Saturday, 22 September 2018

Raja Ranguski: Devil is in the detail

The portrayal of a strong woman or a determined villain has always been an element that a film buff starves for in a movie. Dharanidharan’s Raja Ranguski has them both in the same plot.

Not just the characterisation, but the movie itself has an ample number of experiments for a cop story that is loaded with suspense.

Right from sharing the movie’s title, the female lead Ranguski, played by Chandini, is passim in the narration. The villain, who is a suspense element, despite his hiding, has rigid characterisation. It is the protagonist Raja (‘Metro’ Sirish) who is the link between the female lead and villain, getting into trouble has a weak establishment in the first-half.

Not just Raja’s typification, but Dharanidharan deliberately leaves a lot of loose ends in the first-half to keep us guessing. We see one of the prominent characters in different outfits before and after a crime, which seems to be a logical loophole initially. The way he details the incidents post-murder, in different perceptions, is elegant. From the audience’s viewpoint, there are only a few details – but Raja, while reflecting on the crime, has a little more information, and finally, during the police inquiry, he gives even more insights into the crime.

Saying all these one after the other in a non-linear yarn, the writer keeps everything clear shaping up all the unanswered ends to complete the story in the climax. What has brought down the flow is the production value of the film. It is obvious that the crew has gone through several obstacles to bring out what they had on paper to the screen.

Despite the irritants, Raja Ranguski has some aesthetic technicians like Yuvan Shankar Raja and cinematographer Yuva, who make it sound and look good. The ‘Chellakutty’ song, in the beginning, sets a stout base for the romance between Raja and Ranguski. As narration proceeds towards the end, Yuvan raises his scales with the ‘Shadow Theme’ and blows up the mood of the suspense.

For Yuva, the film must have been an opportunity to test visual poetry. For instance, the climax opens up with a tall cathedral with the sun in the backdrop. Yuva has captured the whole atmosphere and lets the audience feel, ‘Okay, it is all going to end here’.

There is a scene at the end, where we feel there is a slip in the characterisation of the villain for a split second. But, Dharani uses even that space to still ascertain the delineation. And this is the USP of Raja Ranguski, which has tried to redefine villainy and has been almost successful.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, September 22, 2018.

A part or complete version of this review by Santhosh Mathevan has appeared in This viewer's note is completely based on the perceptions of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only.