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Ritu   (2009)  (Malayalam)
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Ritu Review

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Coming from the maker of well-acclaimed films like 'Agnisakshi', 'Akale' and 'Ore Kadal', Rithu has the world of today as the backdrop, and discusses issues related to contemporary life and society. But how far have Shyamaprasad and scenarist Joshua Newtonn been able to do justice to the subject is the moot question. 2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good) Ritu    NOWRUNNING REVIEW | Thomas T (NOWRUNNING)
Critics Rating: |  1 Review
2.5
 2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good) 2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good)  
Audience Rating
3.3
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What exactly was Shyamaprasad trying to deliver? This is the question that bothers us as we leave theatres after seeing his latest offering 'Rithu'. Coming from the maker of well-acclaimed films like 'Agnisakshi', 'Akale' and 'Ore Kadal', Rithu has the world of today as the backdrop, and discusses issues related to contemporary life and society. But how far have Shyamaprasad and scenarist Joshua Newtonn been able to do justice to the subject is the moot question.

'Rithu' is about three friends - Sharath, Sunny and Varsha. They have been the best of friends ever since they were school-kids. Sharath (Nishan) has returned from the U.S after working in the IT sector there for some time, and he is looking up his friends. He wants Varsha (Rima) and Sunny (Asif) to join him on a new project in an IT firm run by Zareena (Jaya Menon). Zareena's husband Balagopal alias Balu (Prakash Menon), who works alongside his wife, is a man of a totally different temperament, unhappy with the way his wife goes madly after material pursuits and being interested in business only.

Sharath is someone who has strayed into the IT sector, much against his dreams and aspirations. He had always wanted to be like his father (K. Govindankutty), an idealist and a writer who translates literary works from Bengali into Malayalam. But his father himself compels Sharath to build a career in IT, acting under an obligation to his son-in-law. As an IT professional, Sharath works hard for Zareena's company.

Sharath wishes to bring back to his and his friends' lives what they had missed in the course of attempting to make it big in their professional careers. He dreams of owning a house by the side of the lake that had been part of their childhood years. Happily settled there, they could all give vent to their creative impulses. But when Varsha, with whom Sharath used to share a romantic kind of relationship before his departure to the U.S, remains aloof from him and is engaged in issues beyond his comprehension, and when Sunny starts behaving like he has never behaved before, things go contrary to Sharath's expectations. Life is destined to take a new turn for them from this point on, and their relationship which was once sweet, strikes a discordant note.

Nishan's performance as Sharath is poor. Rima (Rima Kallingal) emotes well as Varsha, though she could have been better. Asif as Sunny is OK. Among the supporting cast we have Jaya Menon (as Zareena), reputed journalist K. Govindankutty (as Sharath's father), danseuse Kalamandalam Radhika (as Sharath's mother), 'Adayalangal' fame director M.G. Sasi (as Sharath's elder brother Hari) etc. Their performance is passable, but their characters don't sync well with the total fabric of the film. This even hampers the flow of the movie.

Kalamandalam Radhika is of course a fine danseuse who has mastered the nuances of Kathakali and Mohiniyattom. But acting on the silver screen is an entirely different thing and she tends to overdo it at most places. It's the director who has to take blame for this. Manu Jose as Jithu (a colleague of Sharath) and Siddharth as Pranchi (who works first as a cleaner and then as a watchman at the IT complex) are OK. So is Prakash Menon as Balagopal.

Shyamaprasad and Joshua Newton have failed in the way they have picturized the IT industry in Kerala. They have generalized things based on their conception of the IT sector. But most IT professionals in the state do not live the way those in the film seem to be living - boozing, partying, speaking only English or anglicized Malayalam. The film tries to give us a totally different kind of impression. This happens when people script and direct movies on subjects that are set against backdrops that they are not really familiar with.

Coming to the script, the climax is worked out well and it's touching, but is there isn't a single scene that establishes the depth of the friendship shared by the key characters. In the end sequence Varsha and Sunny behave much unlike our stereotyped characters and impress us by their ways, but the film does not delineate the depth of their friendship.

Camerawork by Shamdut is good. And so is editing by Vinod Sukumaran and art by Premachandran. The music too is good, but coming to the songs, a couple of them, "Pularumo Raavu..." and "Kukukukoo theevandi..." are just passable. The other songs don't impress much.

On the whole 'Rithu' is not as good as 'Agnisakshi' or 'Akale' or 'Ore Kadal', made by the same director. But Rithu is definitely better than his 'Kallukondoru Pennu' and 'Bokshu: The Myth'. At many places Rithu seems more like a tele-film than a full-fledged movie. Perhaps it's because it comes from the man who made tele-films and serials like 'Uyirthezhunnelppu', 'Maranam Durbalam' and 'Peruvazhiyile Kariyilakal'.

Critic: Thomas T
 2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good) 2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good)  

WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN:
0.0 - 1.4 : Poor
1.5 - 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts
1.8 - 2.3: Average
2.4 - 2.9: Fairly Good
3.0 - 3.4: Good
3.5 - 5.0: Very Good

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