The latest Vishal starrer, Rathnam (2024), could just as well have been titled Ratham (Blood), given its intense and primal content. Rathnam shares a similar revenge-driven storyline with Vijay‘s Ghilli and Bairavaa. From the harrowing first scene—a bus filled with passengers is overturned to rob them of their jewellery, accompanied by the gruesome display of severed limbs across towns on the Tamil Nadu-Andhra border—it’s clear that director Hari intends to make a bold statement in his second innings in Kollywood. He injects briskness and relentless action into the film, surpassing his previous ventures in the genre. However, the lack of innovation leaves the audience craving more substantial entertainment.  While there are moments that genuinely make you empathize with the characters, the film overall earns only a Mangoidiots Raw rating from me.

In any successful film centred around a mass hero, a formidable villain is essential. Here, Telugu actor Murali Sharma excels with his chilling portrayal of the antagonist. His introductory scene, cliché as it may be—featuring his unassuming bathing and dressing in public—somehow manages to capture the audience’s attention. The clichés extend to the heroine’s introduction as well, with Priya Bhavani Shankar making a familiar entrance to catch a running bus. She makes the most of her considerable screen time, though her role is limited mainly to standing behind the hero through countless fight scenes. Yogi Babu surprises with a gravitas we haven’t seen before, moving beyond his typical comedic roles to deliver a serious performance. The action sequences, a definite highlight, owe their impact to skilled choreography and tight execution.

However, the film’s background score, composed by DSP, often feels mismatched with the on-screen action and is jarringly loud throughout. Scenes like the Tasmac Bar sequence and a bizarre argument over pickles by drunken characters strike a particularly sour note. Both Vishal and Hari would benefit from stepping out of their usual confines to explore new creative territories.

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