Vanaratchi In ‘Inspector Rishi’ Explained: Can We Expect To See It In Season 2?


Inspector Rishi is centered around the fictional town of Thaenkaadu in Tamil Nadu, which is facing a series of killings. But it’s not just any kind of serial killing; there’s a supernatural aspect to it because the dead bodies are showing up in weird places and wrapped in a massive spider-web-like cocoon. Initially, it seems like the deaths are occurring randomly, thereby causing a state of panic all over the town, and rumors begin to spread that the mythical Vanaratchi is on the prowl. However, when the titular inspector and his associates start looking into the details, it becomes evident that Vanaratchi is merely a front for a pro-environment movement. So, let’s talk about the myths surrounding Vanaratchi, how they’re wielded by environmentalists, and whether or not we’ll see more of her in the yet-to-be-announced Season 2 of Inspector Rishi.

Spoiler Alert

What Is the Myth of Vanaratchi?

Based on my cursory, surface-level research, there’s no real-life folk tale about something called Vanaratchi. It has been constructed for the Prime Video series Inspector Rishi, and in my opinion, it’s convincing enough to make the general audience look into its authenticity. The opening moments of the show made it seem like the mass suicide of the indigenous tribe, called the Kaanagar, awakened Vanaratchi. The creature looked like a woman. She had a pale, cat-like face. She wore a red saree. She had horns, or antlers, on her head. She apparently had the ability to paralyze her victims. And, in order to scare everyone, she would leave her victims hanging from trees in these creepy-looking cocoons. A documentary (fictional, of course) stated that Vanaratchi was a nature spirit and the savior of the forest (her name literally translates to “forest protector”). The victims of Vanaratchi are mostly men, and since most of these men are pretty obnoxious, she begins to symbolize some kind of feminine rage. An old woman said that since Vanaratchi couldn’t become a mother when she was a human, she goes after children and pregnant women. She suggested the use of iron because it apparently wards off evil spirits. However, most of these myths were proven to be false (and then proven to be true in the last few minutes).

How Is Vanaratchi Used To Protect The Forests?

It’s true that the Kaanagar worshiped Vanaratchi. But they also put in the work to protect the forests they lived in. Since their land was a rich coal reserve, the government and private contractors wanted them to move so that the land could be mined and loads of money could be made. They refused to budge, despite being hit by several waves of intimidation from government officers. Ultimately, they decided to sacrifice themselves so that the horror of their deaths would keep the capitalists at bay. When workers were sent into the caves to inspect the death of a whole tribe, the toxins in there led to hallucinations, and they saw the undead versions of the villagers coming to attack them. This fear-mongering worked for quite a while. However, when Mallika landed in Thaenkaadu, she restarted the project, thereby endangering the forests and the land. 

This prompted the survivors of the mass suicide—Sathya, Kathy, Abdul, Mangai, Thulasi, and Harish—to band together and use the myth of Vanaratchi to kill the people who were not only behind this mining project but also those who were partaking in illegal, anti-environment activities. Mangai and Thulasi used their acting skills to provide the visual scares, while the rest used their resources and strength to corner their targets. They used herbs to paralyze their victims. And they used pheromones to control the web-spinning insects that created those massive cocoons. For their final act, they wanted to kill a bunch of laborers, finish their pro-environment crusade, and keep capitalists and miners away from Thaenkaadu forever. However, they were thwarted by Rishi, Chitra, and Ayyanar. Sathya died in the process, while the rest were arrested. Rishi and Chitra came to the conclusion that there was no Vanaratchi to begin with. Ayyanar thought otherwise.

Can We Expect To See Vanaratchi In Season 2?

During the ending of Inspector Rishi, Ayyanar theorized that although Rishi and Chitra were sure that Vanaratchi was the work of environmental activists and some clever amalgamation of old and new science, there was a real Vanaratchi still roaming in the forests of Thaenkaadu. Since the show had spent so much time proving and then disproving the existence of Vanaratchi, I hoped that writer-director J.S. Nandhini wasn’t going to throw all that work out of the window for a cheap teaser for the second season. Guess what she did? Yes, she chucked all that scientific investigation, fact-finding, and anti-superstition education into the bin and showed an actual Vanaratchi. Apparently, Vanaratchi, the one who appeared before Rishi, wasn’t something conjured by Sathya and his gang of environmental activists. Rishi wasn’t hallucinating. It was an actual Vanaratchi. Apparently, she lives in that very cave where the Kaanagars died; she is the one who killed Bala (because technically speaking, Sathya wasn’t in Thaenkaadu when Bala died), and that means that all the rumors about the creature are true.

At the time of writing this article, Prime Video India hasn’t announced Inspector Rishi Season 2. That depends on the viewership that the show garners and the creator’s wish to flesh out this world. So, everything you are going to read beyond this point is pure speculation. I feel that after Rishi and his colleagues move out of the town, a new series of killings are going to take place. But since the last members of the Kaanagars are in jail, this is going to confuse the hell out of Rishi. He’ll probably try to approach the cases rationally again, and that’ll obviously not work because he will be dealing with a real-life forest spirit. That’ll prompt him to take up some unorthodox approaches and adopt the methods used by the Kaanagars to appease the goddess. Based on their interaction in Season 1, Vanaratchi knows that Rishi is one of the good guys. That’s why she is probably going to listen to his pleas and stop killing people. Of course, Rishi would have to go out of his way to stop the desecration of Thaenkaadu and deal with all the corrupt officials who are destroying the environment. And once Vanaratchi is convinced that Rishi is on her side, she’ll help him secure Thaenkaadu and its forests.

Alternatively, the real-life Vanaratchi tease can be a fakeout. Maybe there are other Kaanagars who are functioning alongside Sathya’s group, and they’ll become more active after the arrest of their brothers and sisters. Sathya and his group said that they were the only survivors of the massacre. But they could’ve totally lied to protect the rest of their tribe. Given how organized the Kaanagars were, they must have predicted the outcome, where they got killed or imprisoned. That’s why they kept the B-team hidden and ordered them to keep the movement alive, but only after the A-team was incapable of doing anything for Thaenkaadu. If this B-team exists, then they need to be even more careful and precise than the A-team because Rishi is aware of the tactics of the Kaanagars. They can’t simply do what Sathya did and hope to be successful. So, it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with Rishi’s methods and vice versa. I hope this is the case because a real-life Vanaratchi will be hard to pull off. The makers of Inspector Rishi have to be really ambitious and inventive to give us a humans versus mythic creatures battle to the death. And, based on their work in the first season, they don’t have the sauce to make that happen.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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