Raame Aandalum Raavane Aandalum is satire without a sting

Director Arisil Moorthy makes his intentions clear in the opening scene of Raame Aandalum and Vellayan. The writer starts asking for details, but then a few political subordinates come to complain about the MLA’s missing dog. He offers to find it at the earliest, but when the naive Kunnimuthu tells him to find his cops, he throws his weight around and orders the poor guy to leave the station. The law is not the same for everyone, and an MLA’s dog is more important than a poor man’s cops!

And for a while nobody seems to understand the plight of Kunnimuthu and his wife Veerayi (Ramya Pandian, good). They live in Poocheri, a village that is so backward in development that later in the film a character wonders if it is outside of India. They may be poor, but so far they have lived a contented life in which Vellayan and Karuppan are the focus. Where others see only a few cops, they see two children. While Kunnimuthu and his friend Mannthinni (Vadivel Murugan alias YouTuber Kodangi, who illuminates the first half with his jokes to be turned into the background scenery in the second half) are unhappy looking for the cops, the director shows us why the animals are him Couple so dear in simple but effective flashbacks.

But halfway through the film, Kunnimuthu is pushed into the background of his own story. After teasing us with sight gags and throwaway lines on contemporary politics (“Engineering paditha parotta master thevai” reads a board in a scene), the film becomes a full-blown, outspoken satire, when the protagonist Narmatha (Vani Bhojan, appropriate), a TV journalist. At first the satire feels amusing and in places even entertaining, but you also get the distinct feeling that the filmmaker is content with low-hanging fruits to make his point clear. So we get a Seeman-like politician who plays identity politics, a peasant leader who drives an Audi and transforms himself into a simple costume in public, a broadcaster who changes politics in the blink of an eye, journalists who only have a story and not people and so forth. But all of this just feels too familiar and the bite is missing. From Ace In The Hole to Peepli Live, we’ve seen this in movies, so storytelling doesn’t feel really fresh. In fact, the film opts for a happy ending that feels tasteless and dishonest given its cynical portrayal of the powerful.

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