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Rangasthalam Review

T J Reddy /
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait to rent it
If there is one rule the world has reaffirmed over the course of the last half-decade, it is that elections are won with emotions and not facts. This plainly terrifying conclusion can be applied to cinema as well, even though the consequences of one might outweigh the other. Your emotional investment in a film is what makes your film-going experience worthwhile. You need to genuinely care about characters, their worlds, their stories and their triumphs/losses. Personally, Ram Charan Tej failed to coax me into caring about any of his characters in a career that has spanned over a decade. Playing Chitti Babu might very well be his finest hour as an actor. It took him long enough, but he has finally broken out.

Rangasthalam follows the life of the hard-of-hearing Chitti Babu (Ram Charan) and the many colourful characters that inhabit the titular village. The village is led by its President (Jagapathi Babu), a man who has stayed in his position unopposed for three decades. A man who seemingly has forgotten his name as he has never been addressed by it by any of the common folk he rules or his many henchmen who aid his tyranny. Among the downtrodden are Chitti Babu's parents, many a fellow villager, his love interest Ramalakshmi (Samantha Akkineni), and his employer Rangamatta (Anasuya Bharadwaj).

While the townsfolk are a bunch of frogs boiling away in an unforgiving vessel of water, Chitti Babu's Dubai-returned brother Kumar Babu (Aadi Pinisetty) will have none of this hazardous environment. And instead of jumping out of the water alone in the interest of self-preservation, he takes it upon himself to take the citizens of his village on the ride with him. The ensuing socio-political drama plays out on the streets of this appropriately titled village.

The streets of Rangasthalam, or Subramanyapuram with upkeep as we like to call it, act as a window into the raw realities of remote rural areas, as a rustic canvas filled with a rich tapestry of human emotions and as a conduit to the excess of Telugu commercial cinema. Sukumar and his team want to intelligently address the complexities involved in policy-making, the Herculean effort required to alter the mindset of a group of people who live in a miniature version of the fictionalised England in 1984, and the expanding divide between the ruler and the ruled.

Adjacent to this primary plot, they want to tell the very personal story of a family and its dynamics, and in true Sukumar fashion, painstakingly illustrate a flawed lead character. Add to this a throwaway romantic angle and a few sub-plots that are brought up and resolved every five minutes, and you quickly begin to realise where all the excess comes from and why every twist the movie puts forth does not land with the same amount of impact. There is a subversive and stirring story to be told here but the film's flaws and merits cancel each other out almost perfectly, and hence the clever subversion is lost and what remain are the raw emotions.

Breakout star Ram Charan Tej leads the pack while bringing these visceral moments to the screen. The work the man puts into wrenching every single emotion out of his character is almost jaw-dropping at times. There are instances where his polished diction and nods to his predecessors take over, but we chose to bite our lips through them because the film assured us that a spellbinding scene wasn't too far off.

In a cruel twist of fate, however, his world, the story he is in and the people in it fail to match the sheer dedication and over-the-top craftsmanship he brings to the table. Chitti's brother, family and friends are all played by fine actors, but are nowhere near as influential to the narrative as the film would like them to be. Chitti's every action is a reaction to a situation his cohorts find themselves in, but said cohorts give the audience no reason to care.

Not to mention, a villain whose menace comes from the many rules and quirks the script sets for him but not from the character himself. The unstoppable force has no immovable object in his way.

This can be chalked down to many long-drawn-out sequences that envelop a few quick-fire scenes. While both are shot exceptionally well for the most part, the director occasionally fails to realise that his grasp of the few quick scenes punctuated by striking imagery makes for many of the pulse-pounding parts of his film instead of the many multi-minute scenes that plod around aimlessly until a misplaced song or a haphazard edit stops them in their tracks.

Ace cinematographer Ratnavelu isn't the one at fault here. He masterfully captures every shift in tone and act. He employs POV shots, higher frame rates, close-ups, exquisite framing and some truly well-earned slow-motion sequences to make Chitti and his struggles palatable. Even though the film teeters on becoming a sepia-toned hellscape from time to time and employs some dodgy CGI, the man behind the camera reins these negatives in and never lets them overpower the film.

The same cannot be said about the music. Devi Sri Prasad composes some of his most inspired pieces of the score for his friend's film. Sadly, his errors mirror those of his friend. His insistence on overusing these bits of music rarely allows the audience to choose how they feel about certain occurrences in the film. The musical cues choose not to trust the audience, and hence stuff the film to the brim with notes with no due respect being given to silent reflection.

Rangasthalam the movie is like its star Ram Charan's beard. Even though it wants to project a sense of ruggedness and rawness to its proceedings, it is not rough around the edges to be perceived as such. Every follicle of hair is in its right place and hence the grooming behind the veneer is unmistakable. It lacks the unabashed political intrigue of a Subramanyapuram and is not the unflinching character study Aadukalam is. It is, however, Ram Charan's and Sukumar's best work in a long time.

Even though most of us have been conditioned by Telugu cinema to develop Chitti's condition of only being able to hear loud sounds and over-the-top acting, it is refreshing when we realize that theatrics like these when done right can remind us why we like the performing arts in the first place.
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Rangasthalam (telugu) reviews
Rating is quick and easy - try it!
  • Cast
    Ram Charan Tej, Samantha Akkineni, Aadhi Pinisetty, Anasuya Bharadwaj, Prakash Raj, Jagapati Babu, Naresh, Rohini
  • Music
    Devi Sri Prasad
  • Director
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
1 - 15 OF 17 COMMENTS  |  NEXT  |  LAST
Can watch again - No
Good for kids - Yes
Good for dates - Yes
Wait to rent it - No
Madhu on 2nd Apr 2018, 8:03pm | Permalink
I am a great fan of FullHyd reviews and I follow all the reviews here and I think most of the time they reflect correctly, but I think this time TJ Reddy has completely got it wrong. I have seen some of his high rating for Hollywood movies and I agreeed with most of them. I just fail to understand how this did not get a 8.
One of the best Telugu movie in recent times. I would like to hear Josh's views on this movie.Just some batter between colleagues would be nice.
ramki on 2nd Apr 2018, 6:10pm | Permalink
by seeing the ratings to this movie, I lost my respect to this website. Once, this is a genuine website for reviews,. Now it lost its credibility.
Suri@ on 1st Apr 2018, 7:01pm | Permalink
May be you should reconsider reviewing this movie again! come on man have a heart. A movie which is collecting more money in d3 than d1 means it's already a hit and you gave it 6/10 rating. You can change your rating atleast by now otherwise never ever call yourself as a critic. May be Ravi kandala had reviewed it properly....
Siva on 1st Apr 2018, 8:35pm | Permalink
A few questions Suri garu.

1) Should a review always be in line with the collections?
2) Is the job of a reviewer about predicting the revenue of the movie or describing his experience the movie?
3) Do "good" movies always make money and "bad" movies never make money?
4) Has there ever been a hit movie that you did not like and has there been a flop movie you liked?
5) Don't most big stars movies collect more money on Day 3 (Friday) than Day 1 (Friday), unless its a disaster like Agnyaathavaasi?

Thank you.
suri@ on 1st Apr 2018, 11:01pm | Permalink
here are answers for ur q's...
1) I would say yes. ratings and reviews must be based on genuine collections and overall user reviews. If a movie is doing good at box office means most of the people are loving it( ex. 86% likes in BMS) and I strongly believe people are not dumb at all atleast not all.
2) A reviewer must think like a common audience while watching a movie. Your review must be close to them because you are one of them.
3)Good movies that don't make money are extremely rare. A good movie with all elements never fails but a good movie with one sided script might fail at box office.
4)Myself? While watching a movie I always take a guess whether that will be a hit or flop and I never was disappointed. If I have to review a movie which I dont like I would simply say ' This movie is not my type but most of the people may love it'
5)Even if a movie is big star's movie it should be atleast above average to collect more than d1 on d2 or d3

I think I have answered all.


Are you the above reviewer?
Srinivas on 10th Apr 2018, 11:25pm | Permalink
Disagree that rating should be based on public response. They are two separate things, though they may coincide at times.
TeluguFan on 31st Mar 2018, 10:05pm | Permalink
This review doesn't do justice to the movie. Ram Charan's performance is not just his best but also one of the best from a leading commercial/mass telugu hero in a long time. This movie is a must watch if ur interested in good telugu movies. The reviewers flippance and non chalance doesn't do justice to the landmarkthis is in Telugu cinema. Please go and watch.
Sid on 1st Apr 2018, 1:27am | Permalink
Alright TeluguFan, I get it. You want the review to be different because Ram Charan acted well for once. But let's face it.
I am not a great movie buff. I only watch selected movies which are different than the routine mass masala movies that we get in Telugu every now and then. Looking at the music, theatrical trailer, I was definitely going to watch this movie. The expectations were not high for me,but I expected a brilliant movie from Sukumar.
My reaction after watching the movie : it's not bad. It's not brilliant. What should I say ? I don't feel like I will do justice to the actor in Ram Charan if I say that the movie isn't good. But, there are a few moments during the movie that I felt like Nah, this should have been avoided to keep up the story or emotions.

So, I agree with this review. It's good. Not excellent. Not bad.
TeluguFan on 1st Apr 2018, 11:56am | Permalink
I don't want the review to change, neither do I want your opinion to change.
But I don't want people who read the review to go away thinking this is another average movie which can be given a pass, which it clearly isn't.
The monumentality of (m)any great movies is, of course, realised much after they are done and dusted.
Raghu M on 11th Apr 2018, 8:27am | Permalink
While watching a movie in a theater, my mind usually wanders around (work, errands at home, weather outside, what next after the movie, what for dinner, etc.). But, in a long long time, this is one movie, where my mind and I were fully immersed right in the village "rangasthalam", watching all the villagers, rooting for Chittibabu at every moment, and I virtually, along with the rest of the villagers, raided the president's house to kill him. Only when the item song appeared on the screen did I realize that I was just watching a movie in a theater (yeah, there are no intervals in this part of the world).

Splendid performances from everyone, and the best is of course, from Ramcharan. Although the credit goes to the director, salute to Ramcharan for picking up a subject like this and he did not act.. he just lived the character all along. Not a single frame of 'overaction'. Kudos! The dialogues and accent, from every single character.. it's so authentic!

I respect TJ Reddy's review and rating, but as a common movie lover, I would have liked to see over 8. After all, not so often that we get to watch such movies in Telugu.
creative channel on 11th Apr 2020, 1:31pm | Permalink
One of the best movie in recent movies.
I believe Ramcharan's role is best in his career.
Technically at top notch.

Oye Ninne Natho Vastava | Romantic Theme Dance | Directed by Ravikumar Pediredla
Giri on 18th Apr 2018, 10:22am | Permalink
Performance rating of 6 ???? That's not fair. I think the actors did a stupendous job.

Pros: Actors
Cons: Too long
Siva on 31st Mar 2018, 3:48pm | Permalink
No review yet after 1 and half day.. Oh sure, your 27 readers are anyway not waiting for it, right fullhyd?
Spectator on 26th Apr 2018, 1:58am | Permalink
Lol, the reviewer needs to learn how to watch a movie first. And look at the rating for the performances, ridiculous. I wonder what is the yardstick used! Seriously, LOL!
Shiva on 10th Apr 2018, 2:02am | Permalink
A bit late to the comments but here goes my 2 cents.
RamCharan has delivered his best, no second thought on that. Infact most of the other actors did justice too.
My gripe is with the climax twist - it felt like it was put on just for the sake of it. I would have liked it much more had Jagapati babu was kept as main villain and gave RC a decent fight back.
Just my opinion.
chaitu on 8th Apr 2018, 9:00am | Permalink
"Breakout star Ram Charan Tej leads the pack while bringing these visceral moments to the screen. The work the man puts into wrenching every single emotion out of his character is almost jaw-dropping at times."

My thoughts exactly! Never been a fan of his work, but this is undoubtedly one of the best performances by any actor in recent times! What a surprise!!
Vara on 2nd Apr 2018, 11:29am | Permalink
I would rate this at least 7.5. I know TJR is usually strict in giving rating and I mostly agrees to his rating and reasoning, but this time I disagree in both.
ramki on 31st Mar 2018, 4:55pm | Permalink
the movie already turned as a super hit. but you guys still sleeping
charan on 30th Mar 2018, 5:01pm | Permalink
wake up guys! when are you going to review this film??
TJ Reddy on 5th Apr 2018, 4:27am | Permalink
This has been absolutely brilliant guys. Have had a blast listening to all of you and having conversations about film with some great fans of the art form. Hope I get to interact with all of you soon.

P.S. - @Madhu. Suri and Vara I've taken your feedback into account and hopefully can align my reviews to find some middle ground
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