Fails to impress!
Raavana Kottam (Tamil)
- Cast: Shanthnu Bhagyaraj, ‘Ilaya Thilagam’ Prabhu, Ilavarasu, Anandhi, Sanjay Saravanan, Deepa Shankar, Aruldoss, and Thenappan
- Direction: Vikram Sugumaran
- Producers: Kannan Ravi
- Music: Justin Prabhakaran
- Runtime: 2 hours 2 minutes
Director Vikram Sugumaran, best known for having delivered the critically-acclaimed action entertainer Madha Yaanai Koottam (A Herd of Mad Elephants, 2013), returns with another intense drama titled Raavana Kottam (Raavana’s Territory).
However, Raavana Kottam lacks on several counts and is nowhere close to what Madha Yaanai Koottam does, especially in terms of standard or class.
The story, which takes place in the arid regions of the Ramnad district, is a heady mix of caste, politics and corporate affairs and a little bit of romance thrown in to spice up the concoction.
While the film has quite a few pertinent points to make, none of them is told forcefully enough to make it to the core.
As a result, what that does is it makes Raavana Kottam come across as just another run-of-the-mill movie that talks about how politicians divide those living peacefully to gain entry into a region that had been keeping them out.
Bose (Prabhu) of Melatheru village and Chitravel (Ilavarasu) of Keezhatheru village are two close friends living in peace.
Their sons Sengu (Shanthanu Baghyaraj) and Madhimaran (Sanjay Saravanan), too, are good friends and consider each other family.
Harmony reigns in both these villages — located adjacent to one another — primarily because of two factors.
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One, the inhabitants have made it a point not to allow politicians or political parties to enter their territories. The second and most important factor is that both Bose and Chitravel are the heads of their respective villages.
Thanks to their friendship and a good understanding of each other’s mindset, any dispute or concern is promptly resolved without letting it escalate into a conflict.
However, this harmony is something that hasn’t been to the liking of politicians from the ruling party who have been looking to gain a foothold in the region.
In particular, Minister Rasakannu (Thenappan) — a seasoned politician and a master at playing political games — is miffed that his party hasn’t been able to make inroads in the region.
Rasakannu knows that his party does not stand a chance as long as Bose and Chitravel remain friends. He assigns the task of sowing discord between the two sides to the local MLA (Aruldoss).
The MLA employs a mischief-monger with a vicious tongue and a manipulative mind to achieve the result.
The mischief-monger gets to work. He realises that sowing discord between the two elders will be impossible but realises that their sons can be manipulated and pitted against one another.
How he does it is what Raavana Kottam is all about.
இன்று முதல் உங்களுடையது 🤎
A lot of blood sweat tears & struggle in search of only hope to win 🙏🏻#RaavanaKottam from today #KannanRavi @VikramSugumara3 @DoneChannel1 @teamaimpr @CtcMediaboy pic.twitter.com/6V3Rm550hK
— Shanthnu இராவண கோட்டம் (@imKBRshanthnu) May 12, 2023
Poor narration plays spoilsport
Director Vikram Sugumaran looks to add value to his story by giving details of why politicians are so interested in gaining access to the region.
Corporates, we are told, have found the region to be rich in certain mineral deposits. However, the locals won’t allow them to set up mines and extract the minerals as that would sound like the death knell to irrigation.
To vacate the locals, the corporates employ politicians to ensure that the “Seemai Karuvela” (the Gum Arabic plant) — known for draining precious groundwater and leaving the land barren — is planted and protected.
“Seemai Karuvela” plants being used by corporates to make the land barren, thereby forcing farmers in the region to voluntarily vacate their villages must have been the crux of this story.
However, how the story is narrated makes this point come across as just another detail in the film. It makes the most substantial point of the movie get muddied and lost in several other irrelevant developments.
Period rural action movie #RaavanaKottamfromTomorrow
— Team AIM (@teamaimpr) May 11, 2023
Shanthnu Bhagyaraj comes up with an impressive performance as do Prabhu as Bose and Ilavarasu as Chitravel.
Sanjay Saravanan as the strong but naive Madhimaran also comes up with a neat performance.
What stands tall in Raavana Kottam is its music by Justin Prabhakaran.
The excellent background score does wonders for the plot and lifts several sequences that might have come across as ordinary.
Despite having the potential to make it big, Raavana Kottam fails to impress.
(Views expressed are personal.)