‘Raame Aandalum Raavane Aandalum’ movie review: A soulless and aimless village drama that has a narrowed view on politics and media
Director Arisil Moorthy makes a mess and a drag out of a simple premise, lacking both focus and interest
Had I caught Raame Aandalum Raavane Aandalum (RaRa) on Amazon Prime Video instead of a show arranged for the press, I’m positively sure that I wouldn’t have gone past the 10-minute mark. It is that kind of a film where the director’s (in)competence in handling the subject at hand, is consistently evident right from the start and I say this in the least snob-ish manner. Consider the opening sequence and you will understand why I’m pledging my case.
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Kunnimuthu (Mithun Manickam, struggles sometimes but mostly a fine debut) has come to a police station to register a complaint about his missing children. The cop, unaware that children in RaRa’s context are Kunnimuthu’s cattle, asks him to wait for his turn. And the irony plays out quite well: a few party cadres ask the cop for an update on their leader’s missing dog. We see all this from Kunnimuthu’s point of view. Observe how the director establishes Kunnimuthu’s supposed innocence: he finds a spot and sits near suspects; follows them into the prison inside the station, when a constable leads them into the cell and locks them.
- Cast: Mithun Manickam, Ramya Pandian and Kodangi Vadivel
- Director: Arisil Moorthy
- What’s it about?: A couple’s search for their missing bulls in a small village exposes years of abuse of political power.
When the attending cop calls for Kunnimuthu’s name, he replies from inside the cell and the officer says something to the effect of: “Why have you gone there?” Now, what is the whole point of this scene? Is it to understand how naive and harmless Kunnimuthu is? Or is it some sort of dry humour that doesn't land very well? Something tells me it is neither. RaRa is filled with such uninspired writing and lazy moments that spell out one thing for sure: a lack of interest and focus.
The lack of interest comes into play because, notice how the director establishes Veerayi’s (Ramya Pandian), Kunnimuthu’s wife, love for the cattle. After the police station scene, we cut to Veerayi who is staring at her cattle’s dried dung. When someone asks her what happened, she says something to the effect of, “I’m trying to console myself by looking at their dung.” Now that is actually funny. Hope Veerayi won’t mind.
RaRa begins in the present, but there’s a flashback about the missing cattle and how they came into Kunnimuthu and Veerayi’s life. It is not the central conceit that is an issue here. What the director does with it, is. And everything is either rushed or hangs in the air like a slender thread: the manner in which Kunnimuthu and Veerayi’s marriage is fixed to the way he finds out about the cattle in the end.
Coming to the second part: lack of focus. Near the interval point, we get a supposed “twist” that makes Kunnimuthu wonder if his cattle were missing or were kidnapped. This reveal comes from a journalist (Vani Bhojan) who has come to the village to ‘film’ a sob story. Apparently this is the director’s idea of media ethics.
The blurb for RaRa reads: the film is a social satire, themed around a village and its oddities offering a heady mix of humour and drama replete with human emotions. The word that caught my eye the most is: satire or the lack of it.
Arisil Moorthy makes a mess and a drag out of a simple premise that could have very well been a solid, satirical like Peepli Live or Oru Kidayin Karunai Manu. But he seems competent in stuffing the film with tonnes of issues taken from YouTube videos. The film tests your patience so much that you wonder if a certain milk ad on TV felt more organic.
RaRa is currently streaming on Prime Video