It was in 2012 that a couple of men were forced under the serpent and the surgical knife. While one lost his life, the other was reduced to just being a male minus the vital six inches that made him one. Come 2015, and Ashiq Abu seems to have fully wiped off the so-called josh from the species called man who looks down upon the opposite sex. Instead, he has created two daring, independent women who call the shots.
By doing so, he has also created hope and happiness in women all around. Watching young women walk out of cinema halls after Rani Padmini rolls to an end, is sure to remind men like you and me, of the days when we walked in a gait that resembled a cop named Bharatchandran we had just watched on screen. When Rani exhorts her companion to stay a fighter, the message gets transcended to hundreds of women out there watching her. As the credits roll, the parade of pride and a sense of daring independence need to be seen as Abu’s gift to women who flock to watch his narrative of Rani and Padmini during the festival season where women goddesses get a chance to be adored.
What makes Rani Padmini click? In an era where women are reduced to just pretty adornments in reel and real life, the arrival of a tomboyish Rani and a fighter-by-compulsion Padmini comes across as a whiff of breeze blowing down the snow-clad Himachal heights. The applause is due to the fact that the chill they bring along are dipped in the embers of tough life.
If Rani is a fighter all day and night, Padmini is the one who learns to switch over to combat mode in a bid to keep herself happy. It is not that men are missing in the Rani Padmini narrative – they are dime a dozen, but they either pose as plain men or are just torch bearers for the two women as they trek, glide and shed tears of joy, on their quest for a happy, independent living.
Life’s travails never let a woman smile. Even if they do, each smile is bundled along with a clutch of hassles. Fight for survival isn’t a trial-and-error game most of the time – it is more than that, it becomes a necessity. Abu’s women take the less trodden path, and in the course of their journey, they inspire many to realize the coy demeanor deemed by the world as a must to stay in the race for good life is nothing less than a trap. To fly, they need to spread wings, they realize!
Rani Padmini is, in fact, a showcase of Ashiq Abu’s openness to acknowledge the power of the woman. When he showcases a kitchen knife and a wooden log as enough ammunition to help her pin down dangerous detractors, he also brings to the fore the subtle and humane elements etched within her. Rani and Padmini turn out to be the quintessential women models for many of their ilk out there to stay safe and happy. And that, makes Rani Padmini a must watch, for men too!
Set against the background of the picturesque snow clad mountains that guard the Indian sub continent, no road is smooth, as the bumpy, tricky rally route proclaims time and again. The beauty of the mountain ranges that look down upon Himachal are fascinatingly captured by Madhu Neelakandan, while Bijibal tell us yet again that he knows his job too well. If Syam Pushkaran and Ravi Sankar have a story to tell, Ashiq Abu deserves all credit for narrating the tale with all the emotions perfectly packed.
Rima Kallingal as Rani and Manju Warrier as Padmini need no more applause – they have been gathering lots every time they do something on screen, subtly or aloud! The two deserve a standing ovation for inspiring hundreds of women who watch them in the dark environs of cinema halls and then walk out into the sunlight with their head held high.
Abu, after all, believes in stories that come with messages. If it was the message engraved on a sexual shroud with the surgical knife and the serpent’s sting in 2012, it’s the “Stay a Fighter” theme that’s riding the 2015 wave. Go, watch it!