Rangasthalam movie review: Ram Charan, Samantha Akkineni film beats the formula
Rangasthalam movie review: An oppressive village overlord, a pair of daring duo, played by Ram Charan and Aadhi Pinisetty, a charming village belle, Samantha Akkineni, set the mix right for a commercial film. The good news is that, for most parts, this one works.Updated: Jul 30, 2019 11:59 IST
Cast: Ram Charan, Samantha Akkineni, Aadhi Pinisetty, Jagpathi Babu, Prakash Raj
A man with a God complex (played by Jagpathi Babu), addressed only as president by people, rules a small village, Rangasthalam, in the 1980s Andhra Pradesh. The people of the village are uneducated and completely under the thumb of president and his cohorts. Caught in the vicious cycle of poverty and high rate of interest charged by minions of the president, the villagers are waiting to be liberated. This, as Sukumar’s film tells us soon enough, will be done by two brothers Chitti Babu (Ram Charan) and Kumar Babu (Aadhi Pinisetty).
However, before the oppressed overthrow the oppressor, we will be shown how lack of education leaves villagers open to exploitation, how president’s men take advantage of simple village folk to levy high interest rates and how any voice that is raised in opposition is silenced without mercy. So far, Rangasthalam keeps it to the formula and the clichéd good vs evil story.
Even in this trope, Sukumar adds his own flourishes. The villain’s God complex makes him larger than life, allowing Ram Charan’s hero to equally grow in stature too. The anticipation of the final kill, that confrontation between good and evil also keeps on building throughout Rangasthalam.
Some shots underline this further – the president’s entry shot has him being carried on a chair, with the holy thread visible clearly, sharply in contrast to the surrounding is quite similar to visarjan of any God in our country. Even the dead are expected to respect him and his residence is treated like a temple by the villagers.
The fight is not easy. The oppressor has superstition, loyalty, political power and fear on his side. Villagers have been ruled by one man for 30 years and that has resulted in blind belief that the president is above everyone else.
Kumar Babu, who has returned from Dubai, cannot stand what is happening to his village and hence stands up to the president and files nomination for the upcoming election. He has the support of his brother Chitti, giving him strength to do what others have not attempted so far. But going against the grain, Chitti is worried about his brother, in fact scared enough to doubt everyone. Usually, the lead hero, in this case Ram Charan, is the one who leads such fights. They are fearless and go against anyone who stands in their way. In Rangasthalam, however, we have Ram Charan stand arm-in-arm with onscreen brother Aadhi but at the same time fearful of his safety. This equation adds a refreshing twist to the character of the hero.
Cinematography by Rathnavelu has added great value to the film. The chase sequence in the night, especially when Chitti Babu is taken over by rage, is shot so well and accompanied by great background score. It adds to the drama that unfolds on screen.
At 2 hours 50 minutes, the film is long and could have been edited better, especially the dialogue between the president and Kumar Babu seems stretched.
Prakash Raj is the man who stands in the shadow throughout the film. Initially he supports Kumar Babu, and helps the brothers with the nomination. He is also the game changer in the film, who leaves us stunned in the end. Not because we don’t know where it is headed, but because of the way all of it is presented.
If one is so inclined, you could draw comparisons between the current political climate and the concepts presented in the film.
Samantha Akkineni as Rama Lakshmi is charming. It is because of Rama Lakshmi that the fight begins, making her incidental to the plot of a commercial movie. This is the first film in which Ram Charan and Samantha have worked together, and their chemistry keeps the first half of the film lighthearted.
Rangamma athamma, played by Anasuya Bharadwaj, is a memorable supporting character whose equation with Chitti stands out. The film really belongs to director Sukumar who manages to take up an age-old formula and make it work with his vision.