RARA’s main limitation is its lack of emotional depth. The arc of the leading couple remains painfully two-dimensional.
Where we know little about them other than their love for their bull.
Raman Aandalum Raavanan Aandalum is the opening act of the blockbuster Rajinikanth by Mullum Malarum. The whole verse is “Raman aandalum ravanan aandalum yakinu oru kavalai ila” (I don’t care if Rama or Ravana reigns). In Mullum Malarum, the song is a stormy proclamation of Kaali’s courage and morality.
In Arisil Moorthy’s Raame Aandalum Raavane Aandalum (RARA), this is a request from a poor commoner – no matter who rules us, our situation will not change. The basis for political commentary has already been established, but does the film make good use of it?
RARA tells the story of a couple of Kunnimuthu (Mithun Manickam) and Veerayi (Ramya Pandian), who live in the remote village of Poocheri. His favourite bulls, Velayan and Karupan, disappeared. Velaiyyan and Karuppan were gifts from Veerayi’s father for their wedding.
The couple treats them like their children – Kunnimutu gets angry whenever someone calls the police. When Kunnimutu went to the police to file a complaint, they sent him away without receiving a complaint. Hence their long search for the bull and their journey of revealing social apathy begins.
Moreover, with its political and social commentary, the story stretches anywhere between social satire and social drama. For example, in a small steam shop, there is a sign “Teknik padita paro master venu”. There is no sign in Hindi, and someone who speaks Hindi food appears in a village with no roads.
A Hindi-speaking merchant shows up at a local festival selling bull and leather straps just for the dialogue: “Un thilalangadi velai ellam un oorla vechuko. Idhu Tamil Nadu Inga Selladhu.” Keep up your antics. This is Tamil Nadu. He will not work here. “They actually don’t really add much value to the main storyline.
RARA goes to great lengths to make a passionate request to our impoverished rural population.
“Saami horse osaratula poi okandhuda poyachu gnevuntu name kasha kandukida naal aachu,” he said. (Even the Almighty has found a high throne for him. From there, he does not hear our request.)
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The disappearance of Kunnimuthu and Veerayi’s police snowboards poses even more significant political and development problems, but the people in the film are not involved in the bog.
Even when Narmada (Vani Bhodjan), a well-meaning journalist, excitedly reveals the lack of development in the village, he receives no visible reaction from the villagers. But are people interested in him? How can an audience be rooted in a cause when stakeholders are so impartial?
Despite the severe performances of the leading trio:
Ramya Pandian, Mithun Manikkam, Vani Bhojan – Raame Aandalum Raavane Aandalum could not come to the fore. I like Vadivelu Murugan and Lakshmi Patti’s organic humour, which complements the canvas nicely.
But the film’s most significant limitation is its lack of emotional depth. The arc of the leading couple remains painfully two-dimensional, where we know little about them other than their love for their bull.
We don’t even know what they do for an ordinary life. In this way, the emotional core of the film remains stagnant for most of its duration.
With all this variety and a few too many songs. However, this is a laudable debut as a composer for singer Krish. Raame Aandalum Raavane Aandalum has been working longer than it should have been.
There are too many loose edges that further obscure the authenticity of the film. (For example, the number of views in a YouTube video. It was reduced from 56.35.218 to 63.28.13 in the following frame – a silly mistake.)
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He tries to stay up to date with his political references, and he also tries to be holistic. But with this simple approach, it is impossible to achieve a lasting effect. RARA’s heart is in the right place. The rest is sadly not comforting in the right place.