The survival drama format is always dependent on the backdrop of the main characters and the way they are led to that scenario. The issue with the new Aneesh Anwar film Raastha, which tries out a mini Aadu Jeevitham in its script is that it just can’t develop something that looks organic on screen. With ridiculous decisions of characters making the movie’s entry into the survival drama zone very forced, Raastha’s lame efforts to capitalize on the NRI sentiment just don’t work out.
Faisal is an NRI living in Oman. He works in a company, and he is in love with his colleague Divya. One day, a girl named Shahana comes to Oman in search of her mother, who had to leave the house in Kerala 20 years back. Saleem, the man who offered to help Shahana find her mother asked Faisal to help Shahana during her visit. In the movie, we see the quest for Shahana’s mother and how the gang that went to find that person had to face some devastating events.
Basically, this desert named Rub’ al Khali is the inspiration for the writers to make this movie. It is an inhospitable dangerous desert that has witnessed the death of a lot of people who tried to cross it. So, there is no surprise in such a landscape teasing the filmmaking minds to create a survival thriller based on that area. But in order to reach there, the writing does not take much effort to shape the characters and make us empathize with them when they go through a lot of troubles. A 4 member group is going to a remote location driving 600 km, and at the very end of the day, they have to take a detour to witness a sunset because the most annoying member of the gang convinced them. I mean, why? Such jittery transitions into a core point in the script make the writing look so lazy.
Aneesh Anwar, whose movies always had an extra dosage of melodrama is actually struggling this time to create depth in the emotions of the characters. The script is cluelessly wandering in the first half to reach that desert. The tension they create in the love story of the hero and all the other subplots that are never even mentioned in the second half are all burdening the movie and it is pretty much exposing the shortage of ideas. Once the film entered the second half, which happens entirely in the desert, Raastha had the opportunity to be a true blue survival drama, but with a pile of cliches that we could predict almost at the interval point, the movie fails to create any sort of intrigue. The song towards the end, sung by Sooraj Santhosh, helped the movie a lot to achieve a little bit of heft, but the rest of the songs were forgettable ones with a heavy level of auto-tuning.
Sarjano Khalid, whose dialogue delivery usually ruins the performance, was relatively good in this movie as Faisal. Aradhya Ann, as Faisal’s love interest Divya, is still in the zone of her character in Thaal, and the over-expressive way of showing possessiveness is very difficult to watch. Anagha Narayanan was okay in that one-dimensional sad role. Director Aneesh Anwar has taken up the role of a pointless humor sidekick whose irresponsible suggestion was the reason for everything. If the audience wanting to slap Mujeeb was the scale to measure the performance, then I would say the director has done a brilliant job in acting. Sudheesh, Irshad, TG Ravi, etc., are the other names in the cast.
I won’t even say Raastha is a wasted opportunity. Because, at no point, this movie give you an impression that something we are not expecting or have not seen will happen. With a stretched-out first half that deliberately tries to capitalize on the NRI sentiment and a forcefully created second-half survival story, Raastha ultimately ends up being a creatively lazy product.
With ridiculous decisions of characters making the movie's entry into the survival drama zone very forced, Raastha's lame efforts to capitalize on the NRI sentiment just don't work out.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended