Ram Gopal Varma’s “Vangaveeti”

Ram Gopal Varma, commonly referred as Ramu or RGV, is one of the few directors in the Indian film circuit to have made memorable movies that should the test of time. He is particularly renowned for his ability to choose subjects that would garner more controversy than the response. His latest outing “Vangaveeti” is based on the life events of politician-turned-gangster Vangaveeti Radha and his brother Mohan Ranga.

Disclaimer: I am not here to verify the authenticity of the events shown in the movie. I watched this movie as any story but more attentiveness only because it had lives of real people involved.

Set in the 1970s Vijayawada, which was a commercial capital and key trade center for the state of Andhra Pradesh, the city had witnessed its share of caste, political and union based riots. Hundreds of people lost their lives and several thousands of rupees exchanged hands.

The movie is narrated with flag points marked at four major events that shook the city of Vijayawada.

First, the murder of communist leader Venkata Rathnam (Vamsi Nakkanti).  He was killed by a youngster named Vangaveeti Radha (Sandeep Kumar) who started to evolve himself in the ranks of city’s rowdy gangs.

Second, the murder of Vangaveeti Radha. The murder of Venkata Rathnam made Radha cult leader among the trade circles- auto, taxi and student unions started to regard him as their leader. Radha evolved as a strong force who helped two brothers set up a student union named United Independents. Devineni Gandhi (Kautilya) and Devineni Nehru (Shritej) with the support of Radha gained more and more support until Radha was killed brutally.

Third, the murder of Devineni Gandhi. After the murder of Radha, his brother Vangaveeti Mohana Ranga (Sandeep, Dual Role) was forced to be that face of the community that needed a support. Everything seemed to go well with Ranga, Gandhi, and Nehru until one day procession leading to huge support of Gandhi and Nehru raised concerns among Ranga’s circle. The action it demanded was the murder of Devineni Gandhi.

Fourth, the murder of Devineni Murali. The death of Gandhi brought the man out of younger brother of Devineni family, Murali (Vamsi Chaganti). He wanted revenge but Ranga’s stature had grown multiple folds as he stepped into the political arena and became a Member of Legislative Assembly. Murali, hot blooded, he is couldn’t resist the temptation once his brother Nehru won in the local elections next time. He calls Ranga’s home and warns his wife Ratna Kumari (Naina Ganguly). Ranga, a man usually composed, silent and thought a lot before acting was left with no choice but to kill Murali.

Conclusion, the murder of Vangaveeti Mohana Ranga. With both his brothers killed by someone who he supported and respected all his life, Nehru couldn’t take it any longer. During an agitation, he plans for the murder of Ranga as a revenge for his brother.

The death of Ranga has marked the end of Vijayawada rowdyism as the caste politics took the center stage in the years to come.

Performances: Sandeep Kumar made a wonderful debut with both the characters. He played both the brothers, Radha and Ranga. He is just absolutely brilliant in the role – his mannerisms, dressing, body language and dialogue delivery are spot on. He is here to stay.

All three Devineni brothers did their job to the best of their abilities. Naina Ganguly gets a role with a lot of weight to it – she is beautiful, naughty and when it is time, she needed to be angry. She got her expressions perfectly right.

The important thing that RGV corrected from his critically acclaimed movie based on factionism, Raktha Charitra, is the dialogue. The dialogues communicate the emotion brilliantly and even more ferocious is the silence.

Direction: No one can set up camera angles as excellently as Ramu does. He got this thing spot on. The camera for most of the time doesn’t remain constant, as an outsider for the events happening on screen, it acts with the eagerness of viewer to know what’s happening all around the event. If there is someone who can make this movie as good it is, that would be RGV himself.

Overall, Ram Gopal Varma’s biographical movie “Vangaveeti” about ex-gangster Vangaveeti Radha and his politician brother Ranga communicates the story effectively on screen. With limited camera movements and excessive blood flow, Ramu pays tribute to the rowdyism on the streets of Vijayawada in the presence of Goddess Durga.

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Release: 2016 | A | Runtime: 139 Mins |

Direction: Ram Gopal Varma | Screenplay: Ram Gopal Varma |

Cinematographer: Rahul Srivastav, K. Dilip Varma, Surya Chowdhary |

Editor: Siddhartha Ratholu |

Music: Ravi Shankar |

Production: Bad-Cow films |

Cast: Sandeep Kumar, Vamsi Nakkanti, Vamsi Chaganti, Naina Ganguly, Kautilya, ShriTej

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