Over 40 days curfew, over 40 lives lost, reportedly Rs 100 crore properties vandalised, chaos in four districts. Vangveeti, Chalasani, Devineni families. That was what happened about 40 years ago, something you simply cannot capture on a celluloid screen in a span of two-and-half hours. From the emergence of Vangaveeti Radha to the demise of Vangaveeti Ranga in Vijayawada is what RGV aims to capture in Vangaveeti and botches it up almost immediately.
The trap is the fact this story lacks a hero or any heroic element and the entire crew falls into it. Based on the real incidents that shook Vijayawada in the 70s and 80s, the story lacks enough political play and a thrilling story so the entire onus of carrying the narrative forward is placed on a macabre series of murders with just gory deaths to be remembered.
There was so much at play when the incident took place in Vijayawada. The power hunger, the caste fights, the political drama of TDP, Left and Congress was why things ended up as they did. To play a safe game almost all the elements have been pulled out leaving just the crime angle and the names. It’s like making a film on 26/11 or 9/11 terror attacks without touching the terrorism angle.
While it was a conscious effort taken to stay out of controversies, what is left of the story is simply not worth capturing on camera. All these cracks could have been ignored had there an element of suspense, but you just Wiki Vangaveeti Ranga and you get the sketchy details. Well, if most of the audience did a little Googling beforehand to see what is in store, the movie is left with absolutely nothing to offer them.
The second downfall is the lack of emotional intensity among the debutant actors. Radha (Sandy) and Ranga (yes, Sandy again) were the only two characters that showed a relatively stern and rough mien to resemble anything close to a gang culture or rowdyism. But the fun is lost by choosing the same guy to reprise the roles of the unfateful Vangaveeti brothers. The rest of the actors show promise in a few scenes but it’s just a feeble effort.
The way RGV handles the camera is worth appreciating. RGV knows where to put the camera and when exactly to put it there. His sheer brilliance is in using the frames not just in a horizontal axis but also in almost all levels of the vertical axis is a clear sign of his expertise in handling the lens. But the ‘documentary’ gets little irksome when he narrates and rushes the story in frequent intervals. Though the VO was little witty but it doesn’t really add value to the narrative.
There was a lot of consternation building in the Telugu states surrounding the release of the film with the Vangaveeti and Devineni lineage on close watch and a possibility of caste fights erupting once again. But feel free to go watch the film just to convince yourself that it’s not so.