Rathnan Prapancha Movie Review Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0 stars
Star cast: Reba Monica John, Rajesh Nataranga, Dhananjaya
Director: Rohith Padaki
What is good: The impeccable act of Umashree and Dhananjaya and the heart of the film that is in the right place. The search for someone’s identity and where it ends.
What’s bad: The run time seems a bit too long to me.
loo break: Pause and take. Don’t miss the movie.
To watch or not?: Please. It’s one of those melodramatic (in a good way) movies that make you cry when you’ve lost or maybe found someone. Go in.
Language: Kannada (with subtitles).
Available on: Amazon Prime Video.
Running time: 147 minutes.
Rathnakara (Dhananjaya) and his mother (Saroj, Umashree) are each other’s nemesis whom they love more than themselves, but their way of showing affection is through anger. One day, Rathna finds out that he has been adopted and that he has two more siblings somewhere in India. He goes in search of his roots and learns the value of relationships the hard way.
Rathnan Prapancha Movie Review: Script Analysis
Rathnan Prapancha, meaning Rathna’s world is based on the iconic story of Oedipus from Greek mythology. The king who, in search of the truth, left his gift and then began his downfall. Of course, that couldn’t be what Rohith Padaki had in mind while writing the film, but the resemblance is uncanny. Who do you call your mother, the one who fed you, or the one who brought you into this world? Rathna is put to the test with this one question and asked to solve the mystery.
Finally, Kannada cinema jumps across borders and tries to talk to the world. Rohith does not follow the death-death model, with the mother-son being the best example of a duo (there is, but not in the main conflict). Mother and son are already at odds here. They could kill each other if they weren’t bound by the relationship. In the midst of this, he makes his leading man realize that he has been adopted. How would he react? What will happen?
With Rathna, Padaki explores the human psyche already agitated and then more triggered by the truth of its existence. He travels to find his roots. During this journey, he meets his long-lost sister who then leads him to his brother. Rohith Padaki makes sure it is inclusive and shows the diversity of the country. The sister is adopted by a Muslim family, they go to Kashmir, live their culture. The youngest goes to a wealthy family in the South. Other than being born from the same womb, there is nothing common between these three.
The underlined message is not sabotaged here by overdramatic emotions. Live in the present, walk with us. Of course, also look to the past, but hold hands with what you have now. Rathnan gets to know it the harder way. And it will make you cry. Padaki knows motherhood quite well. He shows you in runtime how motherhood is not limited to a gender, but the warmth of the hands that decide to raise a child.
What works against the film is the time Padaki lays the foundation. Without the caliber of the great actors Dhananjaya and Umashree I would have lost interest in the first 15 minutes. The moment when Rathnan is told his truth is so widely covered that its effect does not affect us until the stories begin to unfold.
Rathnan Prapancha Movie Review: Star Performance
Umashree is a seasoned actor and no words can describe what she does on screen. This will pass for her. Dhananjaya enters the screen with his father’s body and in an instantly sympathetic irritated angry young man. You want something good to happen to him. But if the good happens in the first few minutes, are you even going to watch the rest of the movie?
The relationship that the two share is layered. He calls her Saroj and not mother, she even abuses him when she tells him to touch her feet. When he’s gone she keeps calling him to know when he’s coming back, if he does they get into a fight. The two actors fit together seamlessly.
Shruti and Pramod Panju are another heart-winning mother-son couple. Both actors get staples to play, but they don’t make it look like a staple at any point. Reba Monica John is also impressive in her role. She gets a layer where she forces herself into the marriage that will solve her problems, but later realizes her worth.
Rathnan Prapancha Film Review: Direction, Music
Rohith Padaki is also the director and is almost in control of his source material. He uses the landscapes he shoots in and makes the most of them. His sense of using lights in a frame with the help of DOP Shreesha Kuduvalli is commendable. Kuduvalli opens wide with her camera when needed and makes the places more beautiful with her vision. Specifically, in the part that Shruti enters the frame, they look beautiful.
However, the duration could have been a little shorter. 147 minutes seems like a task. Also B. Ajaneesh Loknath comes with some fresh music and one that will definitely be remembered for a while.
Rathnan Prapancha Movie Review: The Last Word
Rathnan Prapancha is a film that is melodramatic but in the right proportions. Dhananjaya and Umashree make sure you don’t feel alien at any point. Go for this experience.
Also check out our review for Prithviraj Sukumaran’s respectful remake of Andhadhun, Bhramam!
Rathnan Prapancha Trailer
Ratnan Prapancha will be published on October 22, 2021.