Ra.One (Random Access - Version 1.0) is a 2011 Hindi science fiction superhero film written and directed by Anubhav Sinha, and starring Shahrukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal in the lead roles. It also stars Shahana Goswami, Dalip Tahil and Chinese-American actor Tom Wu in supporting roles, along with Rajinikanth, Sanjay Dutt and Priyanka Chopra making guest appearances. The film is jointly produced by Eros International and Khan's production company, Red Chillies Entertainment, and was originally scheduled to release on 3 June 2011. However, due to extensive post-production work involving special effects and the 3D conversion, its release was postponed, and is now set to have a worldwide opening during the Diwali weekend of 26 October 2011. Ra.One is currently India's most expensive film to date and will be released in both 2D and 3D formats across over 5,000 screens worldwide in 2D and around 550 screens in 3D, along with its dubbed versions in Tamil, Telugu and German.
Ra One Movie Preview:
A father trying hard to 'fit-in' in his Son's badass world- A son ... is trying hard to 'dude-up' his dad from 'aiiiyyyo' to 'YO!' And a mother lost in translation between her husband's 'ingeva' and her son's 'Inn'it!'
While Shekhar was trying every trick in the book to woo his son, get 'dude-ified' and 'up his coolness quotient' his son had given up on him...
Just when the father-son duo hit a deadlock- Shekhar strikes gold when he designs one hell of a game.
Finally it all starts falling in place...
...as the family comes together... ...only to find themselves in the middle of a crash... ...not just a hard drive crash but a crash that would drive them to a disaster and make their lives go - KABOOM!!!
...All hell breaks loose when - the game that was meant to be played with... starts playing them...
Ra.One- The next level.
G.ONE (The Good One)
G.one stands for the 'Good one'. He is made of electricity and is programmed to protect. He is infused with powers to fly, speak different languages and control probability amongst other things. G.One’s powers are centered in his HART. (Hertz Amplifying Resonance Transmitter) What makes G.one endearing is his bond with the kid - Prateek. He is not just another super hero with weapons and metal parts... He is a superhero with a H. A. R. T.
Prateek is A – bad ass whiz kid, and an ace video game player. He is in the school rock band and plays for the school football team, and loves to skateboard, but video games is his first love and he is capable of playing even the most difficult games with ease. Prateek belongs to the 'bad is cool' set of kids. He loves villains and feels that heroes are boring and predictable. Just Like any other teenage kid, Prateek doesn’t get along with his nerdy father and is embarrassed by his loud Punjabi mother, so he mostly hangs out with his friends and his video games.
Shekhar is a South Indian game designer, who still hasn’t come up with a single successful video game. Shekhar is a fun loving guy, who loves his family but spends most of his time in his game design lab rather than with his family the only problem in his life is his estranged relationship with his son, Prateek. A relationship which he tries to better but usually ends up making it worst. Shekhar’s main aim in life is to win back the love of his son, for which he is ready to try every trick in the book. A foodie at heart, he has some really weird eating habits. Apart from food Shekhar also loves quoting great philosophers and revolutionaries, while at the same time adding his own modern day twist to it.
Sonia is a beautiful punjabi woman, full of life and zest. She is ready to face any obstacles that come her way, except modern technology. Sonia is technologically challenged and she literally runs away from technology. A feminist by nature, Sonia aims to pen down a book on male centric abuses. Amongst the family of three - Sonia often finds herself acting as an adhesive between her geeky husband Shekhar and her cool son Prateek, who are constantly fighting. Sonia is hopeful that one day this father- son duo will finally bond.
Production (Origins and Development)
According to director Anubhav Sinha, the idea of making Ra.One originated while he was watching a commercial on television six years ago. Sinha said, "The commercial dealt with two kids controlling a human with a remote. It was fascinating, and the visual stayed with me for some time." Sinha wrote a three-page short story based on the commercial, which he felt was good enough to be made into a film. Upon finalizing the story, he approached Shahrukh Khan with the film in August 2005, and Khan instantly agreed to produce and star in it. Red Chillies Entertainment's Keitan Yadav revealed that during the release of Main Hoon Na (2004), Khan was keen on making a VFX-loaded film that was larger than life. His production company continued working on other projects and seeking for the right film until they finally decided on Ra.One. Prior to starting the film, Khan approached several directors to helm the project but they all refused due to various concerns.
"Ra.One is the modern, new age technology version of our mythological "Raavan", who was a mixture of ten different evil characters. I am essaying the role of G.One or better say "Jeevan", a superhero who saves the mankind from Ra.One's torment. Through this film, I want to prove that Indian superheroes can also be as cool as the international ones."
—Shahrukh Khan on Ra.One
Pre-production work for the film began in November 2007 after the release of Khan's Om Shanti Om (2007). Sinha spent several months going through video clips, digital art portals and comic books; he later explained that this process helped him in creating a novel character. Khan stated that "When we started this film, the idea was can we make a simple film, about a husband, wife and child and then suddenly blow everyone's mind when they start fighting [...] So there were two films in one: the people who like the action...and those who like a family film." To prepare for the film's premises and characterization, Sinha and Khan watched as many as 200 superhero films in multiple languages from all over the world, including Spider-Man (2002), Batman (1989) and Krrish (2006).
Since the start of principal photography, Ra.One has faced multiple allegations of plagiarism and similarities with other film projects, including the 2010 Tamil science fiction film Enthiran. When asked about this, Khan noted: "I got inspired from a lot of superhero movies but the movie is original. In fact, Ra.One will be the first superhero-based movie in the world in which the superhero lives in a family." Commenting on Enthiran, he remarked, "they [both] are different films. I will not like to talk about anyone else's film but Rajni sir is respectable to all of us." Days before its release, Ra.One attracted media attention when script-writer Yash Patnaik claimed that the film resembled a concept that he had developed several years back. Patnaik subsequently moved his appeal to the Bombay High Court, pleading for a stay in the film's release.
Casting and Filming
Principal photography for the film began in March 2009, one-and-a-half year after pre-production work began. As a way to make his character more believable, Khan decided that he would perform his own stunts in the film. Sinha approached his friend Arjun Rampal to take up the title role of a villain in the film, to which he readily agreed, and Kareena Kapoor was later signed on to play the female lead. Child actor Armaan Verma was required to go through several audition processes until he was finally selected to play the role of Prateek. During an appearance on the chat show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Khan stated that Jackie Chan was "approached for a role in the film". Khan had reportedly sent Chan the detailed script of the film, along with the action sequences and a brief synopsis of his character; it was later confirmed that Chan would not be part of the project. In July 2010, it was announced that Chinese-American actor Tom Wu would be part of the film.
Actors Sanjay Dutt and Priyanka Chopra were confirmed to make guest appearances whilst actor Rajinikanth was slated to perform in a special scene where he would be reprising his role of Chitti from Enthiran (2010). The actor shot for the film on 2 October 2011 at Subhash Ghai's Whistling Woods Studios in Mumbai with his daughter Soundarya despite some health problems. To minimize strain on the actor, the shoot was finished in a few hours and the scenes were digitally transferred into the necessary backgrouds later on. Several days later, it was announced that Amitabh Bachchan would be doing a voice-over for an important scene in the film.
Ra.One's shooting was originally supposed to begin in Miami, USA, but due to budget concerns this was scrapped. The first phase of filming began in India in March 2010 and continued until May in Mumbai's Film City and Goa. While filming, Khan admitted to finding difficulties with the rubber-made costume that was specially designed for his character, later commenting: "The costume was designed in a way that I had to take the help of girls to get into it and vice-versa. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink much in between the shoots [...] By the time, the shooting of the film was wrapped up; I ended up losing ten kilos." Verma, who plays Khan's son in the film, had to learn the Brazilian martial arts dance Capoeira in preparation for his role. A chase scene along a Mumbai suburban train, in which Khan jumped from one compartment to another while Kapoor operated the train, received objections from the city government as they feared that the scene would entice teenagers to emulate the stunts. Subsequently, a disclaimer was added to the movie warning youngsters to refrain from performing any dangerous stunts shown in the film.
Production of the film's second and third phase occurred with the entire cast in London, which included a song sequence being shot in a restaurant from where the London Bridge was visible and a heavy duty action scene involving Khan and Kapoor. During this period, a picture of Kapoor's character was also revealed to the media. The film's final phase commenced at Filmistan Studio in December 2010 and was shot over seven days. The remaining portions were shot in Mumbai and completed in July 2011. While shooting for the film in Mumbai, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited Yash Raj Studios, to watch Khan at work. In order to celebrate the film's completion, a wrap-up party was held at the end of the month in Mumbai. A music video for the song "Raftaarein", choreographed by Feroz Khan and picturised on Khan, was shot one week before release. Talking about the decision to make the last minute addition to the film, Sinha said: ""Raftaarein" was initially just a melody playing in a background sequence. But [the song] has got unanimously great reviews and has amazing energy. I thought why not shoot a music video and put it in the film."
The film's crew consisted of more than 5,000 members from India, Italy and the US, and was pieced together by more than 1,000 people, working in shifts, in around 15 studios across the world. Nicola Pecorini was roped in as the director of photography, with V. Manikandan providing extra assistance, and Martin Walsh was responsible to edit the film. Sound designer Resul Pookutty was assigned the duty of enhancing the sound effects with the use of the Dolby Surround 7.1 system. In an interview, he explained, "Ra.One is not just a movie experience [...] It requires a very unconventional sound and visual quality for which we are installing the required equipment." In October 2011, post-production work on Ra.One faced a minor setback when Pookutty's studio-space in Andheri, Mumbai got flooded, and eventually damaged some of the film's footage.
Due to the revived interest in 3D technology in India, the makers of the film announced that they were contemplating on turning portions of the movie into 3D. Khan revealed that parts of the film may be converted to 3D, provided tests and screen-shots of some scenes of the film were deemed satisfactory by the technical crew. However, there was a good deal of skepticism regarding such conversions, especially since 3D shooting required completely different types of cameras. In July 2011, it was announced that the entire film would be converted into 3D, a process that required the collaboration of around 1,000 individuals. Prime Focus, which had gained considerable experience from performing 3D conversions of major Hollywood productions The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), were tasked with the 3D conversion of Ra.One. A separate conversion facility was created solely for the purpose of the 3D conversion of the film.
Initially, the prints of Ra.One were expected to be ready a month prior to its release. However, the post-production work took up a considerably longer time to complete than was initially expected, triggering fears that the film may not be able to reach its Diwali deadline. Three studios worked around-the-clock to get the film ready before its scheduled release date. Pookutty stated in a report: "[The crew] working on the post-production of Ra.One are in a high-energy zone. We are racing against time [and over] the next two weeks there are going to be number of sleepless nights to make sure [the film] gets into theatres on time." Ten days before the film's release, Khan reportedly became upset over the post-production crew for severe delays in the process of digital inter-mediation in the film. Sinha however commented that "there are a lot of things happening in the post-production activities. We all are working hard towards it. But everything is fine." As the film approached its release, Khan personally verified the progress on a day-to-day basis, with complete reports regarding the status of completion. Increased workload was also attributed to "multiplied work" due to the various versions (3D, Tamil, Telugu, etc.) of the film. It was also confirmed that all studios working on the film's visual effects had been released, as "not much of the work on visual effects is left [...] There are very few details left that are being worked upon. Once that is done, we will go to print."
March 2010 saw the inclusion of several visual effects techniques being incorporated in the production of Ra.One. In an interview, Harry Hingorani (production director of Red Chillies VFX) stated that "[the company] was set up in 2006 [...] Khan wanted to make something big involving VFX and that was the intension behind starting [it]." Extensive research was carried out by the crew, and no other films were accepted by the studio post My Name Is Khan (2010), with special focus on setting up proper software and creating "the right team" during pre-production itself. To minimize the risk of future delays, the task of adding special effects was outsourced to multiple specialty studios around the globe, including in the United States, London, Paris and Bangkok. In addition, Prime Focus also provided digital and visual effects services to Red Chillies VFX for the film.
Impressed by the work he had seen in the 1994 Hollywood release Stargate, Jeff Kleiser was hired by Khan as the supervisor of visual effects in May 2010. A team of 750 technicians under Kleiser carried out the addition of special effects into the film. Special effects creator Robert Kurtzman was assigned to design the suits of Khan and Rampal's characters. The suits were made by a team of specialists based in Los Angeles, California. While both the actors shot the film wearing a simple suit, a good deal of sparkle and polishing was later added to enhance its look.
The film is reported to have close to 3,500 VFX shots (occupying about 135 minutes of footage), with 800 of them being solely dedicated to G.One's suit alone, thus exceeding the total amount of shots that was used in the 2009 Hollywood film Avatar. Khan later singled out one process, explaining that it took nearly six days (137 hours) to create a single frame shot of glass flying on his character. Keitan Yadav notes: "There is no software or technique in the industry that we have not used for this film. For 3D, we have used software like Maya, Houdini and Macs. For composites, we have used Nuke and Shake. We have even written our own programmes. We programmed certain things rather than doing them manually."
The film's visual effects have generated massive curiosity among moviegoers, film distributors and critics, and have been labelled as "the best India has ever seen [and] on par with Hollywood". Hingorani stated that "60% of the film is visual effects. There are 37 sequences in all, and they were considerably difficult and time-consuming." Jeff Kleiser commented that the most challenging part of Ra.One was creating the cubic transformations for the lead characters. It was later found out that the incorporation of visual effects was the main reason behind the increased time for post-production. The final batch of visual effects shots for the film were delivered on October 19, a week before the scheduled release and much delayed beyond the expected time. As a result, the crew were left with only two days to complete the film and send it for printing, further increasing anxiety regarding the release of the film. On October 21, Sinha tweeted that the film had been completed.
The soundtrack of Ra.One, release by T-Series on 12 September 2011, was composed by Vishal-Shekhar with lyrics penned by Atahar Panchi, Vishal Dadlani and Kumaar. Director Anubhav Sinha announced that R&B singer Akon would be recording two songs for the film whilst the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra would also be making a contribution. The makers of the film have complied with international copyright laws and have obtained the license to use Ben E. King's "Stand By Me", on which they have based the song "Dildaara". The album features fifteen tracks, including seven original songs, four remixes, three instrumentals and an international version of "Chammak Challo". Subsequently, the Tamil and Telugu versions of the film's soundtrack were released on 10 October 2011 featuring six tracks each.
Marketing (Pre-release revenue)
In March 2011, it was announced that the television broadcasting rights for Ra.One had been sold to Star India for a then-record sum of INR40 crore (US$8.92 million), surpassing the previous record set by 3 Idiots (2009) for INR33 crore (US$7.36 million). The film's music rights were bought by T-Series for INR15 crore (US$3.35 million) whilst the distribution rights were acquired by Eros Entertainment for INR77 crore (US$17.17 million). The distribution rights for the film in Tamil Nadu and Kerala were bagged by Abirami Ramanathan for a reportedly record, but undisclosed price. Ra.One set a new record for total pre-release revenue earned, netting INR132 crore (US$29.44 million) and surpassed the previous record held by 3 Idiots, which had netted INR85 crore (US$18.96 million).
The producers of Ra.One set a record marketing budget of around INR52 crore (US$11.6 million), of which INR15 crore (US$3.35 million) was used for online promotion, making it the highest ever for a Bollywood film. Often described as the "longest promotion in Bollywood history", as well as "the most comprehensive and all-pervasive among people's lives", the term "promotional blitzkrieg" has often been used in connotation with the project's extensive marketing campaign.
Promotion of the film officially began as early as December 2010 when the first poster was published in all leading news papers across the country. The film's first look was later unveiled by Khan on his Twitter page on January 1, 2011. Several months later, director Anubhav Sinha announced that he would be launching two teaser trailers of the film during the 2011 Cricket World Cup, a prior nine months before the film's actual release date. Asked about why he was launching the film's trailer so early, Sinha commented, "Ra.One is not a Bollywood film that [the audiences] have seen before. The kind of size and magnitude that the film has requires it to be slowly introduced to the audience and that is the very purpose why we are starting the whole communication so early." The film's first theatrical trailer was released three months later to the public. As a way to promote the theatrical trailer, Khan was accompanied by the director on a five city tour, which included such places like Delhi, Chandigarh, Indore and Ahmedabad. During the same event, a 3600 ft long fan mail collecting audience wishes and messages for the film was also launched.
On 3 June 2011, the official website of the film was hacked by suspected Pakistani cyber criminals who stated that the act was a form of revenge to a similar attack on a Karachi press club website, three days after the launch of the page. They also left a note threatening the Indian Press Club, defacing the homepage. In early September, Red Chillies Entertainment (RCE) launched a sizeable viral marketing campaign for promoting the film more effectively in the online arena. The company launched the official customized Ra.One channel of the film on YouTube (a first for an Indian film) where several song and theatrical promos were released to the public, along with videos of the film's making, events and uncut footage. The channel also hosts games, including the first social game from India, and contests where participants can create promos from clips, music and dialogues of the film.
In addition to YouTube, Khan announced that the film would also subsidize through major brand ties-up worth over INR52 crore (US$11.6 million), some of which included the Formula One races, Nokia, Godrej Consumer Products, Coca-Cola, HCL, Horlicks, HomeShop18 and multiple live chats conducted on Google Plus for which Khan became the first Indian film personality to utilize. Three weeks before the film's release, a mass media campaign was launched by Western Union for international promotions. Encompassing platforms such as the radio, television, print media and outdoor advertising, it was launched in the U.S., Canada, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific as a way to connect with the millions of non-resident Indians across the world. Co-producers and distributors of the film, Eros International, released an official statement stating that along with RCE, they have recovered a major portion of their investments through in-film branding, media endorsements, and other music and satellite rights.
The look of the film's titular character, Ra.One, portrayed by Rampal, was heavily guarded and kept under strict wraps, with the entire filming unit required to keep mobile phones away from shooting locations, and signing non-disclosure agreements. The first look of the character was initially scheduled to be revealed on the eve of Dussehra. According to the producers, the time was chosen to show the symbolism between Ra.One and the mythological villain Ravana (of the Ramayana), both of whom are supposedly "equally bad". Due to certain technical glitches, it was later revealed in the film's final theatrical trailer to a positive response.
In July, Red Chillies Entertainment declared a tie-up with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) to build a full cycle game of the film on PlayStation. Released on October 5 at an event in Mumbai, "Ra.One - The Game" offers more than 20 game environments, features original voice-overs from the actors and is available on PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3; the former being available for the Indian market and the latter for the international market. Khan volunteered to write the game script, dub for the game, and even oversaw the entire technical development. The project boasts of a series of firsts: a first full cycle PlayStation 3 blu-ray disc game developed with an Indian developer; first console game to be dubbed by a leading Bollywood actor and also the first Bollywood title to appear in a full cycle video game.
SCEE has invested around INR4.5 crore (US$1 million) to license the Ra.One IP and an additional INR3 crore (US$669,000) in the marketing and promotions of the game, which includes offline promotions and television advertisements of nearly 250 ad spots. At the time of its launch, 21,000 game consoles were sold and 100,000 units are expected to be sold across India alone. On October 14, a gaming tournament titled "The Ra.One Nvidia GeForce lan" was held in Mumbai. The event, which hosted over 1000 gamers competing against each other, featured several popular games such as FIFA, Counter-Strike and Call of Duty, and was telecast live on YouTube, showcasing digital innovation by means of live interactive contests, puzzles etc.
In addition to launching the video game, Red Chillies also collaborated with UTV Indiagames to design a social game based on the film named the Ra.One Genesis The game reached the No. 1 position on the iTunes store within 24 hours of its launch, becoming the first ever Bollywood movie app to be top-featured on iPhone and iPad. An investment of around INR4.5 crore (US$1 million), the storyline of the game is not borrowed from or similar to that of the movie though it is based on the character of G.One. The game was launched across platforms like mobiles, tablet PCs, the direct-to-home platform and social networking sites like Facebook. According to the company's digital and new media head Shailja Gupta, the idea behind the digital marketing is to create a franchisee for Ra.One. She explained, "Social gaming is just one part of the digit marketing strategy. The unique part of the social game is the integration of merchandise and gaming."
Merchandise and Comics
As a way to promote the film and increase its franchising business, Shahrukh Khan tied up with Seventymm to market a variety of merchandises related to the film. Products included original G.One tee shirts, coffee mugs, wrist bands, watches, mobile pouches, video cameras, as well as many other things. Similar products were also available for purchase on the official G.One online store, which was launched alongside the film's official website. In addition to this, a jewelery line inspired by the symbol of "Ra.One" as well as a series of HCL laptops with customized integrated Ra.One skin were also made available to the public. Moreover, Red Chillies Entertainment collaborated with UTV Indiagames to develop digital comics based on the film's characters. Written by Khan, the comic featured weekly episodes and served as a prequel to the events happening in the movie.
During the period of October 24 - 26, Ra.One will have its international premieres in three cities: Dubai, London and Toronto, all of which were chosen keeping in mind their large international significance, as well as the presence of large South Asian populations.
The film's first international premiere will be held in Dubai on 24 October 2011 at the Grand Cinemas, Wafi, along with co-stars Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal, followed by a high-profile dinner and charity auction. The premiere is notable for being the first Indian film to sell tickets for its shows, as well as to have three simultaneous screenings for the event. The London premiere of the film is expected to take place at the O2 Cineworld the following day, while the Toronto premiere will take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on 26 October. Due to a conflict with Kapoor's scheduled appearance at Madame Tussauds, it was later announced that the actress would not be attending the film's premiere in Toronto.
Following up to its release, Ra.One is expected to set several records among Indian films for the volume of theatrical release in India and worldwide. Nationally, the film will release in 3,500 screens, breaking the record of Bodyguard (2011), which released in 2,700 screens. Overseas, it is currently expected to release in around 1,500 screens in 904 prints, with 600 screens in Germany, 300 screens in South Korea, 25 prints in Taiwan and New Zealand, 75 prints in Russia, 79 prints in the Middle East, 344 prints in USA, 51 prints in Australia, 202 prints in the UK and 49 prints in Canada. In case the partnership deal is successful, the film will also release in China with 1,000 prints. Moreover, Ra.One will release in 3D in 550 selected screens around the world. The film's release has also been noted for its wide use of digital prints, as an effort to bring down distribution costs, release the film to a wider audience and also reduce piracy. A week prior to its release, multiplex owners across India decided to allot the project with 95% of the total available screen space.
On 14 October, Ra.One was submitted to the Central Board of Film Certification to receive an official rating. Upon submitting the script, the Board showed strong objections to the film's action scenes as they felt that it would influence young children into emulating them. After much deliberation, the film was passed with a 'U' certificate without any cuts, but only under the condition that it would display prominent disclaimers stating that the stunts should not be imitated and were computer-generated.
A week prior to the release, Ra.One was dragged to the Bombay High Court by television producer and writer Yash Patnaik in a dispute over copyright. According to Patnaik, the superhero played by Khan in the film resembled the hero in his concept, and had registered it with the Film Writers Association on December 26, 2006. He also argued that his hero's title was called One and that it had been copied by Khan in the title of the film. Patnaik sought an injunction on the release until he is given due credit, and has also sought 10% of the profits or INR25 crore (US$5.58 million) as damages if he is not given credit. The court, observing the prima facie evidence that there had been copyright violations, asked the filmmakers to deposit INR1 crore (US$223,000) on October 21, 2011 with the court before releasing the film.
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