Raatchasi: This well-intentioned Jyotika film is tedious and preachy

Remember that last scene in Baasha when a defeated Mark Antony sees Manickam striding towards him, and can’t help but see flashes of Baasha, as he once knew him? As Jyotika, playing the role of Geetharani in Raatchasi, delivers supposedly rousing monologues and walks towards the camera, I found myself seeing flashes of Samuthirakani. The latter, after all, has made these pamphlet films his own. They are well-intentioned, but are usually found wanting in cinematic finesse. That Geetharani is a headmistress (headmaster as some loadedly call her), lends to unquestionable authority and more uncontested lectures. She’s come to head a government school in a village called R. Puthur, and it’s gone rogue.

 

It was hard not to be reminded of Aarusaamy as she walks into the school, pretending to be a commoner. She takes in the little details—the school boys smoking cigarettes, the teachers engrossed with their mobile phones, the dilapidated structure of the school (which of course is a metaphor for the health of government schools)—before she gets her mass introduction scene. I liked that the music that heralds her arrival isn’t composer Sean Roldan going berserk, but simply that of a school bell being rung. The bells have rung, and the mythical arrival of the saviour is complete.

For the remainder of this review (and there’s a lot more left, I assure you), please visit https://www.cinemaexpress.com/reviews/tamil/2019/jul/05/raatchasi-movie-review-this-well-intentioned-jyothika-film-is-tedious-and-preachy-jyotika-12767.html

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