Renigunta takes the route that is most familiar and popular these days by narrating a tragic, violent
story that unfolds in tough surroundings. But it manages to squeeze something new out of this familiar
formula by virtue of the characters, who are much younger than the average heroes.
Sakthi(Johny) sees his parents killed before his own eyes but when he goes to take revenge on the rowdy
who did the deed, it is he who is sent off to jail because of the rowdy's connections. He meets Pandi(Nishant),
Dabba(Ganesan) , Mari(Thamizh) and Michael(Sandeep), who help him escape and also get his revenge. The five
take the train with the intention of moving to Mumbai but end up in Renigunta instead, where they are recruited
by a man who knew them in the past. Sakthi also meets a deaf and dumb girl(Sanusha), who makes him yearn for
a more normal life.
Renigunta adds a twist on the now-familiar tale of an ordinary youth being unwillingly pulled into a
life of violence by making the protagonist a young man who still hasn't bid goodbye to his teens. The template -
the act of violence that instills the need to get revenge, the strong friendships that develop, the induction into
an alien lifestyle, the romance that makes him dream of better things - is faithfully followed. But the fact that
he is a youngster(rather than an older man played by an even older hero) makes him earn our sympathy even more.
The fact that he is a reluctant killer who was forced into this life because of circumstances also makes him
a sympathetic figure and this is maintained till the very end.
The film follows the popular trend these days by keeping things dark and depressing and painting a rather grim
picture of life. There is hardly a character to be found that is not bad or when good, is not in some sort of
trouble. Not surprisingly Sanusha leads a threatened life too as her elder sister is being pimped out by her own
husband and she is in danger of being forced into the same profession. The romance between Johny and Sanusha is
quiet and low-key as befits their lives but manages to be believable just because of that. The little humor there
is is also of the dark variety as the boys casually talk about murder or threaten a TTE on the train.
It is by now a familiar tack in this genre to make the protagonists dream of something better and then bring
their hopes crashing down and Renigunta does the same. The wonderful scene where Sanusha visits the
boys understandably lays the foundation for their attempts to escape their current life and her situation
adds urgency to these attempts. Again, the fact that these boys actually have their whole lives ahead of
them if they manage to escape lends more seriousness to their efforts to flee. Like in
Yogi, the end here too doesn't come as much of a surprise but still makes an impact,
especially because of the final shot and what it means.
Johny fits the bill as the quiet boy who is never comfortable with the life he is forced to lead. Sanusha
looks innocent enough to earn our sympathy and sweet enough to make her romance with Johny feel cute.
Johny's four friends have been selected well too. Ganesan earns many laughs as the wisecracking boy while
Nishant and Sandeep come off as more calm and understanding.