Saturday, February 24, 2024

Ramabanam: The arrow whizzes past the target audience

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Amartya Smaran
Sriwass’ Ramabanam stars Gopichand, Dimple Hayathi, Kushboo, Jagapathi Babu, and Nassar in important roles. The film is a carefully prepared mixture of several stereotypes. Everything from the characters to the lifeless narration and picturisation, this Gopichand starrer leaves you puzzled and jaded.

Ramabanam tells the story of two brothers—Rajaram (Jagapathi Babu) and Vicky (Gopichand). Rajaram is someone who will never disregard ethics and values, but Vicky is quite the opposite. He can go to any extent to protect his family. Rajaram’s family runs a hotel called Sukhibhava in Raghudevapuram. They serve food of the best quality at a low rate and have the highest regard for everyone around them. This bothers Papa Rao (Nassar), who owns a hotel right across the street and doesn’t give a hoot about values. Papa Rao takes away the restaurant’s licence from Rajaram.

Everyone is worried, but on the same night, Vicky burns down Papa Rao’s godown and brings back the licence. The older brother lectures Vicky about the consequences he might have to face as a result of his heedlessness. There’s a clear clash of ideologies between the brothers. The young Vicky parts ways and settles in erstwhile Calcutta.

Cut to modern day Kolkata, Vicky runs an import and export company. Almost nothing he does is ethical. The movie opens with the grown up Vicky stepping into a private jet. He looks troubled, and Gopichand’s one note expression goes really well with the mood of the character. Sriwass conveniently spoon feeds everything to us. The lead character literally keeps narrating everything throughout the film. After all, what’s pushing Vicky so hard that he has to return to his family at any cost? Well! The stakes are not really that high.

Oh! By the way, Vicky falls for Bhairavi (Dimple Hayathi) — a vlogger. The filmmaker doesn’t bother to give us enough here and uses a song to capture their romance. Dimple Hayathi is an amazing dancer, and her moves keep you hooked to the seats. Apart from dancing and romancing alongside the hero, Dimple’s character doesn’t get to do much. She literally vanishes from the second half. It’s the makers saying, “You’ve danced enough. You may leave now!”

It was refreshing to see Jagapathi Babu in a role that doesn’t require him to shout and pop his veins out. He plays Rajaram with great sincerity, and Kushboo, who dons the role of his wife, Bhuvaneshwari, cries for the most part.

At the core of it, Ramabanam is a man’s fight against the food mafia. It wants to preach that we’re subsumed in a world where we get nothing but adulterated food. However, the biggest problem with the film is, it does everything except that. The narrative takes a major deviation from its core objective from the onset. The stakes aren’t high enough to keep you engrossed.

Mickey J Meyer tries his best to create a soulful sound, but the casualness of the narration and the placement of the scenes don’t allow space for creativity. We get the same old melodramatic score, and the songs in the film leave zero impact. Why do we have to cut the flow of the screenplay and set up the songs in a foreign location? Why is it that we still need a bunch of white people in the background? You have all that in this film.

Vennela Kishore plays the role of a music teacher in this film. Now, the director makes no use of his comedy timing and restricts him to a stereotypical role of a gay person. In one particular scene, Gopichand says, “I need only one and a half glasses, because here, we only have half!” And it managed to get a few laughs in the theatre. It’s high time we move away from such insensitive writing.

Macho star Gopichand brings nothing new to the character, and the same follows with Vetri Palanisamy’s cinematography. Sriwass’ desire to gauge in on the family emotions and present an engaging entertainer, ends up being shabby. If only he had concentrated on the core aspect of the film, it would have been a completely different story. The fight scenes, writing, blocking of the scenes, and overall treatment look jarring at best.

It doesn’t matter if filmmakers pick the same old sorties, but the trick is in the treatment of these tried and tested entertainers. What exactly are you, as a filmmaker, bringing to the table? In the case of Ramabanam, the arrow (banam) whizzes past the target audience.

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