When you look at the heavily clichéd and goodness overloaded structure of a movie like Kadaikkutty Singham and also find out that it was a humongous success in the Tamil Nadu box office, one thing becomes very clear; there is that B and C center audience who just love watching that village drama with a worthy hero who stands by the existing morals and values. Even though it wasn’t his best work in my opinion, what Vetrimaran did successfully in his last outing Asuran was that he communicated his political statement to an audience who should see that movie, rather than a niche audience who raves about his craft. Ka Pae Ranasingam starring Vijay Sethupathi and Aishwarya Rajesh is one movie that tries to talk about political reality by using an established successful genre. But the movie is excruciatingly long and the good-at-heart part along with an earnest performance of Aishwarya Rajesh are the only things that don’t make me hate this film.
SPOILER ALERT! The core element of this movie has something that’s not revealed in the trailer, so this paragraph will have some major spoilers. Ranasingam and Ariyanachi are our central characters. Ranasingam who used to earn a living by helping people find the spot in their land where the groundwater flow is high goes to the Middle East after his marriage with Ariyanachi. But unfortunately, he lost his life from there and Ariyanachi was informed that she will have to spend a lot of money to get Ranasingam’s body. In a nutshell, Ka Pae Ransigam is Ariyanachi’s struggle with the corrupt system to get the body of her husband.
When I checked the Wikipedia page of the movie I found this information that it was initially planned as a female-centric low budget movie starring Aishwarya Rajesh and things got scaled up when Vijay Sethupathi got roped in to play an extended cameo-like-role of Ranasingam. In my honest opinion, Vijay Sethupathi coming into the project might have helped the movie financially, but creatively it only worsened this movie. The length of this movie is almost 3 hours! And almost an hour of that is invested in showing us who Ranasingam is, the kind of bonding he shares with Ariyanachi, etc. This additional writing might have helped the movie if it was released in B and C theaters as we see Ranasingam becoming an action hero and a Namma Veettu Pillai in that phase. But for an OTT release, Ranasingam is a burden for the movie. P Virumaandi’s writing for the movie also lacks conviction. The fight for justice of Ariyanachi escalates like the journey of an athlete as she goes to the district level, state level, national level, and even to a diplomatic level. Even though we really feel for the character for her struggle, the writing isn’t helping her in establishing her tough journey.
I would say this is a movie single-handedly taken to a likable zone by Aishwarya Rajesh. While everything around her was so typical, she manages to add life to this character with sincerity. Her anger and despair on-screen felt real. Even in an extremely illogical scene where the PM talks to her, it is her depiction of the character that is making us ignore the banal nature of the writing. Vijay Sethupathi plays a character that is somewhat in his comfort zone. The movie is interested only in that “Makkal Selvan” persona of the actor rather than offering him something challenging. Rangaraj Pandey who played the role of the collector delivered a convincing performance and it was an interesting role of a man who has some kind of empathy and at the same time was a slave of the system.
P Virumaandi’s basic thought for the story and also the fact that he doesn’t want to give it an escapist closure was indeed nice. But his way of fleshing out this story was tedious and predictable. He is not really building layered moments to show the struggle of the character. This isn’t really a story where you can play with the lack of logic beyond a level. And what is even more annoying is that it is after taking an awfully long time to set up the story, we are entering the interesting part of this movie, which is the journey of Ariyanachi. The cinematography uses the landscape of places to mark the emotional tone to an extent.
In my review for Edakkad Battalion, I had mentioned that it was a movie that editing enthusiasts can work on to create a short film from 2-hour long footage. Well in the case of Ka Pae Ranasingam I would say they can use the 3-hour long footage to create an effective 2-hour long movie that follows the inspiring and heartbreaking journey of a wife.
The movie is excruciatingly long and the good-at-heart part along with an earnest performance of Aishwarya Rajesh are the only things that don’t make me hate this film.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended