Ranga is a film whose director-writer requires lessons—in how not to suffocate the audience!
Last Updated: 06.39 PM, May 13, 2022
Sibiraj in Ranga
Story: Ranga's teaser, which was released in 2019, had Sibi Sathyaraj mouth the line, "En vaazhkai mudinjudhaa illaiyaa-nu mudivu panna vendiyadhu nee illa; naan!" (Only I get to decide if my life is finished; not you.) And, this sets the tone for the rest of the film.
Review: Ranga, a film by Vinod DL, talks about the Alien Hand Syndrome (AHS). The protagonist Aadhi, played by Sibi Sathyaraj, suffers from the same. For the uninitiated, AHS is referred to as a condition, in which, someone's limbs act of their own accord. The person suffering from AHS, sometimes, may reach for things, without wanting to do so. Ranga isn't the first film in Tamil cinema to tell a story, deploying AHS. We had Peechankai (currently available on Zee5) dealing with the same syndrome, but in a comical way. The 2017 film, featuring RS Karthik worked, because of the treatment of the script. Comedy sells any day better if treated with care. But, Ranga fails in this aspect.
Vinod DL wants to tell another story, in parallel; about an organised crime. We get a separate thread about a hang, which is into the business of pornography. The staff at a hotel in Manali keep a camera hidden in the bedroom so that intimate moments of the couple get filmed. Aadhi discovers this racket, when he visits the north, along with his wife, Abhi (Nikhila Vimal). Saying anything more though would be giving away the film.
Like any other survival thriller, the lead cast of Ranga finds themselves caught in an extraordinary situation. The events that unfold after Aadhi and Abhi reach Manali form the story of Ranga. What could otherwise have been an experimental survival thriller falls flat, owing to the bland writing.
Despite gripping performances by Sibi Sathyaraj and Nikhila Vimal, the film doesn't keep you invested. It was also too easy to connect the dots. I am not saying Ranga was a subpar film. But with a little more thought, it could have been way smarter. Throughout the first half, there are double entendre dialogues, lewd jokes and gags—which could have been avoided. Those distasteful 'kai jokes' really got on my nerves!
When a film discusses a sensitive topic like Alien Hand Syndrome, what's the need for testosterone-filled jibes? Scenes involving Manobala, and Shah Ra have little to do with the narrative.
Too many characters enter the plot; their roles are weakly etched. Sibi Sathyaraj does get another chance to bite into a well fleshed out character that requires him to go the extra mile. Although the film has some really good moments few and far between, Ranga makes for a tedious watch.
The set design, the background score, and the cinematography help sustain the mood and feel. Ranga seems to have been heavily inspired by the locations Mani Ratnam shot his iconic, Roja. I simply wish Ranga were at least 15% of what the Arvind Swami-Madhoo starrer was.
Verdict: What may have seemed interesting on paper never really gets translated satisfactorily onto the screen. Ranga has a sloppy screenplay with moments that test one’s sensibility and intelligence.