Ario Bayu has been rightly chosen for the character of Soeraja in the series Cigarette Girl, currently streaming on Netflix. His amazing acting skills have done justice to the complex character of Raja. We are left wondering whether the character can be categorized as black or white. But the character falls mostly on the gray spectrum, with a mix of good and bad. We are compelled to believe that the character is clear-hearted, but when he makes certain life decisions, we start questioning his love for Dasiyah. What is Raja’s real identity? Why does he betray Dasiyah? Answers to these questions can only be found if we explore Raja’s character further.
What Did Raja Feel For Dasiyah?
Raja, a man of huge stature, is spotted fighting some miscreants on the streets by Dasiyah. The way he looks at her makes her feel wanted, and she convinces her father, Mr. Idroes, to give him shelter. He had started proving to be a valuable asset for Mr. Idroes’ cigarette factory, and by his sheer will and hard work, he had greatly increased the profit margins. He is eventually seen taking interest in Dasiyah and tries to woo her. He gives her access to the blue flavor-making room, making her gain greater trust in him. He later confesses his love to her, and slowly the love affair between Dasiyah and Raja started growing stronger after her marriage got fixed with Seno. There is a possibility that Raja was interested in her father’s business rather than in her, making him take a leap forward even when he learns that her marriage has been fixed. Later, when a tragedy befalls Dasiyah and she is taken prisoner and loses all family riches, he does not leave behind his wealth to be with her. This makes it clear that Raja was not truly in love with Dasiyah.
What Was Raja’s Real Identity?
When Dasiyah is blinded by her love for Raja, she breaks off her marriage with Seno Aji. Despite being told off by Dasiyah, Seno still cares for her and does a background search on Raja to ensure that she is in safe hands. He confronts Raja and tells him that a dignified woman like Dasiyah should not get married to a person like him. He accuses Raja of being a puppet in the hands of the communists. He is blamed to be involved with the opposition party in the country, hence getting involved in several fights that made him end up in prison. It is possible that the first scene in which we see him running from some miscreants was because he had been involved in some illegal acts, making others seek him. He later tries covering it up in front of Mr. Idroes by telling him that he wanted to help some people from loan sharks and was hence being chased by their men. His name was on the list of the soldiers when they were murdering people, but that had somehow been removed by Djaged and replaced with Mr. Idroes’ name. Djaged had saved Raja for his own interests to gain a better market position in the cigarette business than the Idroes family.
Why Did He Betray Dasiyah?
It was nothing new for Raja to woo women from wealthy families. When Dasiyah’s family was in a good state, he tried wooing her. Later, when she lost all her riches and had been taken captive, he turned to their rival, Djaged. He knew that Djaged’s daughter, Purwanti, already had an interest in him and tried wooing her to get a partnership in her father’s business. He makes up a false narrative that he had been associating with Djaged to keep Dasiyah safe, but he does not even try looking for her family when she is taken away as a prisoner. His main motive was to gain riches by selling Dasiyah’s secret recipe to Djaged after she was gone. He says that he wants to ensure Dasiyah’s safety by associating with Djaged, as he has a good connection with the general of the military forces. But if he had been so concerned about her whereabouts, he would have gone back to her immediately after she returned from prison. He did not want to give up on his riches and start everything from scratch with Dasiyah. He married Purwanti and was leading a luxurious life by building his own cigarette brand along with Djaged, called the DR. Dasiyah, on the other hand, had felt extremely betrayed by him, and she had given up her hopes of ever being loved selflessly by any man again.
Did Raja Finally Realize His Mistake?
On his deathbed, Raja realized the mistakes that he had made in life by not sticking by Dasiyah’s side. Neither could he be a good husband to Purwanti nor could he be a good partner to Dasiyah. He told his son, Leban, to search for Dasiyah so that he could apologize to her one last time. The guilt had burdened his heart, as he was seen to have frequent nightmares and expressed his apologies to Dasiyah in his sleep. He kept blabbering that Djaged was behind all the misfortune in her family and that he wanted to make things right. Raja had told his son that, on realizing that he had not been fair to Dasiyah, he had tried going back to her to stay with her, but that could never happen. He also said that in order to make amends for his mistakes, he had searched for the families of Mr. Idroes’ employees and compensated them so that they could live life happily. During his final days, he finally realized what he had given up on just to gain the momentary pleasure of material riches. When he finally meets Arum, he apologizes to her for the sorrows that he had caused Dasiyah and requests that she take him to her grave.
There is a stark contrast between the characters of Dasiyah and Raja. Dasiyah had the confidence that she could rebuild everything if she had her love by her side. On the other hand, Raja was insecure about losing his wealth and refused to choose Dasiyah when she returned to him. The opportunistic mindset of Raja rings through the film. I would say that he used Dasiyah as a stepping stone for his success. He had betrayed her trust and given the secret recipe to her rivals. Despite the director’s attempts to present Rajas’ intentions as moral, I could not think of him as a good character. His character has been dicey from the very beginning, appearing out of the blue in the lives of the Idroes family and ruining them. It is possible that he had been planted by Djaged into the family to help him gain all the family secrets and attain a better hold on the cigarette industry than the Idroes family. His character is also a contrast to Seno Aji’s, who loved Dasiyah selflessly and looked out for her interests rather than focusing on his own. The presentation of Raja has been done well in the series by adding multiple layers to the character. As each layer is peeled off, we are more curious to know his real self. Raja’s character makes us crave sequels to this mini-series, so that more secrets and his real intentions from the very beginning could be revealed!