Ramaleela: An engaging political thriller
Sachi's slick script and Arun Gopy's taut making, combine to make this a thrilling ride that mirrors some aspects of its lead's real life
It's impossible not to gawk at the coincidence Ramaleela shares with the life of its lead actor Dileep. Some sequences are alarmingly similar, and many dialogues look like they were borrowed from real life. The irony, obviously, cannot be missed, since the movie was shot much before the incidents unspooled. And, one with no knowledge of the events might be forgiven for thinking that Ramaleela draws inspiration from the predicament that Dileep has landed in.
Cast: Dileep, Radhika Sarathkumar, Vijayaraghavan
Director: Arun Gopy
Now, let's shift the focus to the reel life of Dileep aka Adv Ramanunni, the feisty and vengeful protagonist. With him as the nucleus, director Arun Gopy spins an engaging and convincing political thriller that entertains the masses.
Certain events in the life of Ramanunni, son of the martyr Raghavan, prompts him to switch sides, from the ruling Communist Democratic Party to the opposition. His crossover doesn't go down well with a few, from both sides, including his mother who is a staunch Communist. As he readies to face another election, Ramanunni's world comes crashing down. In a twist of fate, Ramanunni finds himself in the dock. He then sets out to prove his innocence.
Malayalam films have had their share of political dramas over the years and Ramaleela is no different. The highlight, obviously, is the representation of the protagonist. I specifically refrain from using the word hero because Ramanunni is not your quintessential hero material, nor is he an idealist. Rather, he is a shrewd and calculative man who takes measured steps. When he ditches his party for 'his reasons', we are sceptical. We know his sinister body language and cocky expressions conceal something. Even when he professes his innocence, somehow we aren't convinced.
Ramaleela, the strength of which lies in Sachi's slick script, benefits from its taut making too. The first-half is so tight and racy, that you earnestly wait for the drama to unfold. The characters are established, the ground is set and the narrative picks up the pace when the twist happens. But, in the second half, Ramaleela falters a bit. The conspiracy angle defies logic sometimes, but the climax more than makes up for it.
In a deviation from the usual Dileep films, the actor steps away from slapstick humour. Instead, the mantle rests on Shajohn to add the humour element. As a fellow politician, Shajohn plays his part well. The best part of the movie is the situational humour that blends well into the narrative. With lines that take a dig at the present political scenario, Shajohn leaves the audience in splits. While Radhika Sarathkumar makes an impressive comeback, Vijayaraghavan, Siddique, Prayaga and Mukesh do their bit.
But, it is Arun who walks away with the glory. He displays an acumen very rare for a debutant, and he is here to stay. While there is a chance that debates raging currently may have an effect on the movie's show at the box office, Ramaleela is indeed a thrilling ride.