For a change, Ranam is an action movie that, instead of brooding and dunking your weary head into gloomy rivers of blood, brings on merry, rhythmic fights and brawls synchronized to rambunctious mob music.
Ranam is for the masses if ever there was any such thing, and the masses are all there, screaming along with the boisterous songs, imitating Gopichand's dancing - his sneer, his jerks and his thrusts. The gamine looking Kamna Jethmalani exposes her pubescent assets at every turn, and the ugly, gargoyle of a villain and his underlings get so regularly and fashionably thulped, the joy rises uncontrollably within you like lava through a volcano fissure.
Ranam is so feel good, you are rolling in it like a child in playpen balls - throwing them up in the air, and feeling like an angel. And just when you expect things might take a turn for the worse, out comes Chinna (Gopichand) with another crackerjack trick up his sleeve, and absolutely flattens the goons plainer than a tarpaulin sheet.
In essence, Chinna plays something of the next avatar of Lord Vishnu, occasionally resorting to a Vishwaroopam. He is a varying combination of Jackie Chan, Van Damme, The Mask, Superman and The Hulk. While special effects are thrown in to make him do stupidly impossible stunts such as kicking off a man who is falling on to him from the sky while he is lying down, the tackiness of it all is not the first thing that occurs to you. 'Cause there is so much humor and so much prelude and lore surrounding his superhuman strength, the fracas and shenanigans are simply ultra-fun.
Chinna is a college student who has come from Ongole to study in a college in Hyderabad. Maheshwari (Kamna Jethmalani) is the sister of a local don Bhagavati who is as fiendish and psychotic as one of the Batman villains. So obviously Chinna crosses paths with Bhagavathi, and a very juicy, long-drawn strife begins.
Now Chinna doesn't play our ordinary Tollywood hero, beating up every man who comes his way without restraint and taking a walloping himself when cornered. Instead, he plays a wiseguy who artfully slips out of every trap laid for him. Then when you are thinking that's all he is good at, he rolls up his sleeves and busts jaws and crunches knee-caps.
To top it all he plays one-up mind-games, and so deceitful, weasely and roguish is he, you feel safe in his hands against any villain. Maheshwari meanwhile romps and frolics around, and thankfully there are no scenes of the bullying big-brother trying to keep his sis away from his arch-enemy.
Rama Prabha plays Maheshwari's grandmother, and is hilarious, uttering her strongly accented, spicy dialogue. Ali and Venu Madhav who play Chinna's classmates also make the audience guffaw all a time.
Songs like Hey Chinna have an unabashedly raucous, celebratory, thumping beat, the kind your heart starts pumping blood in step with, after a while. And the dances have everything - whether the mania of a festival procession or the glibness of a moonwalk.
There is not much of the story left to relate except that the hoodlum gets tamed in the end and the girl is comfortably lodged in the hero's arm. It is only the loud carousal that leads up to the end, that makes Ranam such a riot to watch.
Yet, a word of caution - it is a *mass* movie. Brusque dialogue and preposterous action sequences are its hallmark. Subtlety is on the exile here, and if you are looking for understated realism, you will see a bunch of cockamamie.
That disclaimer apart, if you let go, and snap off your seat-belts, you are in for a 3 hour party. And that is the way it ought to be seen. Enjoy yourself.