Raajavamsam Movie Review: A tepid family drama that flatters to deceive
Raajavamsam prefers sticking to a tried and tested template that just ends up being tired and wasted
At one point in Raajavamsam, a stroke of ingenuity is seen when a character, after hearing Kannan (Sasikumar) wax eloquently about his 44-member family, says, “30 Vikraman padam paatha maadhri irukku.” With many filmmakers assuming family entertainers should have a BIG family at the centre of it all, the dialogue felt like a meta-reference to this trend. But then, soon after, it is clear that this self-awareness was a one-off thing, and Raajavamsam prefers sticking to a tried and tested template that just ends up being tired and wasted.
Cast: Sasikumar, Nikki Galrani, Sumithra, Yogi Babu
Raajavamsam is basically a joint-family-glorification-PSA-meets-climate-change film. These two worlds are bridged together by the presence of Sasikumar’s Kannan and Nikki Galrani’s Gayathri, who are colleagues at an IT company. Just like how many of our world leaders sidestep the idea of climate change, director Kathirvelu too doesn’t really spend too much delving into global warming. It is all about the family, and this unflinching attention on them proves to be Raajavamsam’s biggest undoing. Watching things unfold, one can’t help but think why this particular joint family is exalted by everyone in the town. Do they beat any odds to remain the way they are? Nope. Are they a family that turns up against any social evil in their town? Nope. Are they really the strength of the hero when he faces a bunch of obstacles? Well… nope again. So… why are they exalted by the town? Is being part of a family that doesn’t really argue or fight or has ANY disagreements that exciting a prospect? Anyway, the characters are so one-note and forgettable that despite the presence of seasoned actors like Thambi Ramaiah, Rekha, Nirosha, Singampuli, and Manobala, none, I repeat… none of the scenes leave an impact. Raajavamsam essentially becomes an assembly line of tropes being doled out one after the other.
However, it isn’t all grim with Raajavamsam as some of the scenes did have the potential to go someplace. I particularly liked some of the subversions that are placed in the Nikki Galrani character arc, especially the interval sequence. Even some of the attempts at comic scenes between Nikki and Sasikumar work due to the earnestness of the actors. While Nikki does a convincing job of bringing in some freshness into a stereotype, Sasikumar establishes his “city-guy” credentials. He does enough to avoid being bracketed as not fitting in an urban setting. Some of the city portions do work because Sasikumar and Co do enough to keep things moving on. However, when the scenes fall flat, they do so in a spectacular fashion that negates even the little goodness in the other portions. Take, for instance, the scenes featuring Yogi Babu and Sathish. If the former comes up with easily one of his weakest works to date, the latter’s one-liners are more infuriating than funny. It is time to move past treating MeToo as a punchline or saying lines like “Sunny Leone ke saree vaangi kuduthavaru” or calling someone “Gayle thangachi” etc… What would have just been a generic scene turns into an offensive one. So why go out of the way to make things worse than it already is?
Since the joint family setting doesn't really provide any solid conflict, we are left with a bunch of “corporate criminals” to do the needful, and they just don’t work. In fact, Sasikumar’s family does more damage to him than the villains. Basically, when we watch a “family entertainer” like Raajavamsam, the predominant takeaway is to either feel nostalgic about the kind of families we had or hope we get to be in a family like that. But, if joint families are like anything that we see in Raajavamsam, then we are just better off finding the beauty in loneliness.