Banner: Film Fabricators
Cast: Johnny, Sanusha, Nishanth and Sandeep
Music: Ganesh Raghavendra
Lyrist: Na. Muthukumar
It appears this may well be the Golden age in the history of Tamil cinema in terms of a rapid increase in realistic, sensible films being made. In the midst of today’s ultra-modern magnum opuses from India and abroad, look at the list of recent realistic Tamil films: Subramaniapuram, Saroja, Vaaranam Aayiram, Poo, Abhiyum Naanum, Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu, Naan Kadavul, TN 07 AL 4777, Yavarum Nalam, Pasanga, Naadodigal, Gnabagangal, Sindhanai Sei, Eeram, Unnaipol Oruvan etc. All these were highly-acclaimed, not just because they narrated fresh stories, but were so naturalistic that even an average cinemagoer could feel the intensity of human experiences, be it positive or negative. Renigunta, director Panneerselvam’s latest, made with newcomers including producer S.S. Chakravarthy’s son Johnny as hero, is one such outstanding film which leaves a great impact on viewers. Once you come out of the theatre, you would surely believe that the “to live or not to live” episodes in Renigunta should never happen to you. So go and watch Renigunta, but leave your small kids at home. (Renigunta is ‘A’ certified.)
The story goes like this: Sakthi is a happy-go-lucky guy, but his father Sethupathi, a clerk, has great dreams that his son should become a successful engineer. Realizing Sakthi’s inability to be outstanding in studies due to his limited brainpower, his father stops compelling him to become an engineer; rather, he inspires him to choose any vocation he can shine in! Sakthi’s peaceful family life suddenly vanishes when his parents are brutally murdered (in front of him and an apathetic public) by Kathir, prime accused of a murder case in which Sakthi’s father was a key eyewitness. Broken up by the painful and tragic loss of his loving parents, Sakthi decides to take revenge, but in vain. He is caught in his murder attempt due to his inexperience and remanded for 14 days.
Due to his shy nature, Sakthi has to undergo severe harassments from the jail guards, where he meets four young, inborn criminals including lame Dabba and fat guy Pandu. He becomes friendly with them only to avoid torment from the jailers. Sakthi has no plans to join the group, but at the same time, is greatly attracted by their love and concerns. The four guys plan to escape from jail; at the last moment, they forcibly take Sakthi to the world of freedom and gradually introduce him to a criminal life.
In flashback, the guys come to know about Sakthi’s past and decide to kill Kathir. After executing Kathir, the five friends take a train to Mumbai to avoid the police special force, but fate leads them to a local don in Renigunta (near Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh). In Renigunta, Sakthi meets a dumb girl and love slowly blossoms between them. In fact, the girl’s brother-in-law is a pimp, procuring for his own wife. Realizing her husband’s intention to introduce her dumb sister into the fresh trade, the akka requests Sakthi to elope with her younger sister. With the consent his friends, Sakthi fixes a date to leave the place with his lover.
Meanwhile, the local don hires these five friends to kill a prominent contractor, leading to a big twist in the whole story. The murder attempt fails; Pandu is beaten to death on the spot by contractor’s security guards. The special force swoops down on the rest of the teammates who are brutally killed one by one, except for Sakthi. Whether he manages to escape from the police and accomplish his dream of a peaceful life with his lover forms the rest of the film.
One can’t say that Renigunta only has bloody violence; it also has plenty of (black) comedy, romance and sentiments, and all components are convincingly presented just as in Subramaniapuram. Thanks to director Panneerselvam, Renigunta is completely free from any sort of exaggeration, be it in graphics, number of songs, length and “superman effects” of the fight scenes. All credit goes to Panneerselvam’s clean script, the highlight of the film, which gives everything in the right proportion. In short, Renigunta simply rocks!