Ratnam has played an important role in shaping Abhishek's career - the director's Yuva established him as an actor and their second venture together, Guru, won him critical and commercial success. "Mani Ratnam and Abhishek Bachchan will create a bigger magic with Raavan than Yuva and Guru. Mani is an expert on dark themes and Abhishek pulls off such roles very well. Raavan will do spectacular work," film critic Omar Qureshi says.
Ratnam not only gave Abhishek path-breaking roles but also presented him in dark roles. When Abhishek teamed up with Ratnam for Guru, and he got the nomination for Filmfare best actor award for his performance in the film. Not only that it also established Aishwarya- Abhishek as a winning on screen pair when all their earlier films starring them as lead bombed at box office.
Raavan will once again see Abhishek as a villain and a lot of emphasis has been laid on his looks and body language. The film has lots of action scenes and stunts. Talking about his character, Abhishek said: "Beera is the most fun character I have played. Fun because when we work on a character, we draw an outline and then fill in the blanks. But Beera is so unpredictable that you can get away with everything. Mani said do whatever you have done. Make it a convincing performance.”
Abhishek revealed that he decided to jump from scary heights despite a no from director Mani Ratnam "I did jump. There was a professional diver to train me how to do it. When we went up there, it was 90 feet or something. So the insurance people said that we couldn’t allow him to do it. You can't put your lead actor's life at risk. Mani said no. In the meantime, a five-year-old boy came and dived into the water. We were shooting it at Hogenakkal where these local kids jump off for money. So five-six people jumped at the end of the day and finally the shot was taken," recalls Abhishek.
"This is the most challenging film I have ever done in my life. I haven't done such a physically and emotionally challenging film in my life. And it's not about going to tough locations or tough scenes. The film drains you and you feel so good when you go home at night because you feel that you have done something. Getting a movie like Raavan is so rare. You don't get such a role today," say’s Abhishek.
Ratnam's Raavan is said to be a modern interpretation of the epic Ramayana. The director simultaneously shot Raavan in Tamil and Hindi. Talking about her role, Aishwarya said, "This was an extremely challenging role for me. To shoot it in Hindi and Tamil at the same time was quite a task. But the experience was so wonderful that if Mani sir asks me, I am ready to do it all over again."
Ash -Abhi made a powerhouse pair in Guru, and now they are all set to sizzle in Raavan. This will be the couple’s second film post-marriage and Aishwarya says the experience was truly satisfying. “The best part was we could be together after the shoot, even though we would both be so tired,” she admits.
And the lead pair had good reason to be tired! “We scaled mountains, shivered through the mist and the cold, bore with the snakes and leeches around us…there was no time to think of anything else,” says Ash.
Ash says Mani Ratnam narrated the story of Raavan to her while she was getting drenched for the song Barso Re in Guru, and the water connection continued while filming Raavan as well. “I was dragged, pulled, pushed and thrown into the water many a time while filming in Kerala and Orcha,” says the actress.
Ash asserts that the epic Ramayana does not inspire Raavan “Raavan is a contemporary film. Every film has a little bit of history and mythology, but it is wrong to say that the film is based on it. The unique aspect of this film is the way Mani Ratnam draws you in through his narration.”
With much hype surrounding the film, expectations are high and people are hoping that the
Abhishek - Aishwarya - Ratnam combo will strike bull's eye at the box office.