Ratchasi - Quite earnest with some heroine glorification!
Geetha Rani (Jyothika) is the female version of the quintessential Tamil hero. She is not only an upright person who won't take things lying down but she can even break the bones of henchmen. The title is a clever ploy to enable us question ourselves on how we as a society see women in general. Replace Jyothika with a male lead and the film might not have been called Ratchasan or any other equivalent. It is a straightforward story like Saatai where a teacher or a headmistress as in this case, singlehandedly reforms the functioning of a government school.
Director Gowthamraj does a decent job in balancing the emotions in Ratchasi. The film never gets too high on melodrama despite ample opportunities to be extremely loud. I was a bit sceptical at the start because almost every character in the school was introduced as being evil and on your face. I dreaded them becoming caricatures but the film never goes this route. In fact even the bad guy ( the one who runs a chain of private schools with money being the only motiive) functions with certain principles that he has laid for himself.
Jyothika seems to have operated in the Naachiyar mode while loosening up into smiles when she is with the students. It was pleasantly surprising to see an action block come out decently well with no place for catcalls. The character does come off like being a little too rigid and hardened. While this did make her a little less endearing , there are enough justifications in the narration for the same.
The comedy involving Sathyan is a bit silly. The film could have also been a little crisper and it does get a bit draggy towards the end. But it does speak about many pertinent issues and the tone of the film affirms the earnestness of its makers. While there are cliches the film also keeps surprising by avoiding a few. The father daughter bonding leaves an impact despite very few scenes and even here there is absolutely no melodrama.
Ratchasi is an earnest film that strikes a chord. Some refining and the film could have been more fulfilling.