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Movie Review: Ramana (2002) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 84%%84%% 84% (98 votes)
Movie Still Ramanaa belongs to the genre of movies where the protagonist pursues his own path, that is not entirely lawful, in order to rid society of corruption. Perhaps because the subject of corruption is something we are familiar with and weary of, movies like this, that deal with its elimination, entertain us by virtue of giving us a hero and a cause to cheer about. Ramanaa too is very entertaining and with its strong message, fast pace, twists, turns and thrills, it keeps us absorbed throughout. It is definitely a step up for director Murugadoss, who previous movie Dheena was also entertaining but could be termed socially irresponsible with its glorification of a rowdy and his violent lifestyle.

The most noticeable aspect of Ramanaa is the change of pace it represents for Vijayakanth with respect to his recent movies. Here, he is neither a policeman nor a well-respected village elder, his two most staple roles. He doesn't sing any duets in garish costumes or perform fights with leaps, twirls and other physically impossible stunts. There are no longwinded, political dialogs or songs praising him and his usually strategically-placed fan club flag does not appear in even a single frame. It is a role that is more befitting his age and, therefore more easy to accept him in. While one is not sure yet whether this is a single occurrence or the beginning of a trend, the movie does represent a good choice for him at this stage in his career.

Ramanaa(Vijayakanth) is a professor at National College. But he is also the head of an Anti Corruption Force, that aims to eliminate corruption from society. Members of the force kidnap the 15 most corrupt employees from every government department and then kill the most corrupt among them. While this gradually succeeds in lessening corruption in all departments, the police is left scratching their heads about the details of the group. Only a constable(Yugi Sethu), investigating the group on his own, manages to find more details about them. Meanwhile, the dadas, whose income has been affected by this lack of corruption, are determined to bring it back. So Ramanaa kidnaps 15 of them only to find out that the most corrupt among them Bhadrinarayanan(Vijayan) was the one who led to the start of his crusade in the first place.

Ramanaa does not deviate from the trajectory of previous entries like Indian and Samurai in the genre. It contains a hero who daringly executes strikes designed to strike terror into the hearts of the corrupt and gives him a tragic past to form the basis for his crusade. It also has a policeman, who comes up with all the right answers, hot on his trail but the policeman doesn't zero in on him until it is time for the movie to end. It is to the credit of the taut screenplay that we are able to overlook such similarities. The movie never appears to be too far-fetched and is fast-paced. More importantly, it contains no unnecessary diversions like comedy or duets. Also noticeable are director Murugadoss' directorial touches(like the scene Vijayakanth is watching on TV when the policemen swear to apprehend him).

The plan of kidnapping the 15 most corrupt employees and executing the most corrupt among them is clever and the logic behind it appears to make sense too. At the same time, director Murugadoss adds small differences to each of the kidnappings to ensure that we are not bored by too many similar-looking incidents. The scene where the employees clamor to provide proof that they have accepted the most bribes is one where the director proves that he can convey his message with a touch of humor too. The kidnappings are intercut with Yugi Sethu's investigation and though simplistic at a few places(like the source of the idea to check the colleges of the people on his list), it has enough cleverness to keep us involved.

The link to Vijayakanth's past is brought in smoothly through the incident at the hospital. Though seeming a little exagerrated, this incident is one of the high points of the movie. It is clever and will have everyone who feels that he has been gouged by private hospitals, cheering. The flashback is short but effective enough to provide a valid reason for the extent of Vijayakanth's war on corruption. His monologue at the end makes several nice points we can't deny. The climax itself is sober and realistic and Murugadoss can be applauded for not giving in to the usual temptation to offer a feel-good ending (especially considering that it is a Vijayakanth movie).

Vijayakanth performs the role with the seriousness it deserves. New face Ashima is chirpy to begin with but has little to do as the movie proceeds. Simran appears in a brief cameo as Vijayakanth's wife in the flashback. Though the role itself offers no scope for emoting, the way the character ends is enough to make it unforgettable. Vijayan, who seems to be making a comeback of sorts with roles in three high-profile movies(Run and Five Star were the other two) is an easily detestable villain. Ilaiyaraja once again proves his mettle in the background score, especially during the kidnapping sequences.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam