Director: Dharani Dharan
Cast: Shirish Sharavanan, Chandni Tamilarasan, Anupama Kumar
Composer: Yuvan Shankar Raja
For Raja Ranguski to work, it needed a broader sense of purpose than just wanting to be a thriller that springs a suspense in every frame. It does that to a certain extent, but they remain surprises only on paper. It’s aspirational in a way; you could see that the director tries in earnest to tick all the boxes that would make a thriller. Director Dharani Dharan wants it to be pacy, wild, unpredictable – but thanks to the never-ending twists, in a strange warp of comprehension, the film does what you begin to recognise as its normal. That’s how brilliantly wired our brains are: Offer it a pattern, and in this case, something seemingly erratic as a set of disparate plot elements, and it soon has them logically assembled – an order of events that are stripped to the skeleton, and then rearranged to form a coherent whole. Bonus, you also get a hunch, a gut feeling of what’s to happen next. It’s behavioral sequencing; an algorithm that the brain designs and begins using as soon as it’s able to process visual stimuli.
In the case of Raja Ranguski, there’s a murder in a lone villa – the victim, an elderly woman, seems to have known both protagonists – a cop (Shirish Sharavanan as Raja) and a writer (Chandni Tamilarasan as Ranguski). The protagonists are in love, some of the earlier scenes seek to establish a dreary romance: The cop goes about realising his unrequited love by inventing a creepy phone stalker; the writer is a willing participant. Or so we are told. When Raja is suspected of criminal involvement in the homicide, he methodically goes about destroying evidence. Obviously, we are not given to wonder if he would have – that’s just plain as day – but in the hunt for the killer, the film props up quite a few improbable suspects before the big reveal.
But by now, you quite know that the killers are always the ones that seem unlikely to kill. To that end, Dharani Dharan tries to make his seem as innocuous as possible, the effort shows. Of course, there’s no instant spark of recognition, but as the film flows, and the twists and the false alarms pile up, your gaze falls on someone who is miraculously ignored, a conveniently engineered oversight, till the climax. But the director is still discontent, and in a bid to add more layer to the thriller, fashions yet another surprise – something you don’t quite guess, but is underwhelming all the same. It seems to have struck Dharani Dharan too; after all, killers need a telling past; the audience needs to care and be acquainted with the ways and wiles of his antagonist. This afterthought makes for some hastily-crafted imagery, with undertones of drama that come across as just that.
The relief in the proceedings arrive in the form of a mildly funny power struggle between a sub-inspector and his superior – the scenes are chuckle-worthy, there are scattered laughs, but none last longer than a second. Soon, even this sequence turns grows old: The bumbling SI is sure to goof up, you think. He doesn’t disappoint, but at this point, even the thought of predicting the next frame turns boring; you just want this over with – and quick.
The Raja Ranguski review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.