Raja Ranguski Review: A fairly intriguing plot let down by plasticky execution

Unintentionally, there are several instances in Raja Ranguski where the characters on the screen ask the sort of questions I wanted to ask them myself. In one of those portentous scenes, Ranguski (Chandini) asks Raja (Metro Sirish) “Ozhunga nadichiduva la?” When Baskar (Kalloori Vinoth) says, “Ayyo! Romance! Chei!” on seeing the lead pair, I gave him a mental high-five. What else can you say about a relationship built on Raja, a police constable, stalking Ranguski, a writer? It’s also the kind of cheesy relationship in which one asks, “Enga irukka?” and the other responds, “Un idhayathula iruken.”

Ranguski is the nickname of acclaimed writer Rangarajan, more popularly known as Sujatha, and I began wondering about the blasphemy occurring in his name. The film, however, slowly redeems itself in terms of plot, even if not in its execution, particularly with its climax. There’s a whodunit mystery that the love angle runs into. There are a couple of efficient twists — there’s always an inkling of what might come but it’s never too obvious. But all this may have been better on paper than it is on screen. How could it not be, given that songs continue to interrupt the already incohesive narrative? The songs are obtusely forced into the narrative, likely because they have someone of the stature of Yuvan Shankar Raja on board. One of the songs, ‘Naan yaarunu theriyuma’, is quite unnecessary for the lead character, Raja. Despite the film running just for two hours, these issues are big annoyances.

Raja Ranguski mostly unravels in a flashback, in which we get bits and pieces of the story. This necessitates that the moments, when revisited, are shown exactly as they occur. Raja Ranguski fails here as well. Characters don different clothes, or are at different locations. A five-hundred-year-old bible, for instance, looks brand new, fresh with gold embossing. The performances don’t really help either. How many hits in execution can this fairly interesting idea survive?

But the film isn’t entirely devoid of thought; in the sense, one can’t call it lazy. Kalloori Vinoth gets a few funny one-liners. When Ranguski walks in, he says, “Indha kosu thollai thangamudiyala”. It’s a Goundamani line, cleverly used as a Sujatha reference (The mosquito in Enthiran was named Ranguski). Ranguski gets a few interesting character twists, ones that don’t end up destroying what she turns out to be. It doesn’t save this film though, whose premise deserved way better execution.

This was originally written for The New Indian Express. You can find it here.

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