Chittibabu (Ram Charan) lives in a village called Rangasthalam. He has hearing problems and runs a motor pump to water agricultural fields for a living. His elder brother Kumar Babu (Aadi Pinisetti) is well educated and works in Dubai. The unanimous president (Jagapathi Babu) of the village since past 30 years exploits people in the name of schemes and loans. Kumar Babu stands against the atrocities of President. Chittibabu learns the true nature of the president. Rest of the story is about what Chittibabu does to protect his brother.
Rangasthalam Story Analysis:
The story is not a regular Telugu revenge drama. The introduction of every character sets their tone and nature, which is very difficult for traditional writers. The character of hero who hunts down a snake which bite him several days ago establishes entire premise of the film. Making a stubborn and hearing-impaired role of hero into a lovable character is a challenge of its own. Samantha character is well developed, and most of her characterization is expressed through dialogues. Moreover, the romance between lead pair establishes Chittibabu character perfectly, and makes audience empathize with him later on.
Kumar babu is the only character which understands the dynamics of village and takes every step very carefully. His love story may appear unnecessary at first but becomes a core component of the story. Sukumar took extreme in the portrayal of President as a snake which bites 4 people and hides in the fields. The name (Phaneendra Bhoopati), appearance, eyes and behavior of President mimics that of a snake. Sukumar established president as a feudal lord with sluggishness, limited dialogues and no onscreen violence. Prakash Raj has limited scope, but his mother expresses his nature during the climax. Rangammatha is just a padding to enhance the atrocities of President.
Rangasthalam Character Analysis:
Rangasthalam is never about the nature of the characters, but is more about their ideals. The behavior of several characters may be odd during some scenes but is addressed through their back stories. The caste and social differences are not addressed fully, but they play an integral part of the story. The story is heavily influenced by the communist parties which attracted poor people and fought against the class system. However, after several decades, this resulted in some castes dominating others and securing their position in the society. Prakash Raj character represents such politicians who initially appear like saints. But as we get to know them better, they are no different than the feudal lords they are fighting against. The story timeline is in late 70s and early 80s for the same reason. Additionally, they have shown the beliefs of rural people very well. Many people, particularly those living in villages, are afraid of snakes and wild animals while the real monsters live within the society. They have expressed all these elements as an integral part of the story without explicitly conveying.
Ram Charan performed his role with ease. His body language, expressions, dialogue delivery and dialect are in perfect sync. His performance in pre-climax episodes elevated the film to a whole new level.
Samantha proves herself as an actress in a de-glamorized role. Her expressions and body language suit the role. Moreover, her acting in emotional scenes immerses audience into the movie. This is a refreshing character not just for Samantha, but to Telugu cinema itself. However, such nativity is lost after 90s and nowadays every filmmaker is after modern eye-candy roles.
Aadi Pinisetti convinces in his role. Jagapathi Babu pulls off his role with just his expressions as he has limited scope for body language and dialogues. Prakash Raj is quite natural and perfectly fits in the role. Anasuya did justice to her role. Rest of the characters have performed well. Overall, the performances are an asset to the film.
Rangasthalam Technical Aspects:
Sukumar deserves a standing ovation for bringing his story to life with raw characterizations and rustic elements of screenplay. The Direction department did a fabulous job in elevating emotions. They took extreme care in costumes, footwear, hairstyles, groceries etc to appeal to the 80s environment. The cultural elements are subliminal but add value to the feel of the movie. The Production values are praiseworthy. Devi Sri Prasad gives one of his career best albums and background music. The lyrics are too good for recent trend of Telugu cinema. Cinematography by Ratnavelu is excellent. Moreover, he maintains the mood of the film.
Stunts are realistic unlike routine Telugu movies and deserve appreciation. Art direction is outstanding. Editing is decent. The songs are an integral part of the story, instead of being mere entertainment. The CGI fits perfectly well without appearing unrealistic. Overall, Rangasthalam breathes life into Telugu cinema with its honest approach.