Raatchasi movie review: A preachy, predictable premise is rescued by Jyotika

Sigh. He puts her on a ‘Superstar’ pedestal. If only it happened in reality. This story places a lot of importance on the backdrop—school. Gowthamraj may have had good intentions, but what they are, is not obvious from what is on screen. His scattered approach to storytelling, with detours, is a huge letdown. We never get into Geetha Rani’s head and see the decisions she takes. You get Geetha’s intentions. It is not only because she shoulders the entire film, but also does stunts like Vijayakanth, quite literally. Films need not be preachy or have a message. Take the scene where Jyotika’s character converses with Suseela (a severely underutilised Poornima Bhagyaraj) for the first time. 0
Comment(s) When the director wrote the film, I believe he just thought of three characters and weaved the script around a wafer-thin plot. We could predict there is definitely something between them, but the way it has been dealt with in the forthcoming sequences was disappointing. Geetha evokes a gentle smile. One—the “hero” (Jyotika), the other, the antagonist (Hareesh Peradi), and—third, the backdrop. I am not saying it is a bad thing—but for the ‘message-heavy’ film that it is—Raatchasi has little impact. Geetha Rani is a disciplinarian, no-nonsense woman and wants to “fix things and cleanse the system”. Hey, but actually not. Likewise, Raatchasi follows many threads and none of them is satisfactorily explored. It is ‘that’ ordinariness of the character which resonates with the audience always. Raatchasi could have been a better film if the director understood the screenplay and characters were as important as ‘messages’. It is also this ‘karuththu padam’ (message film) where you get one ‘moral lecture’ after another, resulting in a nugget of wisdom. Everything is perfect about the film and it’s so pissing off. Raatchasi oscillates between the story that Gowthamraj wanted to tell and Jyotika’s “ideal” image. She encourages students, dismantles all barriers and binds them. I wonder why suddenly Jyotika went into an action mode and the result wasn’t satisfactory. The story revolves around headmistress Geetha Rani (Jyotika), who transforms a poorly-run Government school into a model institution that people look up to. Advertising

Raatchasi is the kind of film that every parent or teacher would love to watch. How does it feel when this child asks a 30-something woman, “Ungala naan ponnu paaka varattuma?” It’s not funny at all. I would have liked the film more if Jyotika was portrayed as an ordinary person with flaws, instead of a superwoman with extraordinary dreams. It is clear Gowthamraj is a fanboy of Jyotika. She even lunches with a group of students and insists them to call her “Geetha”. The moment the plot kicks off, the lines are clear. It is unfortunate to see kids not behaving like kids. Advertising

Class II student Kathir crushes on Geetha, proposes to her and asks for her hand in marriage. Undoubtedly, Jyotika exuberates confidence and has grown into a more mature actor but it is high time she consistently picked good filmmakers. You may wonder why I referred to Jyotika as “the hero”. It’s supposed to be one of those “harmless cute things”, right? It’s enough if filmmakers are honest in their intent and creative in their expression. Raatchasi doesn’t convey anything new to the audience but simply discusses issues that were highlighted in Saattai and Pallikoodam—how the Government schools are unable to give quality education to a large section of the population. He hands over a paper that has a drawing of her face and sneaks away. I would have been okay if those fight sequences were necessary, but they were not.