Ram Charan in most of his career preferred enacting mass and action entertaining films with due importance to commercial aspects. His previous offing Dhruva was made as an action thriller. He has come up with complete makeover for Rangasthalam in Sukumar direction backed by strong production house of Mythri Movies. Meanwhile songs from Devi Sri Prasad stood chartbusters and Samantha’s cute expressions too went viral into audience. Let us see, what is Rangasthalam all about?
Chitti Babu (Ram Charan) is partially hearing impaired person who lives in a small Godavari village called Rangasthalam with his poor family. He falls for Rama Lakshmi (Samantha) from the same village. Meanwhile, Rangasthalam is under the clutches of feudalistic president Phanindra Bhupathi (Jagapathi Babu), who is ruling the village from 30 years. His ruthless, monopolistic and cruel acts suffer agrarian villagers to the core looting their crop yield and lands. Vexed by his atrocities decisions, Chitti Babu's brother Kumar Babu (Aadhi) from Dubai backed by senior politician Dakshina Murthy (Prakash Raj) initiates a rebellion filing nomination for village President Elections pitting against Phanindra Bhupathi. Conflict between two groups ultimately leads to the death of Kumar Babu. How does Chittibabu react for his brother's death? How he took revenge?
Director Sukumar carved out a niche for himself from all his previous films which were in fact puzzlers. This time he attempted a contrastingly raw and crude script. In spite of lengthy runtime of 3 hours, Sukku ensured that screen play and firmly etched characters drive the narrative with firm grip. May it be the innocent romantic track or Ram Charan and Anasuya's interesting sub plot or emotional bonding between brothers or extreme levels of villainy showcased the master expertise in Sukku’s direction. Being a film of 1980s backdrop, every minute thing is taken well care of to reflect the ambience of that period.
Devi Sri Prasad musical score on songs and background is the biggest plus. Entha Sakkagunnave, Rangamma Mangamma songs stay in our hearts for long. Picturization also stood out. Lyricists gave their best shot and hats off to Chandra Bose. Ratnavelu’s extra ordinary cinematography is one more highlight. Papikondalu were projected beautifully than ever. Navin Nooli’s editing could have been still better in second half where the narrative seemed dragged. Production design by Ramakrishna Monika is top notch. Each and every setting with microscopic detailing enhanced the rural traditions and culture prevailed during 1985. Producers Naveen Yerneni, Ravi Shankar and Mohan from Mythri Movie Makers are the real winners.
Onto artists, those who are accustomed to watch Ram Charan in routine roles are sure to get a shocker with this distinctively rustic and rugged characterization. As a hearing impaired, he showed great variations. H excelled in stunts, comedy, emotion, romance, dances… name any area and Chitti Babu is amazing. Certainly, Charan deserves meticulous awards for this outstanding performance. Samantha exhibited equally a natural performance. Despite her character is unlinked with core plot, she is sure to leave an impression. Anasuya looked hot in village saris as Rangammaththa and undoubtedly best till date in her career. Jagapathi Babu stole the shot with his menacing looks while Prakash Raj’s hidden villainy momentously gives a jolt. Aadhi Pinishetty bagged a meaty tragic character that haunts long. Naresh, Rohini, Amit Sharma, Brahmaji and others did their part.
Pre Interval, Climax
Mid Second Half
Lengthy Run Time
Commercial handling of an artistic script in retro time frame with social and political equations in rural backdrop is a new ball game. Though Chiranjeevi endeavored on similar ones independently in Khaidi, Rudraveena kind of films, it is too early for Charan to try similar ones. Thanks to brilliantly skilled writer cum director Sukumar and Charan is here with best film of his career that multiplied his respect as an artist.
Rangasthalam first half is a blend of love, action, comedy and emotions between various characters. 1980s houses, pump sets, bicycles, Rajdoot bike, attires of village people were portrayed flawlessly establishing the rural atmosphere. All three songs Ranga Ranga, Entha Sakkagunnave and Rangamma Mangamma have been shot well. With romance on one hand, the core conflict side of Jagapathi Babu as barbaric village president and Aadhi as revolutionary leader are well presented. One episode of JB’s sidekicks commenting on Charan’s grand ma is full of goose bumps. Pre interval and interval blocks are cleverly written with sudden change in mood of the story.
Second half is filled with tad lengthy over dosed sentiment and high octane emotional sequences. Charan, Samantha track ate most of time before pulling the focus on elections. Aadhi's death scene and Charan's performance here was at blue chip. But then, the death journey and background song created a Tamil hangover. Pooja Hege’s Jigel Rani is just average. Pre climax is though cinematic, unusual twists and turns in climax balance the drawbacks engaging the audience in surprise.
Altogether, Rangasthalam is a film with depth in characters on a commercial treatment backed by top notch technical department and startling performances from Charan, Samantha. Despite a few hiccups here and there in second half, it’s a well made film with high chances to deserve a place in current generation Tollywood classic library. Summer holidays, long weekend can be a bonus at Box Office. Irrespective of a few constraints, Rangasthalam can connect equally well with audience of all sections. CJ goes with 3.25 stars waiting for commercial verdict to speak the rest.