Rakilipaattu Malayalam Movie Review
Raakkilipaattu, directed by Priyadarsan and produced by Mukesh R. Mehta, has finally hit the screens almost seven years after it was filmed. Such delayed releases usually get a very poor response at the box office in Kerala. It is no different with Raakkilipaattu.
Viewing films at theatres in Kerala has become dependent on the cast, especially the male members of the cast. It is no surprise that this film with predominantly female artists in the cast has received a lukewarm reception. Pre-release publicity too was poor. Anyhow, the film definitely deserves a watch, especially since it has many pluses (along with many minuses as well).
Raakkilipaattu tells the story of a bunch of college-going girls. The first half focuses mainly on their life in the campus. Josephine and Radhika Menon are the best of friends and Geetha Damodaran, who is the rather arrogant daughter of a very rich father, is their rival. They clash often and this leads to many problems. When the staff too favours Geetha, things go mostly against Radhika and Josephine.
Then one day, Radhika's aunt Malati Menon, who had taken care of her after her parents' death, decides that it is time for Radhika to get married. Radhika doesn't want to tie the knot before Josephine is also ready to marry. They want to get married at around the same time and till then they want to enjoy their friendship. Josephine therefore tells Malati Menon the cooked up story about Radhika being in love with one Ramesh Nair, a merchant navy officer currently abroad.
Malati Menon believes her and tells the girls that they could wait till he comes on leave. And then Radhika begins getting calls and letters from Ramesh Nair. Fiction turns real and the two friends are bewildered. And when Ramesh finally lands up, they go to meet him at his hotel. But the meeting doesn't materialize. Then Ramesh is called to meet Radhika at Josephine's hostel room on a night when everyone else would be at the college auditorium attending the anniversary functions.
Ramesh comes and is shot dead. Radhika and Josephine had actually acquired and kept ready some weapons including pistols and when they are later arrested, this is taken as evidence against them. The first half of the film comes to an end with the killing of Ramesh. The second half takes a twist with the film turning into a racy thriller with some well worked out elements of suspense. When everything is resolved, the film ends in typical Priyadarsan style.
Priyadarsan has managed to capture the spirit of campus life with all its colours brilliantly etched out, with apt support from his favourite art-director Sabu Cyril. The friendship between Josephine and Radhika as well as their rivalry with Geetha has been handled well. Jyothika as Josephine does a good job while Shrabani Mukherjee gives ample support as Radhika. Ishitha Arun as Geetha is OK. Tabu does well as Gayathri Varma, the daring Police Officer. Mita Vashishta is good as Prema Narayanan, the Superintendent of Police. Jeeva's camera work is good.
So much for the pluses. And now for the minuses. The dialogues at many places seem to be rather artificial and unappealing. This may be because of the film being multilingual and with a multilingual cast. The scene where Gayathri Varma addresses the media outside the hospital, speaking on the plight of women in the country, could have been handled better. The dialogues rendered by Advocate Soumini, played by Suchithra, too seems unappealing.
The highlight of Raakkilipaattu however are the songs, especially the "Dhum dhum dhum dhum doore…" number and "Shaarike ninne kaanaan…". The song "Anthinila maanaaththu…" is filmed in typical Priyadarsan style. What the film lacks is perhaps the Priyan brand of humour. Raakkilipaattu is a rather well-made commercial film, but taking into consideration Priyadarsan's potential as a director, it could have been made far better.