No, there's no reference to Pavan Kalyan. There are some lines even RGV won't cross.
In fact, Rakta Charitra is more about the lines RGV didn't cross. He's made 2 movies featuring 2 grisly adversaries who saw the law more as a hurdle than as a perimeter, and who broke it without even giving that act the importance it deserves. Yet, they come off as heroes in his story-telling, people you're rooting for. In fact, there's almost no living person who RGV's shown as a cold-blooded villian in his biopic.
Indeed, by showing all his protagonists as people paying the price for the sins committed by those long dead, Varma has proven what we always knew - that the victors write the history books. Given that Ravi's family still rules, and that Suri is alive with a reputation that precedes him, anyone recording their history has few options, and RGV's certainly stayed well within the lines that become visible only when you want to cross them.
What RGV's done, is to create expectations that he is boldly going where no man has ever gone before, and actually make it look like he met them. Did someone call him crazy? Look who's having the last laugh.
Rakta Charitra 2 follows in the vendetta trail set by its prequel, which featured the kamikaze mission of a man set to avenge his family's death, and which documented his rise to indomitable power in the wake. But the path that Pratap Ravi (Vivek Oberoi) had taken to meet that success is strewn with dead bodies, and some of them belonged to people who had never wronged him but tragically got entangled in the vicious cycle of revenge-killing. Among a score such innocent victims are the mother, brother and sister of Surya (Surya), a soft-spoken and earnest engineer, and son of Narasimha Reddy who was butchered by Ravi to avenge the murder of Ravi's family.
Nothing gives a man more courage than having nothing to live for, and Surya's hatred for Pratap consumes him. And no, it's not just a narrator telling you this - they've got a seasoned actor portraying him, and every twitch of his nerves, his smouldering eyes and his feral body language is used as a tool to spill his emotions onto the sepia-tinted frames of the movie.
The film opens with the highlights of the prequel in the first half hour, setting the stage while simultaneously clearing up any lingering doubts you may have from part 1. It shows a Surya initially abhorrent of the carnivorous people of his native town, who does not retaliate against Pratap for the death of his father, choosing instead to save his family, moving them to a different place.
Pratap Ravi, in a bid to curb all dissident voices before he joins politics, orders his henchmen to kill everyone who they thought was an enemy. Surya's brother's empty threats to kill Ravi result in his family members making it to Ravi's list of enemies, and they are blown away in a resounding TV-bomb blast. And this results in the inevitable - Surya has only one goal in his life now.
Both Rakta Charitra 1 and 2 have similar storylines where the scions of 2 families stooped in blood-baths are sucked into a dark world to avenge their families' deaths. But while the first part saddles itself on brawn-power and brazen violence, the second shows a shrewd player who plots his antagonist's murder from jail, making canny moves like a chess-player would.
Vivek Oberoi ably protrays the mellowed politician who shows flashes of his bestial side when he himself becomes the hunted. Shatrughan Sinha does not have much to do. Sudeep (who had a blink-and-you-miss role in part 1) puts in an impressive performance as DCP Mohan Prasad who lays the trap for Surya's surrender, but ends up saluting him for his pluck. Priyamani is good as Surya's wife Bhavani, pitted against Pratap Ravi as his political adversary.
None of the acts, however, eclipses that of Surya, the much-decorated Tamil actor who can speak a thousand words with his eyes. When he sees the body of his mother split into halves after the bomb blast, horror, disgust and pain pass like fleeting images on his face, and no dialogue-writer could have filled with words what Surya conveys in his silence.
Rakta Charitra 2 could have been dismissed as another revenge story, but it stands out due, apart from the local relevance, to Ram Gopal Varma's style of story-telling and his vaunted production values. The camera-angles, background music and the heavily-punctuated dialogues go into making every frame real. The only sore thumb is the pace of the film, which seems to drag at places, mainly in the second half. Though the director's eye for detail brings makes most of the action scenes stand out, it drags the narrative in the emotional confrontations.
Rakta Charitra 2 might garner interest for its controversial prequel and its political innuendos, but if you are not interested in any of these, watch it for Surya in whom RGV might have found a Shiva again.