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It takes the right mixture of entertaining features such as interesting narrative, peppy song-and-dance numbers etc for a commercial film to be a blockbuster. But what we are, of late, being passed off with are those made with old and rusty ideas. The latest film joining the run-of-the-mill commercials is Rudhran, directed by producer Kathiresan and featuring Raghava Lawrence and Priya Bhavani Shankar in the lead and also Nasser, Poornima Bhagyaraj, Sarathkumar etc.
Paucity of imagination
Revenge is a theme that has been overused. Yet there have been several Tamil films that have made the most of the theme, bringing innovation and fresh treatment to the story-telling and become big grossers. There have also been also-rans and several duds at the box-office. Raghava Lawrence too, the eponymous hero of the film Rudhran, is shown settling scores with his villains.
The story’s underpinnings — the problem of elderly persons living alone in posh houses, their wards away abroad, and how their mysterious deaths are registered as cases of natural death and their assets usurped by miscreants — has the potential of an edgy thriller that could lend some freshness and sting to the otherwise passé template. But it is left untapped. As a result, the audience turns blasé watching the ingredients of 1980s’ and 1990s’ potboilers replicated as they are.
The director has probably pinned hopes on Rudhran, thinking (mistakenly) that it has everything going for it. But unfortunately, it is the stuff that has been parodied and trolled in TikTok videos, ‘Lollu Sabhas’ episodes and Instagram Reels.
Aside from the story, screenplay and dialogue by Tirumaran, neither does the cinematography by R D Rajasekhar, editing by Antony and music by G V Prakash save Rudhran from being a letdown.
Revenge is a theme that has been overused. Yet there have been several Tamil films which have made the most of the theme, bringing innovation and fresh treatment to the story-telling and become big grossers. There have also been also-rans and several duds at the box-office. Raghava Lawrence too, the eponymous hero of the film Rudhran, is shown settling scores with his villains
The background score by Sam C S has lent life to a few scenes only.
The song ‘Jorthaale’ and the remix of ‘Paadaatha Paatellam’, which appeal to this present generation, have been used in Rudhran, but they don’t relieve the audience of ennui.
Rudhran does not measure up to the rigid demands of a successful commercial film such as Gilli, Ayan, Apoorva Sagodharargal, Thalapathi etc.
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Will Lawrence change?
Raghava Lawrence made his debut in Tamil filmdom as a choreographer through the Ajith-starrer Amarkkalam and as a villain Parthen Rasithen. He played something of a second hero in K Balachander’s film Paarthale Paravasam. After doing the hero’s role in two films — Arputham and Style — he migrated to Tollywood where he directed a couple of films. After an interval, he came back to Tamil through the horror films, Muni and Kanchana, which helped him create a niche in the commercial film world.
Offbeat characters, visuals, songs and soundtrack in his Kanchana series were so weirdly different that they appealed to the audience. He played the possessed hero convincingly, evoking admiration from the audience as he danced and beat the villains ferociously to a pulp. Though ghost stories are an old theme too, the way it was treated in the screenplay felt interesting.
Lawrence’s comedy was childish. When he danced, he seemed to do it mid-air as if defying gravity. When he fought with villains, he appeared majestic. He wooed the heroine with slapstick gestures and lines. Finally all would be well that ended well.
As the audience ranging from adults to kids enjoyed it all, his Kanchana films became hits.
The director has probably pinned hopes on Rudhran, thinking (mistakenly) that it has everything going for it. But unfortunately, it is the stuff that has been parodied and trolled in TikTok videos, ‘Lollu Sabhas’ episodes and Insta reels
But his subsequent films — Sivalinga directed by P Vasu and Motta Shiva Ketta Shiva — again took up the same subject to meet with failures.
Now Rudhran has come, shorn of ghosts and weird features. Without the ghoulish factor, Lawrence’s high-decibel action sequences seem ill-fitting with the overall framework of the film.
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In fact, Lawrence seems to be following in the footsteps of Rajini whose several films have had the same storyline and the same features as Rudhran. But the difference is that Rajini has endeared himself to large audiences with his interesting commercial films. The accolades he got outshone the trolling he was subjected to in the public domain in the past. His was a successful formula. But the catch in this age of social media is that even Ranjini, let alone Raghava Lawrence, cannot attain the same degree of success from the same formula. Realising this fact, Rajini is trying to fit himself into different roles. Simbu, shedding his flair for travelling along the beaten track, has started trying his hand at experimental films such as Maanaadu.
So, Lawrence too had better transform himself into someone different from what he has projected himself to be till now.
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