Raja Rani

Raja Rani

3.8 3,297 Ratings

Directed by : Atlee Kumar

Release Date :

  • Critics Rating 3.0/5
  • MJ Rating 2.5/5
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Verdict

“Raja Rani is a refreshingly simple and entertaining romance with seasoned performances and a convincing script. Worth a watch.”

Raja Rani Credit & Casting

Arya

Raja Rani Audience Review

Flash news: There is Life after Love

| by Prashanth M |
Rated 2.0 / 5
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Since most people have made up their mind and are going to watch this film anyway, I'm going to indulge myself and get occasionally spoilery here. 

 

I can see why everyone is truly loving "Raja Rani" or is at least willing to give it a free pass. I really do. It is an easy film to like. It is a very good looking film filled with some very good looking people. I will totally understand if you say you felt nice watching it. We are so bereft of such movies that people have instantly lapped it up without thinking twice. Even some random movie in Hindi, like, say "Kismat Konnection", has amazing production value. It makes me jealous how Hindi film industry has reached a place where pretty, instagrammed visuals is a more of a norm. I do not wish to belittle the film's achievement. I am sure it is really hard to achieve a particular look for a film and I am happy Atlee has made the movie he set out to make. But it is all style and very little substance.

 

"Raja Rani" is one rare Tamil film with a trailer that actually reveals something about the movie. Actually, it reveals a bit too much, because, thematically, there's little else going on here besides what we see in the trailer. While I appreciate the lack of pretension of being something more, I am also disappointed by how it gives us so little to chew on. One thing I was mildly curious to see was how Atlee had structured the film. I am a silly optimist and I have this tendency to expect intelligent narrative style from young filmmakers. Even though it is predictable, I didn't mind that the film started with the wedding. What bugs me is how lazily the back stories are woven into the whole story. Calling the post-marital portion the "whole story" is not even the right way to describe it considering how little runtime it gets.

 

27 years ago, Mani Ratnam made this little movie called "Mouna Ragam" which I'm assuming not many of the people who are loving "Raja Rani" have seen. I watched the film only recently so I could read Rangan's "Conversations with Mani Ratnam". I am the guy who had a major problem with Mouna Ragam's railway station climax. For all I know, Mani Ratnam was the first Indian filmmaker to use the now notorious cliche. It's just that I had seen it so often, I had trouble buying it. It was superbly staged and had Revathy saying that legendary, "Vetkathai vittu kekren.." line. Now here comes a movie which is so happy to use the convenient cliche and doesn't even bother to at least do a spin on it. It solely leads to the punchline where John and Regina say that which their respective one time lovers said to them. I agree it's a decent line but the setting is so hackneyed that I couldn't really care.

 

Ratnam told Rangan how Karthik's character was not even a part of the first draft of the film's script. Ratnam felt he had to add the backstory so audience wouldn't find Divya's actions bizarre. Nearly three decades ago, this man had the good sense to see how the film would have been better without the backstory. Now what have got here? A film with paper thin marital drama and even more redundant flashbacks. But I understand one cannot tell a story about "Life after Love" without showing the previous relationships in some capacity. What I wish Atlee had done instead is come up with some more compelling reason for the husband and wife to fall for each other. What kind of a reason is "I want to fall in love with you because I really enjoyed listening about your previous relationship"?

 

I found Regina and Surya's story easier to like for two reasons. It had Jai playing a guy with "bayanda subhavam" - someone I could partially relate to. The other reason being Sathyaraj, who is unbelievably cool here. I cannot believe it is the same guy who was in movies like "Amaithipadai" and "Walter Vetrivel". That's one of the joys of cinema, isn't it? Seeing a veteran actor rediscover himself at this stage of his career. His conversations with his daughter are the only parts I wholeheartedly loved. The scene where he visits his daughter for the first time after her wedding (why, yes, another Mouna Ragam riffage) and he sees through her act is good because of him.

 

Regina waiting all day outside Registrar Office for Surya to show up ( *cough* Mouna Ragam *cough*) is all very filmy and I am a sucker for that stuff. In spite of being generally unimpressed with most part of the movie, there were a few lines which I liked a lot. A tearful John saying "Cha, semma love 'nga" after Regina tells him about her life with Surya is one such moment. Another was Regina telling her father, "Nee shave pannu, naa kalyanam pannikren." How I wish the writing was always this good.

 

To give an example about the bad writing I just mentioned, let's discuss the other love story. Literally nothing is good about the Keerthana-John relationship. Save me the trouble of going into detail because I hope you too realize that it sucked entirely. Once we are told that Keerrthana is an orphan, we learn that there's no roadblock in their romance. Along with that comes another obvious realization that something is going to run over her; the only question that remains is what kind of vehicle it is going to be. It's a painfully forced tragedy.

 

Do we go to movies seeking a life lesson? Because "Raja Rani" is handing them out by the dozens. Every lead character, even Santhanam, has something heavy to say about how one should lead their life. All this advice sounds like it is directed at the audience and not at the characters they're talking to. Which I suspect might have been the intention all along.