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'Rangasthalam' Review: Charan Steals The Show

Movie: Rangasthalam
Rating: 3.25/5
Banner:
Mythri Movie Makers
Cast: Ram Charan, Samantha Akkineni, Anasuya Bharadwaj, Aadhi Pinisetty, Prakash Raj, Jagapati Babu, Amit Sharma, Pooja Hegde and others
Music: Devi Sri Prasad
Cinematography: R. Rathnavelu
Editing: Navin Nooli
Production design: Ramakrishna, Mounika
Action stunts: Ram - Laxman 
Producers: Naveen Yerneni, Y. Ravi Shankar, Mohan Cherukuri
Story, screenplay and Direction: Sukumar
Release date: March 30, 2018

One film that has been generating lots of buzz for the last few months is Ram Charan and Sukumar’s “Rangasthalam”.

The film has generated a huge interest among film lovers, and of course Charan’s fans. Amidst high expectations, this rural drama set in the '80s has hit the screens.

Let’s find out if the film lives up to the expectations...

Story:
In the 1980’s, in a fictional village called Rangasthalam in Andhra Pradesh, Chitti Babu (Ram Charan) leads a happy life doing agricultural work. He is partly deaf. He falls for the charms of the village belle Ramalakshmi (Samantha).

When his life is going smooth, trouble arises when his well-educated elder brother Kumar Babu (Aadi Pinisetty) contests for the gram panchayat elections against the ruling president (Jagapathi Babu).

Village rumour has it that the president’s men killed many people who tried to contest against him in the past.

Can he remain silent when Kumar Babu threatens to unseat him? The village politics turn murkier forcing Chitti Babu to take up the sword.

Artistes’ Performances:
Undoubtedly, this is Ram Charan’s best performance of his career. Playing a deaf character is challenging for any artiste and it is even tougher for a mass star like Charan. He daringly accepted this role and put in his heart into the role of Chitti Babu, shutting the mouths of his detractors. Even when the film turns dull during the second half, he glues us to the screens with his performance. His terrific act is the real highlight of the film.

Samantha as village girl Rama Lakshmi, also does a terrific job. It's surprising to see her switching effortlessly into the role.

Aadi Pinisetty gets a prominent role and he does a good job. In the two important roles, Jagapathi Babu as village’s landlord and Prakash Raj as MLA Dakshina Murthy, have both given their best performances.

Anasuya as Rangamma is a surprise. She shines in this role.

Technical Excellence:
Sukumar’s movies always carry high technical and aesthetic values. Though the film is set in 1985 in an interior village, the locales, the sets and the production design is stunning. Entire Godavari village is realistically recreated by art directors Ramakrishna and Mounika.

The ever-dependable Rathnavelu has also captured the rugged rustic beauty and the picturesque Godavari belt in an eye-catching manner.

But music is definitely the film's strength. The song “Yentha sakkagunnave” is excellently filmed. “Rangamma mangamma” has great verve. There are two bit songs too. Devi Sri Prasad has given best output with background score.

Action stunts are okay. Editing needs crispiness especially in the later part of the movie.

Highlights:
Ram Charan
Performance of all actors
Music
Production design 
Final twist

Drawback:
Regular revenge theme
Drags Inbetween

Analysis:
With the very first scene that shows Ram Charan speeding his bicycle to save Prakash Raj from the road accident, the film takes us to the 1980’s rural area. Without taking much time, Sukumar establishes the story and the characters. We have a hero who has hearing problem. We have a village president who is evil and corrupt. We have a beautiful girl. And a well-educated brother of hero who wants to bring change in the village. The characters and their motives are established in the very beginning. Story is set. Conflict is created.

To hold the interest for two hours, Sukumar uses a back and forth narrative. In fact, the beginning and the climax part of “Rangasthalam” reminds us of recent Nani starrer “MCA”.

The conflict between a good young guy and the ruthless village president is seen in many films in the 1980’s. As the story is too familiar, Sukumar has focused on other elements.

Sukumar has not attempted anything novel in terms of plot, but he succeeds in bringing out best performances and transports us to the rural area of AP during the 1980’s.

Also, he has written the characterization of hero Ram Charan differently which is the main strength. Hero playing a guy with hearing problems is somewhat unusual. This handicap is effectively used in driving the story and screenplay. Every twist and turn in the film is based on this deficiency of the hero. But the politics shown here are too naïve and clichéd.

In earlier movies, Sukumar had indulged in mathematical equations and made audiences use their brains. Here he has chosen a simple story, regular situations, but this time he has indulged in over melodrama.

Jagapathi Babu’s menacing performance (he hardly speaks in the entire movie), Samantha’s fun role as Ramalakshmi, Anasuya’s characterization make a lot of difference to this regular story.

As said earlier, Sukumar puts more focus on creating mood: the village scene, the '80’s period, the dialects of the actors, the customs and the tirunallu… all are pitch perfect and create a fresh feel. Both his actors and technicians have put in their best work for this film.

The art work is exceptionally good. The camera work is beautiful. Though not all songs are catchy, Devi Sri Prasad has given one of the best outputs. Thus, the film works on these aspects and fails in presenting any new point.

Like in his previous movies, Sukumar begins well, but loses grip in the second half. While the first half of the movie has many moments especially the romantic track of Charan and Samantha, the second half is clichéd drama. Moreover, by the end of the movie, one gets 'heavy' feel by the runtime and melodrama.

Overall, “Rangasthalam” is not a regular mass film. Nor is the story different. It is all about performances and best production design. Ram Charan gets to show the world that he is a good actor too, apart from having good dance moves.

Bottom-line: Worth Visiting

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