Conflicts of the mind

A man struggles to come to terms with his past

Suresh Gopi
Image Credit: Supplied
Suresh Gopi
e+

Rama Ravanan

Cast Suresh Gopi, Biju Menon, Mithra Kurien, Nedumudi Venu

Director Biju Vattappara

Rating G

 

Once the late Esmail Merchant told me that a film must, above all, tell a good story, and all his movies do precisely that. Sadly, much of the Indian cinema that we watch today makes little effort to offer a good story that will stay with us long after the curtains come down.

Biju Vattappara's Rama Ravanan is an interesting exception. It has a lovely story, adapted from Kamala Das' novella, Manomi, which clearly points to loss of love as the cause of the bloody Sri Lankan conflict. Scripted by Vattappara, the film sketches the life and love, in all their pathos, of a young Sinhalese girl. A tragic victim of the ethnic conflict that raged for over two decades - creating unimaginable dislocation, devastation and death - she is one among the millions who suffered, as thousands of others perished.

Narrated in a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, the film shows how an activist of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Thiruchelvam (Suresh Gopi) escapes death in Sri Lanka and takes refuge in a deserted house in a Kerala village. There, memories of a Sinhalese girl orphaned in the war, Manomi (Mithra Kurien), begin to haunt him. Manomi falls in love with Thiruchelvam, but realising the utter futility of such a relationship, he leaves her. She lives with Annadurai (Nedumudi Venu). Now, in the empty house, he is troubled by her memory, wondering what could have happened to her in the intervening years. The form, however, leaves much to be desired. In the absence of a tight and well-thought out script, the flashbacks cause confusion.

The plot line often seems unclear, though the performances of Kurien, Gopi and Venu are arresting enough to make-up for the gaps in the script.

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