Okay, I just watched the first episode and will write down what I though in terms of pros and cons. I'll start with the pros since they're more positive.
The costumes of the royal ladies is really authentic and nice, I liked it a lot! Kaikeyi's saree's in particular are beautiful.
The outside setting of the palace and surrounding area is nice too. The kingdom of Ayodhya looks very grand as it was supposed to be.
OMG, baby Ram is SO cute!!!! I fell in love with his smile during the naamkaran, but I wish they chose an infant, lol. The kid looked 9 mths or something and babies are named much before that.
The lady chosen for Kaushalya is the best out of the three ranis in my opinion. In that scene where she receives Vishnu's darshan, and then later rocks her baby...everything about it was so emotional and touching, I think I'll come to like her a lot.
The inside settings of the palace are so dull and gloomy, as usual with Sagar Pictures shows. Aishu is right. The palace is the same one used in Dwarkadheesh and I remember many people complained then too. When they made the outside look so nice, could they not show a grand inside as well? Ayodhya was supposed to be made out of gold, and there was supposed to be brightness and color everywhere. The settings of this palace look so depressing.
Unlike others here, I don't have a problem with Sumitra yet. She may look a bit old, but they're all supposed to be very old by now and it's not her fault if they chose a young Dashrath. However I did not like Kaikeyi or Manthara at all. Kaikeyi was supposed to bright and youthful, and she was very loving to the other two queens before Manthara poisoned her. This Kaikeyi was not exactly mean, but she came off as a bit snobby to me. She looked as if she knew Dashrath liked her best, and she was proud of it. Valmiki Ramayan actually portrays Kaikeyi as a bit proud, but this Ramayan is taking RCM as source, right? In RCM Kaikeyi was a very virtuous, friendly, and pure-minded lady.
As for Manthara, she was not as annoying as ASR's in that she did not have a high-pitched, nasal voice, but I think ASR's was a better actress. This Manthara does not come off as a sly and clever politician. She looks desperate and weak, which Manthara was not. RSR's Manthara is the best I have seen so far, but after her I prefer ASR's to this new Ramayan's, unless the Manthara improves later down the line. It may be too soon to judge Kaikeyi and Manthara, maybe they'll both improve with time.
Another pet peeve is that I do not like Vishnu and Lakshmi being shown in white as Sagar Pictures tends to show. Lakshmi, while she is shown to have white in her saree in some paintings, it's supposed to be bordered by red or bright orange. All white is not an auspicious color. Also, Vishnu is supposed to be shown in yellow. It's his custom color and it's even shown in temples. The Vishnu and Lakshmi of Sagar Pictures shows are always shown in white for some reason.
I did not like how Kaikeyi pushed Manthara to the floor. Yeah, we all hate her character and all, but Kaikeyi was not a temperamental or violent lady. I don't like the aggressiveness and command this Kaikeyi is displaying. I also did not like how Dashrath's character is portrayed as being overly obsessed with Kaikeyi. Yeah Kaikeyi was his favorite queen, but he never neglected Kaushalya and Sumitra. If he was that type of husband and King, Vishnu would never be born to him. This Dashrath does not seem to care about Kaushalya or Sumitra.
Kaikeyi accompanying Dashrath to the war was inaccurate. That event is supposed to occur soon after their marriage, not now. After she saved him and got those two boons, many 100s of years were supposed to pass before this war happened, and when he returned home she was supposed to be there with Kaushalya and Sumitra to greet him. Anyway, I guess it's not that big of a deal so it's not really a major blooper.
I don't really like the music that much. Some of it was a copy from RSR and ASR's respective scenes (like Jai Jai Surnayak & Bhaye Pragat Kripala), but the other music, while being RJ's trademark tunes, did not suit the scenes.
All in all, this first episode wasn't horrible but I was not very impressed. It started off being a copy of RSR and went on to being a copy of ASR. Of course, the story cannot be drastically different since this is how Ramayan the epic starts, but for someone who's seen both the previous Ramayans, it wasn't a very impressive start because 1) the settings of the palace interior weren't nearly as beautiful and grand as ASR's and 2) the scene with Vishnu and Lakshmi at Vaikunta wasn't as spiritual as RSR's. I also really loved that scene in the original Ramayan.
I hope the second episode will be better. I heard that this whole show is going to be only 64 episodes, which is shorter than the original Ramayan which was 78 episodes not including Uttar kand and if that's true then the storyline will be very rushed and there won't be much opportunity to go in depth of Ramayan, which is more beautiful when deeply researched and understood.
Edited by JanakiRaghunath - 12 August 2012 at 2:12pm