Raja Ranguski: An Average Murder Mystery Let Down By A Shallow Screenplay
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Directed by Dharani Dharan, Raja Ranguski is a murder mystery starring Shirish Saravanan and Chandini Tamilarasan in central roles. In the opening frame of the film, director Dharani Dharan devotedly dedicates his film to the renowned Tamil writer Sujatha who was the first to coin the name Ranguski. You can’t help but place expectations on a film that begins with such a legendary writer’s name. For a while, the promising story of the film and the idea behind the unexpected climax reveal live up to your expectations. But if you have an overall look at the film, the shallow writing and ineffective execution restrict Raja Ranguski from making the impact it originally intends to.
Raja (Shirish Saravanan), a police constable falls head over heels in love with the effervescent Ranguski (Chandini Tamilarasan). He then pushes her to reciprocate his affection for her by feigning to be a notorious stalker on the phone. All hell breaks loose when a mysterious stranger calls Raja pretending to be him. The stranger even threatens to murder Ranguski. This drives Raja to her apartment and as his misfortune would have it, he becomes the primary suspect in the murder investigation of Ranguski’s neighbor, Maria. Whether or not Raja proves his innocence and uncovers the real suspect forms the crux of the film.
Raja Ranguski is a quintessential whodunit murder mystery. One of its admirable quality is the manner in which it leaves us guessing until the end. Chances are, you might never be able to predict the real murderer. This by itself is a crucial step in the right direction as far as the whodunit genre is concerned.
Sadly though, there isn’t much else that is as noteworthy about the film. In fact, you never even get involved enough to guess the right suspect because of the shallow manner in which the characters have been conjured. Most of these characters lack dimension and depth. Due to their one-dimensional existence, you barely even relate to the emotions they are experiencing. You distance yourself from their journey and can’t help but point out the limited emotional palette with which each of these characters is written. This kind of shallow writing makes it impossible for an audience to connect with the story.
The film builds up a lot of suspense leading up to its big reveal in the climax. This reveal when unraveled isn’t as impressive as you would have thought it to be. Sure, the idea behind it looks good on paper. Maybe it sounds innovative when narrated but due to ineffective execution, this climax revelation doesn’t land as well as you expect it to. When the real murderer is revealed, his reason for committing the crime and the explanation that follows is immensely weak.
It cannot be denied that director Dharani Dharan’s intentions are in the right place. With proper scripting and in-depth character development, Raja Ranguski could’ve been a great thriller. But if intentions alone were enough, films like Irandam Ulagam and Vishwaroopam 2 would’ve been legendary. Maybe the director ought to hone his writing skills far more before he ventures out to make his second film.
As Raja, Shirish delivers an incredibly amateur performance. His rigid expressions and inability to emote make it difficult for you to perceive him as his character, Raja. As Ranguski, Chandini’s performance could use much more depth. She fails to conceive the intricate nuances that her character demands. But in comparison to the others in the film, she is much better. As per the norms, Kalloori Vinoth makes an appearance as the hero’s friend. Even though he fails to leave a great impression, his performance packs in a few noteworthy counter dialogues that are bound to make you laugh.
Yuvan Shankar Raja’s music is shockingly average. None of the songs from the film are memorable. Even the BGM is quite ordinary. It is about time for the music director to step up his game or maybe even bring back his real brand of music.
Even though Raja Ranguski fares poorly in the writing department, its technicalities remain strong. Cinematographer D.K Yuvaa’s visual storytelling is upscale and is always in line with the pace of the story.
On the whole, Raja Ranguski could’ve been a film of great imagination. But due to its ineffective execution, hasty scripting and shallow screenplay, it resorts to being an average entertainer.