Malayalam actor Dileep’s long delayed release Ramaleela hit the screens on September 28.
It is one such moment when the borders between art and life are blurred. The man who plays the protagonist, who in the film faces a murder charge, is in jail for an equally grave charge. It is but natural that one consciously looks for parallels between the drama on and off the screen. But then, the beauty of cinema is such that when a tale is told well, one quickly immerses oneself in the narrative and forgets about Dileep and starts worrying about his alter ego, advocate Ramanunni.
Yes, there is the dialogue between Ramanunni and the investigating officer Paulson Devassy played by Mukesh about an undue haste to declare him the culprit which invites the retort that proof will decide the criminal. There is also the fleeting sradham scene which was put in the posters but largely, the film has nothing much to do with what is going on in the actress assault investigation.
The plot surrounds Ramanunni, a political turncoat who is considered a renegade even by his own mother Ragini, played well by veteran actress Radhika. His parent party then fields comrade Ragini against the son. It later turns out that Ramanunni, who was the leftist party CDP’s MLA, actually defected to the rival NSP to avenge the killers of his dad. Whether for his own protection or to intimidate rivals, he procures a licenced revolver and when CDP district secretary Mohanan, played by Vijayaraghavan, falls to a bullet, the needle of suspicion naturally points towards Ramanunni, who goes underground.
Prayaga Martin, who plays a vodka-drinking, marriage-hating Helena, arranges a safe hideout for Ramanunni but televises his conversations with his sidekick Thomas Chacko, played by Kalabhavan Shajohn, and airs them through TV channels, in a sequence reminiscent of script writer Sachy’s earlier Run Baby Run and several other movies, in perhaps the least original part of the movie. All the same, director Arun Gopy never lets the narrative drag and we are kept guessing if it is sting or a stage-managed operation to prove Ramanunni’s ‘innocence’ before the world. The reactions of commoners as they watch the televised episodes are too dramatic to carry conviction.
There is humour but not the kind of over-the-top jokes, double entendre and mimicry we are used to in many of Dileep’s blockbusters. Most of the funny lines are allotted to Shajohn who comes up with a brilliant performance while Dileep opts for a more or less serious avatar. Mercifully, there are no unbelievable stunt sequences either. The cast is star-studded including Sidhique who enacts yet another memorable baddie.