Rakshasudu movie review: This Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas-starrer is a well made Ratsasan remake
In Rakshasudu, director Ram Kumar focuses the story on one such person who flipped to the dark side because no one empathised with him.
Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas and Anupama Parameshwaran-starrer Rakshasudu is one of the few Telugu films, in recent times, that is relentless in its approach to storytelling. This is an investigative drama where the hunt for a serial killer pushes a young cop to his limits. There are no pauses or unnecessary deviations, and every moment in the narrative adds up to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. And a big part of the credit goes to a terrific story and screenplay written by Ram Kumar, who also directed the original version in Tamil, Ratsasan. The Telugu version is a faithful remake to an extent that even the names of some of the important characters have been retained.
The film follows the journey of Arun (Sreenivas), an aspiring filmmaker who struggles to find a producer despite his best efforts. He is obsessed with serial killers and his script too is inspired from real incidents. Soon, he is forced to give up his dream of directing a film and instead take up the job as a sub-inspector, after his father passes away. One day, a gruesome death of a school girl sends shock waves in the city. The rest of the story is about how Arun connects the dots and finds a pattern. And this sets him off on a wild goose chase where a serial killer is always a step ahead of him.
The biggest strength of Rakshasudu lies in its staging and how well-knit the whole narrative is. Ramesh Varma wastes no time before diving into the story. In a series of montages, we see Arun getting frustrated that his script is not being approved by producers, and one time, when a producer says yes, the very next day he informs Arun that their horoscope is not matching to guarantee a hit. Arun, in turn, gives up after a point, and takes up an offer to become a junior police officer at the behest of his mother. And within the first week into his job, he offers a major clue which leads the cops to track a serial killer. There is barely a moment to think or relax, and even the lighter moments, where we see Arun fall in love with Krishnaveni (Anupama), a teacher in the same school where Arun’s cousin studies, does not quite hamper the flow or the mood of the narrative. This is a film where the storytelling supersedes the actors. The desperation of the key characters, especially Sreenivas and Rajeev Kanakala, who keep facing the heat of their senior police officer, keeps you glued to the proceedings.
The whole film unfolds at such breakneck speed that you would not want to take your eyes off the screen. The mood is further amplified by Ghibran’s terrific background score, and cinematographer Venkat Dilip’s solid work to keep us hooked. Editing by Amar Reddy is another major asset and there is hardly a boring moment in the film. Every now and then, Ramesh Varma lets you soak into some dramatic moments, which hint at the gravity of the situation. For instance, a subplot of the film focuses on a Maths teacher, who turns out to be a pedophile, and every moment he is on screen, there is a sense of dread. The reaction in the eyes of the young girls, who face his wrath and predatory behaviour, is a horror story in itself. Incidentally, Rakshasudu is not a film which gives its hero any respite or a moment of glory. Arun is pushed to his emotional and physical limits, which arises both from the frustration of not nabbing the serial killer as well as having to explain to his boss that he is on the right track. Ultimately, this is what makes Rakshasudu so gripping to watch because it keeps you guessing about who this mysterious villain is, and what his motive is.
For Sreenivas, Rakshasudu is a major shot in the arm. Throughout the film, he makes it quite evident that he was immersed in his role, which oscillates between fear and desperation. And in those aspects, the actor shines. Rakshasudu is a huge improvement compared to his recent performances. Anupama and Rajeev Kanakala are good in their respective roles The film boasts of a villain who makes a huge impression without saying a single word.
Rakshasudu is a story about people who are humiliated, pushed to their extreme, and how they react to it. While Arun channelises his frustration into something constructive, the humiliation has the opposite effect on the villain. He becomes a demon, who stops at nothing from terrorising everyone around him. They say that fear comes in many forms. Ram Kumar focuses the story on one such person who flipped to the dark side because no one empathised with him.
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