Rangasthalam - Strikes a chord !!!
You get to know the story of Rangasthalam through someone and you might assume it to be another run of the mill Telugu potboiler. Well you cannot be faulted as that is how the story might sound on paper. But Sukumar through Rangasthalam reiterates that a movie more often than not is more about how something is presented and the 'what' does take a backseat subconsciously once you get invested emotionally with the characters on screen.
On the surface, Rangasthalam might be a revenge drama but the revenge only occupies the last segment of the film. Upto then Sukumar ensures that we soak in the drama. Given a checklist of cliches, Rangasthalam does pack in everything but the writing is good and though the characters are mostly uni dimensional, the best thing about the film is that there is life in the drama on screen. As someone with no idea about Andhra of the 80s I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the period (1980) shown on screen. But what you get on screen is visually pleasant. Rathnavelu paints the screen with lucid colours that are enchanting but never goes overboard such that it sticks out from the narrative. Devi Sri Prasad too delivers the goods with some enjoyable music.
The acting is mostly good. Ram Charan is in fine form as the innocent and brawny youngster whose hearing impairment does not play out as a mere gimmick and is used very well as a tool to aid the narrative. His is a solid performance within the domain of popular Telugu cinema. Aadhi is very good as his brother and Sukumar does well in not making him a gullible and weak man with a good heart in trying to garner our sympathy. And how impactful it is when we have a villain whose decibel level is the lowest of all the characters.
The pacing seems to be deliberately moderate and I quite enjoyed it. Sukumar is also clever enough to ensure that he has some scenes for the masses. But even these scenes are a far cry from the mundane hero worshipping vehicles that Telugu cinema is guilty of. Predictability is what could be the film's achilles heel but the climax makes strong amends and while it surprises, it is also played out organically and the film is not guilty of playing it out for shock value.The other issue I had with the film was that all the characters that inhabit Rangasthalam are either black or white. It sort of removes the possibility of having an internal conflict for any of the principal characters in a film that runs for almost 3 full hours.
Sukumar delivers a solid film that packs a punch with a strong emotional connect.