Starring: : Johnny, Sanusha, Nishanth, Sandeep.
Music: Ganesh Ragavendran
Production: Mahendra Kumar Jain
Some themes are capable of questioning the collective conscience of the society. Renigunta has to fall into that genre. Though not being a path breaking or trail blazing effort, Renigunta has enough uniqueness and undiluted treatment to deserve some attention. It is very clear that the film has not been made with only commercial success as the motivation; the makers have been honest to the theme first and put all other elements behind it.
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Renigunta tells the story of 5 young men who are at large after having escaped from prison. They land up in Renigunta after their journey to Mumbai goes awry midway. They stay on as they find Renigunta a fertile ground for their activities which mainly consist of carrying out murders as per order. They are ruthless assassins who will kill anyone for a fee, it seems. But, how did they turn out to be the criminals that they are? That is where Renigunta can make people do some soul searching. The process of creating a criminal out of a very normal youngster is masterminded by the society; first by preferring to keep quiet when he needs help and then by hurriedly branding him as a criminal the moment he tries to raise a voice for himself. With no alternative left, the young man turns to the only people who will accept him into their fold, they are people who have already been branded criminals by the society. The like minded and similarly affected youngsters join together knowing that their only hope of a future is by intimidating others into submission and they pick up arms, turning into full fledged assassins.
The process of a criminal’s evolution is told through the life of newcomer Johnny who is the son of a law abiding dutiful police officer who gets involved in a pretty dangerous case. Johnny’s dad’s conscientiousness costs him his life as well as his wife’s. Only Johnny is left alone. No one comes to his help, no one fights for justice and the frustrated and angry young man tries to wreak revenge. But, too small and too weak for the evil forces, he is branded as a criminal and put behind bars. Again, neither the law nor the society turns to help him. Labeled as a criminal and facing torture in jail, he finds refuge in a band of four young men who have already turned the corner and accepted lives on the wrong side of the law. The quintet sets off on the journey that takes them to Renigunta.
The film is not all about crime and violence. Even if these elements form the major portion and the moving force of the narrative, the finer emotions within the minds of the youngsters is also shown. There is a muted love story (literally) that blossoms between Johnny and a girl in Renigunta who cannot speak. It is understated for most part but the feelings are effectively communicated. The other four associates of Johnny realize this and implore him to leave their company with her so that he can have a normal life. Fine strands of friendship can be felt here. The character of the girl’s elder sister who has been forced, partly by circumstances and mostly by her drunk husband into being a prostitute also leaves an impact. In spite of her sufferings she wants to make sure that her sibling gets a peaceful life. The climax carries the typical message that crime never pays.
The director (Paneerselvam) has delivered what he set out to give. He has not diluted the theme or deviated from it for commercial considerations. The amount of violence seems to be justified by the script; one cannot point out a place where it seems forced. Having said that, the A certificate is completely justified and the movie is certainly not for very young people or those who are looking for regular entertainers. It is dark and grim most of the time. Scenes are gory and at times can leave even men accustomed to such movies with a grimace.
The young cast, mostly newcomers have done a fine job. Johnny and Sanusha do their parts well; the former impresses in spite of having very few dialogues. But, it is the young handicapped man who impresses the most, especially in dialogue delivery.
Technically the movie is adequate. Camerawork suits the mood of the movie for most parts while music does not find too much of a place in spite of a few songs in the film. Dialogues by Singampuli are definitely praiseworthy.
Renigunta is not a movie made with commercial intentions in mind. Though violence and brutality are constants throughout the movie, it is neither superficial nor forced. The message that the director set out to convey has been said effectively, the society’s role in making criminals out of promising young men has been shown, the third degree treatment meted out to accused prisoners is depicted and the helplessness of such people is well portrayed. It is bound to get noticed in the non-commercial circles. Watch it if you can stomach some undiluted portrayal of violence, third degree and the dark side of life on the wrong side of law. It is not for the regular entertainment seekers nor advisable for those few who believe in mimicking on screen exploits in real life.
Verdict: The dark life: Undiluted & Uninhibited