Inspector Rishi meanders, reduces impact of good core story

Naveen Chandra plays the title-role in Inspector Rishi. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Socio-environmental issues can be a vital element in both crime and horror movies. One such fine example in the past was the film, Raaz—The Mystery Continues. Web series have also dealt with such issues and Amazon Prime Video itself had  show with this angle very recently in Poacher.

This time too, in the Tamil web series, Inspector Rishi, there is the issue of deforestation by the authorities. When a certain tribe protests at this and is pushed to the corner, its members commit mass suicide. The repercussions come years later when a series of mysterious deaths are seen in the area, and each time the assorted victims are impinged to a tree in a cocoon of insect webs.

Inspector Rishi (Naveen Chandra), who has one glass eye, is the investigating officer. His team includes police officers Ayyanar (Kanna Ravi) and Chitra (Malini Jeevarathnam) and later, Kathryn (Sunaina Vella), Sathya (Srikrishna Dayal) and Irfan (Elango Kumaravel). How they investigate the complex web of deceit and subterfuge is what this thriller is about, especially when an angry local goddess named Vanaratchi is sighted by the victims and even the cops. Vanaratchi is someone who effortlessly climbs trees and emits something that paralyzes her victims. So is this malevolent supernatural force for real? And why is she so much bent on killing male and female victims with seemingly nothing in common between them?

What would have been an enthralling thriller slides down on the creator-writer-director’s self-indulgent fetish for overlong narration. Major parts of episodes are devoted to Rishi’s tragic romance before this story begins, to the problems Chitra has with her family as she is a lesbian (this Amazon-Netflix needless global trope yet, yet and yet again!) and the social angle of how Ayyanar is estranged from his educated and progressive wife, Yamuna (Misha Ghoshal) because his old-fashioned parents blame her for a death in the family after their marriage!

These three love stories collectively occupy over a restive 60-plus minutes in the 10-episode almost 10-hour saga and none have the remotest link with the main plot and idea!

Also, even as a red herring, the introductory sequence with the elephants makes little sense in the overall picture (pun intended). The initial resentment of Ayyanar for Rishi is neither satisfactorily explained nor convincingly resolved, while Ayyanar’s ‘orthodox’ reaction to close friend and teammate Chitra’s sexual revelation is again a sheer waste of time, given the nature of the story and its aim!

There are some confusing details and visuals in the climax, and the post-climax, which is essentially about a second season where Inspector Rishi’s rationalism will be tested, is as predictable as the sun rising every morning!

The film has good technical standards and the village ambience and forest sequences have the necessary atmosphere. Ashwath’s background score is good and the songs (as per the English subtitles) seem to have rather esoteric lyrics. J. Nandhini should now focus on making screen presentations that are crisper, wherein only elements strictly needed for the plotline are retained. Where, for example, was the need to elaborate on the tragic elements of Rishi’s long love affair with Viji and how her deviant behavior ultimately led to her death?

Remove the extraneous factors and Inspector Rishi could have been very riveting, As things stand, it is merely an average telling of a saga that focuses on a relevant environmental issue.


Amazon Prime Video presents Make Believe Productions’ Inspector Rishi  Created, directed & written by: J.S. Nandhini  Produced by: J.S. Nandhini  & Shukhdev Lahiri  Music: Ashwath  Starring: Naveen Chandra, Srikrishna Dayal, Kanna Ravi, Malini Jeevarathnam, Sunaina Vella, Elango Kumaravel, Harini Sundararajan, Semmalar Annam, Meesha Ghoshal, Vela Ramamoorthy, Vasanthi, Kalairani, Yaar Kannan, Anandhi Jayaraman, G.L. Srinivasan, R. S. Shivaji & others



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