Inclination to make sociopolitical movies is taking deep roots in film makers of Kollywood. The latest arrival in the genre is Raavana Kottam. The flick tells the tale of how politicians use administrators to fuel rivalry between two fractions in a society to promote their own interest. Actor Shanthanu Bhagyaraj who was last seen in a short in the anthology series Story Of Things is back on screens with his socio political drama Raavana Kottam. Actress Kayal Anandhi has portrayed the female lead in the movie. Director Vikram Sugumaran has written and directed the entertainer. So, how has the sociopolitical flick Raavana Kottam come out? Is it solid enough to give a big break to actor Shanthanu Bhagyaraj in Tamil cinema, and be a memorable venture in the career of director Vikram Sugumaran? To know that let us get into the movie review.
The film is set at the backdrop of Ramnad where people of Melatheru and Keezhatheru village have it as a policy to not let politics or politicians intrude their village. Any conflict or issue is solved quickly within themselves. This order has resulted in them living in harmony under the leadership of Bose (Prabhu) and Chitravel (Ilavarasu), who head their respective villages. Even their sons Senguttuvan (Shanthanu Bhagyaraj), and Mathimaran (Sanjay Saravanan) follow in the footprints of their fathers maintaining a family bond. The unity among people and peaceful environment stands as a hindrance for politicians to enforce their influence in the region.
The prevailing harmony riles incumbent minister Rasakannu (P L Thenappan), a shrewd politician who is fixated on creating a base for his political party in both the villages that hold a massive monetary benefit to him. He decides that seeds of conflict must be sown between the fractions for him to get a foothold in the community. He instructs the local MLA to carry out the task. The MLA realizes that it is hard to play Bose and Chitravel. But he senses an opportunity to pit their sons against one another. He concocts a devious plan and deploys one of his men to it. Will Senguttuvan and Mathimaran fall prey to the evil plot, will hatred pervade the villages, or will the people find a way to stick together despite differences, is what makes the rest of the flick.
Director Vikram Sugumaran is ambitious with Raavana Kottam. He wants his film to voice for various causes like deceitful caste politics, fight against nefarious corporate corporations, and importance of protecting farm lands. In his ambitious thought process, he loses his clarity of thought as to what he wants his film to achieve. The framework of politicians disturbing peace in a region for their political mileage and having a lucrative reason for them to do it is all well and fine. But then, this is literally the plot line of a plethora of films that are made in the genre. Raavana Kottam is no different from them in any way. Even in its treatment. Familiar troupe mar the proceedings from the very beginning to the end. Sadly, there is no surprise element in narration either which leaves us trying to guess the subsequent turns that the film is about to take. More often than not, we end up with the right prediction.
There is a problematic aspect to how love blossoms between the lead pair in the film. Kayal Anandhi’s Indra Priyadarshini falls in love with Shanthanu Bhagyaraj’s Senguttuvan for forcibly kissing her in public. She even goes on to say, ‘You are the first person to kiss me, that too in public. So, you got to marry me.’ Duh! Even if we are ready to discount it for a funny element beneath the action. There is not sufficient writing that allows the space for it. If we had had some build up sequences where we are shown that they have a mutual interest in each other, it would not have mattered much. Characterization is another debacle that pulls the flick into the trench. Excluding Prabhu’s Bose, none of the characters in the script have a real personality in them. They are mere stringed puppets pushed around to the convenience of the director. Raavana Kottam has clear desires to be a gripping social drama that wants to make a real impact. It’s just that the writing does not live up to its vision.
The effort that actor Shanthanu Bhagyaraj has put in to play his part is evident on screen. He has worked on his mannerism to aptly fit in his part. His physic, and beard further compliments him in playing his role. He looks quite comfortable, and sells Senguttuvan convincingly without shedding a sweat. Actress Kayal Anandhi in a heroine filler role that does not hold much space for her to perform. Nonetheless, she has done complete justice to her part. Actor Prabhu makes his presence felt with his terrific performance. Actor Sanjay Saravanan has enjoyed playing his part, and garners our attention. Actress Deepa Shankar brings a level of authenticity to her role. Actor Sujatha is effective as usual. Actor Aruldoss makes an impact with his majestic presence and vibrant voice even in a badly written role. Actor Ilavarasu as usual scores with his fantastic performance, and asserts that he is not just configured for the comical character. Actor P L Thenappan serves the purpose for being on screen. Actor Shaji Chen is functional. The rest of the cast has delivered what was asked of them.
On the technical front, music director Justin Prabhakaran’s songs do not last in our memory for long. But he more than makes up for the lost ground with his excellent background score that aids in elevating the underlying mood in respective scenes. Cinematographer Vetrivel Mahendran’s frames are splendid. His lighting is a treat to the eyes. Editor Lawrence Kishore brings forth his editing dexterity, and enhances the work of his colleague.
On the whole, actor Shanthanu Bhagyaraj’s Raavana Kottam has its heart at the right place but does not strike the right chords to leave a lasting impression.