Review: Ratsasan – Wait for the thrill

As we saw in the trailer and teaser, Ram Kumar’s Ratsasan is all about the plot set around a series of murders by a psycho-killer. But, in its film language, the movie has explored a bigger space and has touched various shades of brutality with a very smart screenplay that keeps us in the grip of tension.
The shrewdness of filmmaker Ram can be seen in every frame of Ratsasan. In one scene, what helps the protagonist Arun (Vishnu Vishal) get the spark to solve a criminal case is a bunch of newspaper clippings he has collected. But, his collection was actually not for his police job. Also, Arun ideates that one has to break the balance in the mindset of the psycho-killer so that he gets demotivated. He follows the same towards the end, and the way he does that is something unexpected and is elegant in filmy language.
It is Vishnu Vishal who makes all that possible on screen. Without him, it would not have been possible for Ram Kumar to bring to life what he had on paper. The actor’s screen presence and his suspicious interpretations as a police personnel organically un-build the conflicts fabricated by the antagonist, ‘Ratsasan’.
What makes it more astonishing was the characterisation of Munishkant Ramadoss and Kali Venkat, the seasoned comedians, doing serious roles quite coherently. Especially, Ramadoss’ two-minute act, standing between Arun and an Ambassador car, is one epic scene the actor could look back after years and recall doing the role of a lifetime.
However, in its narrative, the film is an amalgamation of stereotypes and contemporary moments. So, it becomes very difficult to judge and come to a conclusion about the movie before it breaks for interval. For instance, we might feel like what is going to be the surprise in buying a scientific calculator when a father gives it to his daughter. Though Ram has tried to make a justification with a similar ‘surprise’ moment by the same father, we still find it a bit inefficient.
There were many such instances in Ratsasan, that do not deliver the actual ethos of what the director wanted them to have. One among those is the cliched ‘fall-in-love-instantly’ affair. When we are already feeling restless due to the previous scenes, this romance number popping out of nowhere makes us feel more disturbed. Though the song, as a stand-alone rendition, is feel-good, it does not have relevance in the middle of a serious narration. But Ghibran, in his background score, does a legitimate treatment of a horror-dominated script. Having given the idea of a psycho-killer who also is a pianist, we see the movie’s title font and the theme music for the antagonist set with some spine-chilling notes of a piano.
Arun on his way to find out the ‘Ratsasan’ also throws light on the safety of girls in society, which will be an emotional selling point of the movie. He has his own justifications for punishing a molester and he does not even care about the system he belongs to. For this, Ram has developed his character in a very articulate fashion, as we see him on the first day of work letting a mom and daughter free after knowing the reason for their arrest. He is always shown as a realist, especially in the scene where he asks standing in the middle of the classroom, whether the girls use a mobile that, too, in front of their teacher. There is a silent reasoning behind this as well.
The dilemma we have when watching this movie – whether to take this seriously or not – persists until the reason for the serial killings is shown in the movie. After that, the cat-and-mouse chase between Arun and the Ratsasan becomes rational and engages us till the end. So, if you are ready to stay patient and take a keen look at the details of the screen, till Ram sets the premise, Ratsasan is going to be a thrilling journey for you.

Santhosh Mathevan