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Movie Review: Ramana (2002) Back to Movie
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Fans Rating: 83%%83%% 83% (95 votes)
Movie Still STORYLINE:
Fifteen Tahsildhars are kidnapped in Tamilnadu. They were the most corrupt Tahsildhars in Tamilnadu. Three days later, fourteen are released. One -- the most corrupt one -- is murdered. A note tells the police the pattern is going to continue until bribery and corruption stop in Tamilnadu.

The police incompetently search for the answers. Only one constable (played capably by Yugi Sethu) is clever enough to guess at the truth.

Who is the man behind it all? It's Ramana (Vijayakanth), a college professor who runs the mysterious Anti-Corruption Force. Enraged by the corruption in society, he -- with his students -- have decided to take on the government.

Meanwhile, at Ramana's home, a young girl (debutante Ashima) has a crush on him. Ramana also raises four children -- two Tamil children, a white girl, and a Hindi boy, all orphans.

The police close in on Ramana. Why does Ramana do these things? Will he escape his crimes? What answers lurk in his past? What message does the movie leave with the viewer?

COMMENTS:
I was very wary of watching this movie. First off, it's Vijayakanth, and I can't remember ever enjoying a Vijayakanth movie that much ("Vaanathai Pola" came closest, but even that was oversentimentalized). Also, the director was Murugadoss, who last did Dheena, which had its moments, but for the most part was a dull view.

So... I was pleasantly surprised.

"Ramana" truly is the best release of the Deepavali lot. It is also the best Shankar lookalike movie I have seen, beating the likes of "Citizen" and "Samurai."

Yes, "Ramana" has its flaws -- college professor Ramana is seen kicking some rowdy butt, the scenes with the multiethnic orphaned children are a little bit too sentimental, some dialogue is very much geared towards getting Tamilan pride up rather than really saying anything ("Tamilans are not sentimental idiots. They don't easily follow anyone (yeah, right!), but if they do follow someone, they're with them until they die"), and several scenes seem a bit hokey -- but for the most part, this was a surprisingly good movie.

Ramana never steps out of character and goes off for a dance duet with Ashima. The flashback explaining his change is short and effective. The villains are truly hateable, and Ramana's crusade is truly likeable. The ending doesn't resort to a silly plot device to give us a happy ending (like "Samurai" did).

And the script shimmers with intelligence often. Murugadoss is to be commended. "Ramana" is a mighty step forward from "Dheena." The dialogue that Vijayakanth speaks to the crowd at the end is not just usual Tamil patriotism spouting but is actually filled with several great points. I loved how the Ramana character dealt with the unethical doctors at the hospital. And several plot twists truly took me by surprise (something many Tamil movies have not done).

Many reviewers have been saying this is a great movie because of Vijayakanth. I don't agree. My congratulations go to Murugadoss, because he kept me guessing.

Newcomer Ashima doesn't have much to do, so it's difficult to guess her histrionic ability. Simran is in a very brief role, but impresses even in that. The child actress who plays Vijayakanth's and Simran's next-door neighbor also deserves kudos.

Why do I like "Ramana" so much? Well, because only fights are added in for commercial consideration (and only a few of those). There are no dumb raunchy dance sequences, no stupid unrelated comedy, and the actors all remain in character throughout. That's quite an accomplishment for a Tamil movie.

"Ramana" could have been better, but even as it is, it's heads above the rest of the Deepavali releases.

NOTE ON THE MUSIC:
It's all right. There's really only two songs in the movie -- "Vaanavillai" and "Vaanam Adhiravae." Both of those are good.

RECOMMENDATION:
Yeah, this one merits a theater viewing. If not theater, then catch it on video or VCD.

VIJAY VANNIARAJAN


Copyrigh 2002 Vijay Vanniarajan
Republication of this and other reviews by the same reviewer is expressly prohibited without the written consent of said reviewer.

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