Ranganayaki Movie Review: An honest film that holds up a mirror to society
Director Dayal Padmanabhan delivers a convincing story about sexual assault but it could have been more gripping
With Ranganayki, director Dayal Padmanabhan intends to send out a strong message on the subject of sexual violence against women. In order to do this, he has created a meaningful film based on his own novel, and through this, he explains to the audience the pain and the trauma a rape victim suffers and the aftermath.
The story of Ranganayki revolves around the titular character played by Aditi Prabhudeva, a music teacher living by herself in an apartment. She is a happy-go-lucky independent woman who finds a life partner in Mahadev (Trivikram), a teacher in the same school. Just when Rangayanayaki dreams of a new beginning, she faces a horrific ordeal at the hands of the people she had least expected to put her through such trauma. Instead of getting dejected, she determines to fight back. The film puts forth that it is only on their own strength that the victims of sexual assault can find their path to healing.
There is also a parallel story of Jhansi (Lasya), a colleague of Ranganayaki who is subjected to sexual violence in her family, which leads her to take an extreme step.
The subject takes us back to the Nirbhaya case of 2012, and other such incidents. It explores what a rape survivor’s first step should be, and how she can go about fighting all odds.
The director has explored the survivor’s angle in Ranganayaki (Virginity Volume 1), which also highlights issues around virginity and how it is viewed by society.
Dayal Padmanabhan has managed to give us a convincing story about a sensitive topic, but it gets very predictable at times. With a little more homework and research, the film would have had a better impact. The first half takes off slow, but by intermission, it picks up pace.
Aditi Prabhudeva, who takes the centre stage as the female protagonist, adds a lot of value to this film and gives a hard-hitting insight into the pain and trauma faced by a woman who is sexually assaulted.
The neatly-packed dialogues by Naveen Krishna, and the performances of Trivikram, Srinivas MG and Lasya ably support the film. One of the scenes that stands out is when a policeman questions Ranganayaki about her confidence in attending a party with only men in attendance, and she replies, "It is the same confidence that women constables get while working in a station full of men."
The last lines in the courtroom, delivered by Suchendra Prasad, about how a child is born, gets us applauding.
Ranganayaki shows a clear mirror to society and is an honest attempt by Dayal Padmanabhan, but it could have been a lot more gripping.