RANAM – DETROIT CROSSING: an American cliché

Sometimes finding yourself in an alienated metropolis may reveal your inner-self, the existence ceases over period of struggle – in a dark chaos, how will an ambiguity survive? Ranam – Detroit Crossing is all about loss and search, every character has lost something and on a surface there’s a dying city. In form of Detroit, which has succumbed to crime and decay stands as a metaphor to the degrading lives. Detroit is a claustrophobic metropolis, where the characters are trapped into as well as within them. Even the title track explodes, “city melts in the pyre of ember stones” – which befits the atmosphere of Nirmal Sahadev’s directorial crossover film.

Aadhi (Prithviraj), a drug dealer yearns for a new live – his boss Damodar (Rahman) aspires to be the ruler of Detroit while Aadhi is his best hitman. Damodar finds something Aadhi cares for, forming the basic crux of the story which includes romance, revenge and violence. On script level, Ranam is an amalgamation of numerous American and French Gangster flicks, what’s so special about it? It’s the ambitious and stylish presentation, Prithviraj’s character echos my personal viewing “it all seemed too good to last”. At the core, it’s an emotional drama layered with crime uplifted by Shreejith Sarang’s slick editing. Awkward (rather weird) dialogue delivery was a major drawback, especially the characters switching between two languages.

Nirmal Sahadev manages to create an enigmatic chaos where characters connect in the dark and the tone tends to brighten – even the romance takes place in a restrictive setting. Cinematographer Jigme Tenzing’s breathtaking visuals lend an appropriate landscape to the ambitious vision. Ranam’s colour palette mostly plays between red and blue, simple but too effective since it appropriately extracts character’s psychology. Constant use of fluorescent red denotes powerful associations in the past, whether its Detroit or Aadhi’s childhood trauma. And in other words, violence revolving Damodar. Aadhi is often juxtaposed with Damodar by blue (mostly shirts) which denotes loyalty and stability at stake. Jakes Bejoy’s enthralling background score and the classic Title Track blends the mood, but there’s constant provocation.

Prithviraj yet again (post-Koode) delivers a fine performance who transforms into Aadhi with eyes gazing inner demons. Rahman was pitch-perfect yet lacked the punch during the dialogue delivery. Isha Talwar delivers a matured performance, would love to witness her in more character efficient roles. She plays Seema, a Mother of teen describes her life as “an American clichéd” – that’s what Ranam is about – it’s a revamping of gangster thriller flicks into an emotional gangster drama.

There had to be conscious efforts to experience and feel, where repetitive attempts at investment kept Ranam distant. When Malayalam Cinema is producing superior original content, Ranam – Detroit Crossing promises technical achievement by taking a step back on content. Everyone aspires for an American Dream, Nirmal Sahadev achieved his own. It may be a longing crossover for Malayalam Cinema, but it comes with no novelty – yet delivers patiently what it sets out, quite effectively.

Language: Malayalam
Release: 06 September, 2018
Rating: 2.5/5

Copyright ©2018 Ninad Kulkarni. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.


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