People have been locked in forever now and are often complaining of fatigue and listlessness. Office-goers are working from home. All those who would look out for French leaves are now itching to get back to the office. One way to keep yourself entertained and relaxed at home is by watching stuff on OTT platforms. We were not big fans but the home isolation phase opened this huge window for us and we are ever so thankful. So many people are creating very interesting content; all you have to do is tune in.
The re-telecast of Ramayan and Mahabharat was a huge hit during the first lockdown last year. Perhaps a repercussion to that, many new-age directors and screenwriters are relooking our ancient epics. They are reinterpreting Ramayan, the national favourite, and producing it in their own style. Ramyug is one such series that we recently watched on MX Player and enjoyed that thoroughly. It surprised us and we were hooked on to the full series. So much so, we thought it was worth a quick review. Read on.
Ramyug: The good and the evil
- Ramyug is an abridged version of the epic Ramayan. So you don’t have to watch the whole thing all over again. It’s like the best parts from Ramayan put together in an 8-episode series.
- It’s absolutely free to watch. Yes, all episodes.
- It’s not love at first sight but if you give the series a chance and are open to shrug off the hangover of Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan, and other clichés we are fed in India since childhood, it is actually very enjoyable.
- All the actors look like they are born to walk the ramp but most of them acted well and made us believe in them as their characters. The actor who played Shrupnakha was an exception. Her acting was, in search of a better word, bizarre. Tisca Chopra as Kaikeyi was our most favorite character from the series. She doesn’t need a big author backed role to showcase her acting prowess. She managed to do it in just a few minutes of screen time.
- The series manages to break the usual patterns and stereotypes. Sita isn’t an abla naari (helpless woman) here. She is shown to be powerful (even physically) and advocates equality between both sexes. And so does Ram. Lakshman is shown to be taller and bigger than Ram. None of the characters of Vanar Sena (Monkey Army) including Hanuman is shown to be monkey-faced.
- The sequence of Ram chasing Marich disguised as the golden deer is a smart use of computer graphics. That said, it is a little too long and has been used more than once in the series. We wonder why!
- We loved the nonlinear style of the series. The story does not start with King Dashrath and his queens visiting the sage for sons. It starts with the golden deer sequence. Earlier events keep appearing at different times throughout the series.
- Some brilliant songs keep playing in the background. “Jai Hanuman Gyan Gun Sagar” in the voice of Amitabh Bachchan with percussion from Ustad Zakir Hussain and santoor by Rahul Sharma is sheer brilliance. “Man ke jo tirath hain” by Sonu Nigam is honey for the ears. We would love to see some viral Instagram reels made on these songs.
- Ram and Ravan’s war sequence is probably the weakest part of the series. The soldiers from both sides are so few in number, it looks like a cricket match going on between two teams. Did the producer run out of budgets? Couldn’t afford to fly so many extras to the Maldives, where the series was shot probably. But then, why not use computer graphics for that? We remember, Ramanand Sagar did for his Ramayan.
- Sets of Ayodhya and Lanka (real or computer-generated, we can’t say) look stunning. Like a modern take on the traditional. Couldn’t keep our eyes off.
- While many interesting and important stories or characters were skipped to be able to tell the story in just 8 parts, a couple of not-so-important and unheard-of characters and sequences were included in the series. That did not make much sense.
Why Ramyug is worth watching:
Overall, we are once again present to the magic of the story of Ram. It was relevant many centuries ago and will stay relevant in the future too. When we started watching we couldn’t expect it to have a binge-watch element. But it’s tough to not watch the next episode after you’ve finished the previous one. Credit goes to director Kunal Kohli’s good direction skills and years of experience in Bollywood and television. Despite its few weaknesses, Ramyug was totally worth our time.
Platform: OTT, MX Player