Raakshas movie cast: Sharad Kelkar, Sai Tamhankar, Rujuta Deshpande, Vijay Maurya, Umesh Jagtap
Raakshas movie director: Dnyanesh Zoting
Raakshas movie cast: 2.5 stars
In a jungle, there lives a ‘raakshas’.. A little girl finds an old book with sketches of a monster in a forest, and heigh ho, away we go, into a story about little girls and forests and monsters, some of whom live in our imaginations, and the others who roam the earth.
The premise is delightful, and much of the film does keep us engaged. It gives us a credible pair of adults– a documentary filmmaker (Kelkar) who keeps taking off to the jungles infested by Naxals in order to make his film, and his neglected wife (Tamhankar), who ends up spending time with their curious young daughter (Deshpande).
One day, the filmmaker vanishes, and as the mother and daughter go looking for him, they unravel dark secrets featuring tribals fighting for their rights, corrupt security forces, petty officials who want more than their due, and the truth of the matter.
The best part is when the forest, and a mysterious old man, draws us in, via the little girl. The woods that lovely, dark and deep give up their secrets slowly but surely, and we feel not just for the wide-eyed Deshpande, but also for Sai Tamhankar who is reliably excellent as the fraught wife-and-mother.
The melding of the myth and the real is not as effective, though, and the film becomes repetitive in places. But overall, ‘Raakshas’ holds, and is a welcome step in the direction of making non-Hindi contemporary, inventive cinema accessible to all. Give us more from where this came.