Traffic Ramasamy: A biopic we could have done without
Biopics either trace the entire length of the character's life or stick to showing defining moments of the character. Director Vicky has chosen the latter.
There is an interesting scene in the first half of Traffic Ramasamy that almost summarises the film. Ramasamy has just been subjected to police brutality for three straight nights and after arguing and winning his case in the court, he returns home. On the way, he makes a stop at a textile shop to buy new clothes so as to hide his bruises. As he exits the lift to enter his house, the door starts closing before he gets out and he doesn't even have the strength to stop the lift from closing. So much so that it hits him not once but twice, before he can put a foot forward. That he believes he can dress his wounds up and keep from being exposed is in a sense what the director is also trying to do with this film.
Cast: SA Chandrasekhar, Rohini, JK Rithiesh
Biopics usually follow one of two patterns -- they either go the Mahanati route and try to trace the entire length of the character's life or go the Jobs route and stick to showing defining moments of the character. Director Vicky has chosen the latter route for this biopic, but to call the film a biopic of this variety is almost doing injustice to all the good ones that have been made. One can appreciate the intent behind making a film such as Traffic Ramasamy, especially in these politically charged times. But for such a film to stay on in the public conscience, it is imperative that it be well-written and properly executed, which is unfortunately not the case here.
Scenes where SA Chandrasekhar gets beaten, while not as visceral as those in Visaaranai, still make you uncomfortable and wince a bit. But in contrast are the court scenes that get increasingly unintentionally funny. The court is the most hallowed ground in the life of Traffic Ramasamy -- the place where he has waged and won many a battle for the public. Contempt of court gets a new meaning in the way the court is depicted in this film, what with Ambika, a presiding judge, ordering food before the argument begins and asking a child to use the gavel to control the proceedings. There's also the ridiculousness of her using an AK47 to scare away the people who try to bribe her for a favourable judgement. Imagine being so self-righteous in a film whose director cuts away to an item number just after a fatal accident.
A film that asks the youth to become politically active needs to have not just its heart, but also its mind in the right place. With such blatant disregard to the courts which gave Traffic Ramasamy his accolades, one wonders if what will actually stay on in the minds of viewers are the bruises one gets for protesting rather than the victory that comes from protesting. That is a disservice not just to the firebrand activist but also to the wonderful medium of cinema that has been used as a tool to convey political messages.