Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum movie cast: Harish Kalyan, Shilpa Manjunath, Ma Ka Pa Anand, Bala Saravanan
Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum movie director: Ranjit Jeyakodi
Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum movie rating: 1.5 stars
(Spoilers ahead) Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum opens with a quote by Socrates: ‘The hottest love has the coldest end’, and ends with a dedication card to films – Tamasha, Kaatru Veliyidai and suchlike. When a relationship doesn’t seem to work, most of the men (pardon me for the blatant generalisation) go on a soul-searching-long-bike-ride-on-Royal Enfield, and this apparently brings a sense of clarity into their life. (No, you don’t have conversations with your girlfriend. You are supposed to leave her hanging and disappear). That’s what Gautham (Harish Kalyan) does. He wants to “end things” with Tara (Shilpa Manjunath) because he is not sure of his love. At one point, he says, “Naan panradhu love-a nu enakke sandhegama iruku.” That is so accurate because you don’t go to the extent of considering stabbing someone you have got feelings for. (Sorry, that is not love, so let me use the word: feelings).
Gautham has had a troubled childhood. His mother leaves him and chooses another life. He doesn’t understand why things happened that way but develops a strong hatred towards her. He doesn’t open those greeting cards that his mother had sent over many years. One day, Gautham spots her in a car with her second husband; he couldn’t stand her. He yells at her on the road. Also, Gautham attacks the elderly guy in public. His mother pushes him away, and saves her second husband. This makes Gautham bitter. For some weird reason, he doesn’t trust his girlfriend Tara and forces her into the marriage. (No, they don’t get married. Thankfully, the director has shown that women can say ‘no’ and they mean it). He ‘surprisingly’ takes her to the Registrar’s Office and asks her to ‘just sign’, so that it makes him ‘feel secure’.
Gautham and Tara are physically attracted to each other. They have great sex whenever they meet. In a scene, Gautham even WhatsApps her, “Daily pannalama” (can we do this every day?). He doesn’t tell her this directly, but sends a text, lying next to her on the bed half-naked.
Gautham constantly thinks that Tara would leave him. Thanks to his group of friends, who are a bunch of idiots, misguiding him for all wrong reasons. Any sane friend, in a similar situation, would guide the person in trouble in a good way, and after all, that is what friendships are for. But in this film, they keep misleading the protagonist, which indirectly fuels his anger on Tara. (By the way, there are appalling comedy portions that involve Ma Ka Pa Anand and Bala Saravanan, where one of them says ‘swimming phool’ instead of ‘pool’.) And, you are expected to laugh here. SMH.
The whole romance angle between Tara and Gautham looks staged and forced. For example, they meet all the time ‘unexpectedly’ and whenever Tara is in trouble, Gautham appears like Lord Krishna, who appears in the Mahabharata to save women. In the initial stages, Tara is seen hanging out with her fiancé Rohit (Adhitya), but falls for Gautham because her friend says he is “caring and protective”. Rohit leaves her midway on the road after Gautham attacked him in a party. Tara falls in love with Gautham because he offered her a lift and a jacket. Gautham is portrayed like Arjun Reddy in Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum. Both are passionate when it comes to making out sessions; they have beard, anger issues and you see a lot of common points. (Tara saves Gautham’s name as ‘Rowdy’ on her phone and Deverakonda’s fans labelled him ‘Rowdy’.)
Throughout the film, the couple fight, they patch up (read: cuddle, have sex) and they fight again. So, Gautham finally realises it is time to pull the plug on the relationship. Director Ranjit Jeyakodi makes a bizarre cameo appearance like a beggar and persuades Gautham into drugs. He also narrates his past love life and suggests that Gautham kills Tara. There is a woman-bashing song “Yen Manasa Undakkuna” in between and you can’t help, but think of Selvaraghavan here. Harish Kalyan dances, and you get reminded of Simbu again, who is known for saying ‘Indha ponnungale ippadithan’ (All women are the same.) I wonder why men feel so good to see another man bashing up women on the big screen. What sort of gratification do men get when women are shown humiliated, insulted, irritated, harassed or stalked? Hey, also, you are being shown differences between ‘love’ and ‘stalking’ in the film, okay?
Though Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum tries to explore how men behave in relationships when they come from a broken family, it justifies the violent behaviour of the protagonist. (Saying he-behaves-this-way-because-of-his-childhood). That is why Ranjit has titled the film ‘Ispade Rajavum’ — referring to the hero, who is sharp-edged like a spade. Ranjit also touches up on quasi-philosophical questions including — ‘when does love change into hatred?’, and ‘at what point one turns into a killer?’ But as the audience, you don’t seem convinced. I don’t know if Ranjit wanted to make another Kaatru Veliyidai, because both the films romanticise the violence in relationships, and heroines, in fact, share the same name ‘Tara’.
Instead of pushing Gautham into drugs, the makers could have shown him get therapy for his anger issues. Harish Kalyan aces in the role of an angry young man, and fortunately, Shilpa is not one of those heroines, who has issues with crossing the road. She is sane, mature and knows what she is doing. She goes out late in the night, smokes, and even has an upper hand when it comes to the bedroom. What I liked about Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum is CS Sam’s music that works beautifully for the narrative.