Shivaji Surathkal movie review: The tense whodunit thriller has potential to be turned into franchise 

Given just 48 hours to solve the case, Shivaji has to deal with a master key to room number 1001, a swimming pool with clues and the guests at the resort.

Published: 22nd February 2020 09:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd February 2020 10:02 AM   |  A+A-

Still from Kannada film Shivaji Surathkal

Express News Service

The film opens with a bizarre case (No. 101), which has 11 witnesses to the murder of the home minister’s son. Ramesh Aravind plays the titular character in Akash Srivatsa’s directorial venture. Roshan Ravi (Vinay Gowda) is the murder victim who is the son of politician  Rajiv Ravi (Avinash). The police send Shivaji (Ramesh Aravind) — a Sherlock Holmes type of character — to the murder scene, a resort in Ranagiri, to solve the case. Shivaji manages to untangle most cases simply by his powers of deduction.

The very fact that mystery writers Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have been given credit in the film tells the viewer that this is the filmy version of the popular page-turners that we all love. Shivaji, as the viewers learn, is reluctant at first to go to the resort, located in Madikeri, as it has a bitter connection with his past. However, with some pushing by his higher-ups, he takes his assistant Govindu (Raaghu Raamannakoppa) and trudges on to Ranagiri, in spite of personal issues in his life involving his wife, Janani, who fondly calls him Ji. 

Given just 48 hours to solve the case, Shivaji has to deal with a master key to room number 1001, a swimming pool with clues and the guests at the resort. The movie concludes with a judgement on the professional and the personal sides of any investigator. Killing two birds with one stone, that’s how Shivarji Surathkal cracks two cases during a single investigation. Ramesh Aravind has played the role of Shivaji well, even though it goes against his regular image. He brings together all his acting prowess to convincingly play the investigative officer in his 101st film, which according to him, was made possible only because of director Akash Srivatsa and writer Abhijit’s imagination. Akash, who last directed Badmaash, has put in a lot of preparation for the movie and it shines through in all the suspense and horror scenes as well as the sharp dialogues and the sharper editing.

One of the reasons for the crispness of the movie is the rapport Akash shares with Aravind which enabled him to bring out a never-seen-before side to the actor. The conversation-based thriller seamlessly moves between two narrations in two different time zones and the suspense builds up right from the beginning, with some clever twists along the way. Arohi Narayan, Rohit Bhanu Prakash, PD Satish, Sukanya Girish Lakshmi Anand along with Amita Ranganath and Surya Vasishta make the rest of the ensemble cast.

The personal side to a talented investigative officer, who is not shown as invulnerable but as one who has eccentricities and comes out stumbling at times, shows him as a human. The tale of his past life moves viewers and the actor arrests the audience with his role. Wisecracks between Aravind and his assistant lend comic relief while the film is sure to cash in on the background score by Judah Sandy.

Cinematography, with the green backdrop of Madikeri, is intense and befits a crime story. In the end, the movie is a tense whodunit thriller which also focuses on the life of an investigator. Shivaji Surathkal - The Case of Ranagiri Rahasya has all the potential to be turned into a franchise, not unlike the famed investigator of Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes. As an investigative officer, Ramesh Aravind sheds his regular image, and this transformation was possible only because of the director and writer’s imagination, and the actor’s versatility. 

Director: Akash Srivatsa

Producer: Anup Gowda and Rekha K N

Cast: Ramesh Aravind, Radhika Narayan, Arohi Nayaran, and Raaghu Raamannakoppa

Rating: 3.5/5


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