Accepted paper:

Accommodation of the primordial in Ra.One


Kopal Gautam (University of Essex)

Paper short abstract:

The repetition of the primordial theme of the defeat of evil by good in Hindi cinema indicates that mythical themes have the ability to hark back to the past to redefine the present. This paper will analyse the significance of the retrieval and representation of the myth of the defeat of Ravana by Rama in the film Ra.One.

Paper long abstract:

The victory of good over evil has been one of the primordial themes in Hindu Mythology. Ancient texts such as the Vedas and the Puranas abound with the narratives of conflicts between the Devas (gods) and the Asuras (demons) and the eventual victory of the Devas. This theme also became the subject of the first great Indian epic: The Ramayana. The figure of Ravana in this epic can be seen as the first iconic antagonist who posed a serious threat to the Devas. The killing of Ravana by Rama was an epochal moment that has been ritualised and ever since repeated in the festival of Dussehra celebrated every year. In Indian popular culture, especially in Hindi films, the theme of overcoming of evil by good has also been a dominant one. Though this theme has been the subject of various twentieth-century films, the emerging genre of Indian science-fiction films is especially making use of this theme. In the latest film of this category, Ra.One, the retrieval of the mythical figure of Ravana and his characterisation as a Video Game antagonist who is ultimately defeated by the 'good' protagonist G. One show the necessity of the repetition of an ancient myth in the current age where science and technology are threatening to become more significant than religion in Indian society. This paper will explore the significance of accommodating the primordial in twenty-first century Indian science-fiction films, with particular reference to Ra.One.

panel P24
Accommodating the primordial: the function of myth in a globalising world