DFW South Asian Film Festival 2021
NYC South Asian Film Festival 2021
Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival 2021
Lift-Off Berlin 2022
SCI-FI London 2022
Best Feature Film, DFW South Asian Film Festival 2021
Best Sound Design, Best Screenplay, Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival 2021
Tannishtha Chatterjee, Asif Basra, Abid Anwar, Danny Sura, Alexx O Nell
Rural villager Rani makes her meagre pay as the custodian of an abandoned factory, while contending with her hapless, unhealthy husband and conniving in-laws. She arrives at her workplace one day to discover a pair of ambitious tech-sector entrepreneurs and an impatient potential client, who’ve driven out to this isolated site for a demonstration of a somewhat dubious time-travel machine. They need a test subject, though, and talk Rani into taking the risk. The trial activation doesn’t send her very far, mere metres and minutes into the past, but it’s enough to create complications when Rani finds herself... well, finding herself.
Little effort goes into explaining the time-loop device in Rajaram Rajendran’s debut feature, and that’s just as well. Consideration of such paradoxical technology invariably leads to headaches, and Rani’s got enough headaches, thank you, dealing with her fraught family situation and the muddled machinations of the big-city interlopers. Rajendran turns the modest means, small ensemble, and confined setting of RANI RANI RANI to his advantage, delivering an elegant and uncluttered stroke of storytelling, poking at the lines of class division in India while pondering the potentialities of tampering with the past. The capable cast includes the late Asif Basra (OUTSOURCED), with Tannishtha Chatterjee (BRICK LANE, ANGRY INDIAN GODDESSES, Richie Mehta’s SIDDHARTH) taking centre stage as the shrewd and determined Rani. A smart, assured, and sympathetic slice of independent science fiction cinema, RANI RANI RANI stands in stark and admirable contrast to the familiar grandiosity of India’s big-time Bollywood productions. – Rupert Bottenberg
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