Washington: Mani Ratnam's Raavan is getting rave reviews in the American media with the New York Times making it "a Critics' Pick", a distinction rarely if ever earned by an Indian film.
The Los Angeles Times as also entertainment trade papers Variety and Hollywood Reporter too have praised the film that opened Friday on over 2200 screens around the world in 35 countries including US and Canada.
Raavan has "Bollywood glamour aplenty, with the lovely if occasionally dramatically challenged Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Bachchan's wife, playing the Sita stand-in," said the New York Times. "The real star, though, is Ratnam, a talented visual storyteller who directs action crisply and fills the screen with striking images."
"Artful but not arty, Ratnam, whose films include Dil Se and Guru, delivers the goods," said the influential mainstream daily praising A. R. Rahman's "excellent score" and "an eye-popping climactic battle... on a teetering suspension bridge."
"And that, folks, is entertainment," was the Times' verdict.
The Hollywood Reporter looks at Raavan as a "Pan-Indian saga with epic sweep, intense emotion and gorgeous images."
"Filled with rich colours and lively action, Mani Ratnam's classically themed epic brings together the mythology of Indian culture and the flair and fun of Bollywood with tremendous flourish," it says.
Praising cinematographers Manikandan and Santosh Sivan, production designer Samir Chanda and editor A. Sreekar Prasad for serving "Ratnam superbly with images, settings and vitality that take one's breath away," the publication thinks "success is inevitable throughout India and with expat audiences."
"Such is the flare of the filmmaking that international audiences also can be expected to respond positively."
"Consistently one of India's most versatile and exciting directors, Ratnam angles for one of his bigger commercial vehicles by mixing knockout action sequences, primal dramatic elements and superstar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who stays ravishing even as she's sent through the physical wringer opposite husband and co-star Abhishek Bachchan," says Variety.
"Stellar cast and good word of mouth look to draw strong B.O. worldwide," it forecasts.
In the Los Angeles Times' view "Bollywood superstar Abhishek Bachchan has the title role of the romantic adventure epic, but the movie belongs to his exquisite real-life wife Aishwarya Rai."
"Ratnam and his colleagues give Bollywood fans full value. Ratnam's pace is steadfastly brisk, and his film is replete with dizzying camerawork, myriad complications, violent mayhem, broad humour, usual musical interludes, a cliffhanging climactic confrontation and a finish that strikes a note of poignancy."