Following the good & bad in Rasavathi (The Alchemist)

Film review by Trailerman Sam (

A Siddha doctor’s tranquil life goes for a toss when a deranged cop becomes an undeniable part of it.

Written, directed and produced by Santhakumar minus his Midas touch, Rasavathi is a 2024 Indian Tamil language romantic thriller.

The hero is none other than Arjun Das as Sadha, who walks with a limp throughout the movie.

As expected, his past is not put into the picture nor the reason till it reaches 1.51 hours of the total run-time of two hours and 26 minutes, before you get to know the agony that he carries within himself of what happened to him in the past.

Co-starring are Tanya Ravichandran, Reshma Venkatesh and Sujith Shankar in the lead roles.

A revenge drama that’s only predictable after each plot is revealed at snail’s pace. And yet too many questions start brewing in your mind, especially about the deranged Kodaikanal’s new inspector Parasuraj (Sujith Shankar), who suffers from unresolved psychiatric illness.

Sadha (Arjun Das) and Soorya (Tanya Ravichandran), both subjected to wretched incidents in their past, carry the weight that have a bearing in their disfigured normal lives. Sadha is a Siddha doctor. (Siddha is the mother medicine of ancient Tamils/Dravidians of peninsular South India).

Tanya Ravichandran does a tidy job of playing a woman, who is a anarchist at heart, but who also has a artless side to her that longs to be protected and understood. She takes up a job as hotel manager in the cool and misty weather of Kodaikanal, also popularly known as the prince of hill stations in India.

Benevolently, ample time is given to know both of these characters. Maybe it can even be said that a little too much time was needed to establish themselves. Even then, the character of Soorya seems to always be at one arm’s length from us.

We get to know what she does professionally and there’s also a back-story about why she chose that job. Just when you have concluded that you have pictured it out of Soorya, there’s also this constant feeling that you still don’t know her. The fault for that isn’t in the performance but in the way she has been presented.

At the onset, we buy into the characters played by Arjun and Tanya, and the chemistry that they share. The shift in tones between the falling-in-love portions on one hand and the grimness of what’s happening with the cop early in the film comes off well.

The major conflict in Rasavathi is between Santhakumar, a soft-spoken and astute Siddha doctor Sadha (Arjun Das) with Kodaikanal’s new inspector Parasuraj (Sujith Shankar). Perturbed by seeing the happy couple, Parasuraj goes out of his way to try wreak havoc in Sadha’s relationship with Soorya.

While it initially looks like the work of a narcissist being unhappy seeing others happy, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

The film spends the majority of its run-time establishing how the good guy is good and the bad guy is bad. Like when Sadha treats an elderly person’s feet while Parasuraj orders his shoelace to be tightened by his subordinate.

Sadha saves people as expected while Parasuraj kills them. Sadha relieves pain to the opposite of Parasuraj, who inflicts it, either emotionally at home, or physically, at work.

Sadha is an animal lover while Parasuraj finds pleasure in burning alive trapped rodents.

The film picks up pace in the second half when a lot of twist and loops get separated out, despite an intriguing conflict and introducing us to Reshma Venkatesh.

Indisputably witty remarks in the film works really well, especially a figurative expression moment featuring Arjun Das and Ramya Subramanian.

What’s captivating about Rasavathi, from the writer’s point of view, is how all its predominant cast have a past. They all try to become a better version of themselves moving forrard.

After a traumatic past that has scarred the main character, both physically and emotionally, Sadha feels he is in a better place, both figuratively and literally, trying to use the knowledge he has gained in the process for the betterment of humanity.

On the flip side, Parasuraj, as someone who grew up with a troubled childhood, is yet to process his suppressed pain, which often flares out in an undesirable manner.

On the whole, Rasavathi is an engaging film that keeps us pinned despite the storyline being very thin.