Rangasthalam review: Ram Charan steals the show!
A simple revenge drama
Critic's Rating: 3/5
Friday 30 March 2018
Rangasthalam review: Ram Charan steals the show!
Ram Charan, Samantha Akkineni, Anasuya Bharadwaj, Aadhi Pinisetty, Prakash Raj, Jagapati Babu, Amit Sharma, Naresh, Rohini, Bramhaji, Gauthami,Rajesh Diwakar
Circa 1980. Place: Rangasthalam village. There were no cell-phones, no internet, and no modern amenities. Everyone did manual jobs. Chitti Babu (Ram Charan), the village’s favourite young lad, is the most-hardworking person. Despite being hearing impaired, he does everything – watering the fields with pump sets, etc. - with so much ease. He develops love towards the village beauty Rama Lakshmi (Samantha). The village has a president Phanidra Bhupati (Jagapathi Babu) who has been ruling it for many decades unopposed. The farmer’s co-operative society run by the president’s henchmen make sure that the farmers are never loan-free. Turbulence happens in his life when his Dubai-returned brother Kumar Babu (Aadhi) fields in village president elections. The calm, serene village turns into a killing field. Chitti Babu now is out to take vengeance.
Rangasthalam is name of the village but it also means ‘stage’. As the title song lyrics go (Kanapadani Cheyyedo Aadisthunnaa Aata Bommalam Antaa..), the villagers are mere actors in this stage play that is scripted/directed by some visible forces and some invisible forces. This theme is brought out well by director Sukumar in this period-drama. On the surface, it may seem just a revenge drama set in 1980’s but it actually talks about how politicians use people as pawns to achieve their goals.
The film depicts the simple rural life of 1980’s in the agency area (Rampachodavaram and Devipatnam region in East Godavari district). It begins as a youngster revolting against the oppressive and feudalistic president but there are some surprise elements as it progresses towards the penultimate.
The story begins with local MLA (played by Prakash Raj) getting injured in an accident and Chitti Babu saving him and then reveals the backstory of Chitti Babu and his village story. At the interval, we come back to the first scene and post-interval the drama goes back to the episode of Chitti Babu’s brother Kumar Babu vs village president. This back and forth screenplay is cleverly used to tell the simple story of village politics and revenge drama by writer-director Sukumar.Most of the comedy and dramatic sequences in the film revolves around the protagonist being hearing impaired. The major twist in the story has perfect link this angle.
Director Sukumar presents the villains through the village politics but sometimes appearances can be deceptive. How to find the real villain who wears the mask of a gentleman? This is the main plot of this revenge drama.
Films with the rural setup, the 80’s period and the cult elements were made in Tamil in the recent past. Known as ‘Madhurai movies”, films like “Subramanyapuram” generated a huge following. However, Sukumar’s Rangasthalam is not Subramanyapuram. His is lighter version.
While the first half of the movie deals with Charan and Samantha’s romance, the fun part, the second half turns very serious. Sukumar has succeeded in transporting us to the agency area of the 80’s but some scenes have more of Tamil-flavour. And also the second-half turns slow.
The film completely belongs to Ram Charan. His performance is the pillar of the movie. In his decade-long career, Ram Charan never got the chance to showcase pure acting skills until now. It is here in this film that the actor in him has come out. He has completely surrendered to the role of Chitti Babu. This is the toughest role for him (playing deaf and slipping into rural character). He has got the expressions, body language and the dialect right. It is evident that he has put his heart into this role. His performance shines through.
Samantha as Rama Lakshmi is endearing. In the village belle role, she has shined. She is said to have played this role without much makeup. She is perfect. The dubbing-artiste who has lent voice has done an excellent job, her Godavari dialect is pitch-perfect.
Anasuya as Rangamma has a meaty role and she has played it with flair. Hers is not seductress character but of a meaningful one. Jagapathi Babu as president of the village is apt. Prakash Raj gives his best. Pooja Hegde in an item song is huge a disappointment, the song comes at the wrong time. Aadhi Pinishetty as Kumar Babu is perfect.
Devi Sri Prasad always reserves best for Sukumar. Yentha Sakkagunnave and Rangamma Mangamma have worked out well in the film. His music is a huge plus for the film. His background score is more effective. Rathavelu’s camera has cranked the Godavari delta area beautifully and he made the set of the village look real with his evocative camera work.
Watch the trailer here:
Ramakrishna and Mounika, the production designers, have done a commendable job. Their village set is so real. The film’s story happens in a village somewhere in Devipatnam of a tribal agency but the village is not real, it was created in Hyderabad by these two art directors. Dialogue writing is neat and in sync with the theme. Editing is neat but the 179-minute runtime definitely needs trimming.
Sukumar had written the script for his debut movie Arya. Later he has started depending on others writing. After such a long gap, he has written story, screenplay and dialogues. Though the story is flimsy, his screenplay and narration are engaging. Known as urban director, he has attempted rustic theme with élan.
Ram Charan with his absolutely riveting performance steals the show in Rangasthalam. The simple theme of revenge and village politics of 1980’s is told in an engaging way by creating the mood and atmosphere. The village politics and the crude president......all these are 80’s themes. Sukumar has not brought out anything new as far as the plot is concerned. But he has brought out best performances and created temperament. Despite lengthy runtime and slow-pace, it holds the attention until the end.
Rangasthalam review: 3 Stars
Reactions from Social Media:
Pravallika Anjuri @ipravallika
#Rangasthalam has come out as this successful-crowd pulling-commercial entertainer after a longtime in TFI,besides offering newness in every bit of it. Clearly a wholesome experience which is to be felt. Rush to theatres next to you. #RamCharan chittibabu tho premalo padandi
Sushanth Nallapareddy @sushanthreddy
Whatte film !! Just when you think it’s getting predictable Sukumar brings out his genius. And climax left me speechless. That last shot. Fuck. #Rangasthalam is pure masterclass.
Varun Karthik @Va_Runn
Chitti babu character will be remembered ...such an emotional n intriguing character it is...Charan's best acting till date...acting improve avvadam kaadu,idi ra acting ani chupinchadu..simple ga cheppalante ruffadinchadu #Rangasthalam #RangasthalamDay
Hyper Aadhi @AadhiHyper
Chitti babu Magic All Over
Hearing positive Reports All Over
Congrts To The Entire Team Of #Rangasthalam
Chitti Babu Mass Chudaniki Time Aindi
Hittu bomma.. Charan as an actor 100%Liked Ramcharan #Rangasthalam
Haricharan Pudipeddi @pudiharicharan
Loved #Rangasthalam. Finally, we have a film that does full justice to the title. A gutsy attempt from Sukumar to take the rural backdrop to narrate a story of politics and deceit, without taking away the essence of the milieu.
Ram Charan's version of Nata Vishwaroopam. Heart and soul pettesadu prathi scene lo. He dominated every fucking frame. Sukku's best work. Superhit #Rangasthalam
If #Dhruva was a baby step, #Rangasthalam is a giant leap. The reinvention of Ram Charan in full flow. Career defining performance.
#Rangasthalam Done! What a classic sukku! You are a genius.. ah drama ah emotions superb!! Finally charan, he LIVED the role finally sukku opened charan’s acting talent.. can’t wait for NTR- CHARAN combo
Kathi Mahesh @kathimahesh
#Rangasthalam is old wine in old bottle. 80s story told in 80s style and setting. Ratnavelu's brilliant cinematography. Very good performances from the entire cast make this unnecessarily long film bearable.
nenu intellectual. em heekkuntaaro heekkondi @pavanztweet
The name is charan. Ram charan. All the duckers who trolled him will keep their mouths shut for the rest of their stupid fu%#ing lives #rangasthalam
#Rangasthalam is the first Blockbuster for this Summer. Ram Charan delivered OUTSTANDING performance as Chittibabu along with Samantha’s SPLENDID role as Rama Lakshmi.
It is not always that a sequel lives up to the huge expectations of the highly successful original. Drishyam 2 does that in a brilliant way. Go for this one!
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