Thursday, 4 October 2018

Ratsasan: Reach him before he reaches you

As we saw in the trailer and the teaser, Ram Kumar's Ratsasan is all about the plot set around the series of murders by a psycho-killer. But, in its film language, the movie has explored a bigger space and has touched various shades of brutality on a very smart screenplay that keep us gripped with tension.

The shrewdness of filmmaker Ram can be witnessed in every frame of Ratsasan. Say in one scene, what helps the protagonist Arun (Vishnu Vishal) get the spark to solve a criminal case is a bunch of newspaper clippings he has collected. But, his collection was actually not for his police job. Also, Arun ideates that one has to break the balance in the mindset of the psycho-killer so that he gets demotivated. He apparently follows the same towards the end, and the way he does that is something unexpected and takes an elegant position on film language.

It is Vishnu Vishal, who gets to make all that possible on screen. Without him, it would not have been possible Ram Kumar to make what he had on papers. The actor's screen presence and his suspicious interpretations as a police personnel organically unbuild the conflicts fabricated by the antagonist, 'Ratsasan'.

What makes the cast more astonishing was the characterisations of Munishkant Ramadoss and Kali Venkat, the seasoned comedians, doing serious roles quite coherently. Especially, Ramadoss' two-minute act standing between Arun and an Ambassador car is one epic scene the actor would look back after years and recalls for doing, 'the role' of his lifetime.

However, in its narration part, the film is an amalgamation of stereotypes and contemporary moments. So, it becomes very annoying for us to judge and settle on a conclusion about the movie before it breaks for the interval. For instance, we might feel like what is going to be the surprise in buying a scientific calculator, when a father gives it to his daughter. Though Ram has tried to make a justification with a similar 'surprise' moment by the same father, we still find it a bit inefficient.

There were many such instances in Ratsasan, that do not deliver the actual ethos of what the director wanted them to have. One among those is the cliched 'fall-in-love-instantly' affair. When we are already in a restless on our seats by the impact of the previous scenes, this romance number popping out of nowhere makes us more overwrought. Though the song, as a stand-alone rendition, is feel-good, the relevance it has in the middle of a serious narration is not in accordance.

But Ghibran, on his part of background score, does a legitimate treatment of a horror dominated strain. Having given the idea of a psycho-killer who also is a pianist, as we see the movie's title font, the theme music for the antagonist is set with some spine-chilling notes of a piano.

Arun on his way to find out the 'Ratsasan' also throws light on the safety of girls in the society, which will be one emotional selling point of the movie. He has his own justifications for punishing a molester and he does not even care about the system he belongs to. For this, Ram has developed Arun's character in a very articulate fashion, as we see him on the first day of work letting a mom and daughter free after knowing the reason for their arrest. He is always shown as a realist, especially in the scene where he asks standing in a classroom, whether the girls use a mobile that too in front of their teacher. There is a silent reasoning behind this as well.

The dilemma we have when watching this movie - whether to take this serious or not? - persists within us throughout until the reason for the serial killings is shown in the movie. After that, the cat and mouse chase between Arun and the Ratsasan becomes rational and engages us till the end. So, if you are ready to stay patient and take a keen look at the details of the screen until Ram sets the premise close-grained, Ratsasan is going to be a thrilling journey for you.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, October 4, 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.