impress on the whole but okayish in parts, while Aishwarya Ojha as Sita looks clueless all through the series. Though Kabir Duhan Singh as Raavan is no match to Arvind Trivedi, his character was albeit poorly presented as a result he was relegated to a caricaturish role. Only saving grace is Vivan Bhatena as Hanuman who has pulled out a credible performance amidst mediocrity.
The experienced and seasonal actors Tisca Chopra, Shishir Sharma, Suparna Marwah, Mamta Verma, and Dalip Tahil infused some life into the narrative with their commendable performances.ee
Behind the Scenes
When choosing an efficacious epic like Ramayan, its bound to get judged and compared and this is the biggest disadvantage faced by Ramyug.
Director Kunal Kohli has really worked hard to present a saga that is bigger, wider, and deeper with so much to convey in the form of human relations, compassion, peace and what not, everything is there in Ramayan. Kunal has tried his best to incorporate all these inferences which hold good even in present conditions in Ramyug but met with limited success.
The non-linear narrative, absence of real performers who can make a stronger impact, and lacklustre CGI are the main drawbacks of Ramyug that make it soon forgettable.
The compositions of stalwarts Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Rahul Sharma, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Ustad Rashid Khan, and Sonu Nigam are the biggest asset of Ramyug and the background score acts as a fillip to the otherwise dull execution.
A decent and well intended attempt that fails to touch the heart on the whole. It’s doubtful how far the present young generation will lap it up and Ramyug with its glaring deficiencies may not succeed in this mission of attracting them.
Definitely, for Ram ‘bhakts’ and disciples of Ramayan, Ramyug is another divineful offering which they can’t miss. For others, its better to watch Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan once again rather than wasting their time to watch this 8-episode series.