Raangi movie review: Trisha’s latest is bafflingly silly and questionable – The Indian Express

Raangi is the classic case of a film becoming the monster it’s trying to slay. At the core of the film is the empathetic portrayal of a teenaged militant in an African country that is facing exploitation. In its attempt to understand what made the boy, Aalim, turn to extremism, the film exploits the issue and the story of its lead character, Thayyal Nayaki (Trisha). The fundamental problem of Raangi is that the person it wants us to empathize with is not its protagonist, but an auxiliary character who gives all the purpose and motivation to its heroine.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Raangi that has a bewildering and convoluted plot. Thayyal Nayaki works as a reporter for an online news portal named The Third Eye. Tasked with sensationalising news, she is not happy with her work. She laments that responsible journalism is about creating a difference by investigating real issues. The conflict in the story emerges when Thayal Nayaki’s brother approaches her with a sensitive problem — a man is threatening to release nude videos of her niece Sushmitha online. Thayyal finds out that the social media account in question doesn’t belong to her niece but to a friend who is pretending to be Sushmitha. She sends her videos to many without revealing her face to get attention. Thayyal gets to the bottom of the problem and schools the guys engaging with the account.
The plot thickens when Thayyal receives messages from Aalim, another man who seems to be a bit different from the other men. Now, when she finds Aalim is a militant, she pretends to be her niece to extract information. However, she ends up developing a strange relationship with the 17-year-old, who is unaware that he is chatting with Sushmitha’s aunt. The story of the film is written by AR Murugadoss, and it’s baffling that no one found the obvious issues with the plot.
While Raangi wants to pitch Thayyal as a bold and fearless woman, some of things she is made to do are downright creepy. Take the scene where Thayyal finds that the girl in the nude videos is not Sushmitha. After going through the clips, Thayyal demands her 16-year-old niece strip naked so that she can examine her body for clues. When the teary-eyed child asks why is she making her do this, Thayyal goes, “Ellam un nalladhuku thaan (It’s all for your good).” Maybe, that’s the justification Murugadoss and director Saravanan gave themselves while making the film—that ‘it’s all for the greater good’.
Also, the film mistakes bold and strong for reckless and silly. While people around Thayyal Nayaki revere her as a brilliant and level-headed woman, her actions only contradict their beliefs. She mindlessly shares her address (with the new and old door numbers) with a terrorist. Also, her idea of romance is just outright juvenile, just like the film, which teems with obnoxiously dumb events.  Aalim, the most-wanted terrorist, takes a quick trip to Chennai to meet Sushmitha. The Prime Minister of India orders the killing of one of his ministers to cover up a deal. The FBI agents act like gangsters trying to kill Sushmitha to lure Aalim. The list goes on.
It is evident that the film has suffered a lot from the censor board. A lot of the issues about Tunisia and its politics are edited, blurred, and censored. However, that can’t be an excuse as the problems with Raangi are more elementary. More information about the country would not have helped when our emotions are not invested in Aalim or even the film in the first place. It’s unfortunate that after a great comeback as Kundhavai in Ponniyin Selvan this year, Trisha ends 2022 on such a low note.
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