What's supposed to be menacing comes out as comical. Abhishek Bachchan tries hard, but try as he may, there is no menace in his mannerisms. The kidnapping scene between him and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan just does not click. On screen you seen them as a married couple (which they are in real life), and the two actors do nothing out of the ordinary to imbue some sense of terror or trauma into the entire sequence. The plot is very convoluted. Mani Ratnam does not establish why Abhishek's character as a man hated by the cops and loved by his people; a modern day Robin Hood. He is referred to as Beera, and he lives in a jungle. So we don't really know if there is any reference to sandalwood smuggler Veerapan as well.
Of course, here there are no elephants, but the disappointment as a viewer, especially if you consider you are watching a Mani Ratnam film, is Jumbo size. At the intermission, you are almost in splits. Actually, you wonder if this is a Mani Ratnam film at all. Your mind races back to RAM GOPAL VARMA KI AAAG. In hindsight, considering Mani Ratnam has goofed up in a manner like this, you are now willing to forgive RGV for his Aaag. This film could aptly be titled, 'Mani Ratnam Ki Daag'.
Cinematographer Santosh Sivan has his touch of class to the scenes he has captured in the dense jungles. The long shots and aerial views coupled with the ground zoom-ins are a treat. That is not enough to qualify a film to be a hit. If there is no content; no great director, nor actor, nor cinematographer can ever do anything.
Abhishek is Beera. A man hated by the cops but loved by the villagers. Hot on his trail is Dev Pratap Sharma (Chiyaan Vikram) with a battery of jawans. He is accompanied by forest officer Sanjeevani (Govinda) who will give a monkey a complex by his alarming flexibility of swinging from branch to branch. Beera kidnaps Dev's wife Ragini (Aishwarya) because he has some scores to settle with the cops. Instead of killing her, he ends up subtly romancing her.
The last scene where Beera is trapped, is the oldest trick in the book. A bait so often used that you know the outcome the moment it's out.
It's sad for Abhishek because he was fabulous in Mani Ratnam's earlier flicks YUVA and GURU.
Not everyone can deliver a hit every time. But you don't really expect trash from a director of the class of Mani Ratnam.