Vangaveeti: The most awaited biopic by Ram Gopal Varma lives up to the expectations and succeeds in animating the character of “Vangaveeti” in an authentic manner

By Rohith Raju

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Vangaveeti, Movie Poster, RGV, Vijaywada

Vangaveeti is an Indian biographical film based on the character of Vangaveeti, the former M.L.A. of Vijayawada, who was assassinated by his rivals. The movie is set in ‘80s in Vijayawada and is purely based on the political faction fights between two families: Vangaveeti and Devenini. The plot is very clear, it revolves around “Vangaveeti” brothers, who try to establish their dominance in Vijayawada.

The film begins with the voice over of RGV telling us about the background of vicious Chalasani Venkata Rathnam and his gang. And there is another gang led by Vangaveeti Radha and his supporters. Chalasani and Radha vie for supremacy and eventually Radha murders him, enhancing his superiority in Vijayawada. Meanwhile, two brothers named Devineni Gandhi and Devineni Nehru approach Radha complaining some issues in their college. As Radha clears their trouble, they all become fairly close. The Devineni brothers come up with new ideas in establishing their power and they both become major members of the union. Much later, Vangaveeti Ranga enters into the story along with Ratna Kumari, his lover. With some short glimpses of scenes going, it seems evident that they both are deeply in love. Later Vangaveeti Ranga is asked to lead the gang following his brother’s death, and he accepts it. He then marries Rathna Kumari. Later, Vangaveeti’s close supporters provoke him creating much violation towards Devineni brothers. As a result, his gang kills Gandhi which rages Murali, the youngest of Devineni brothers. Then Vangaveeti becomes M.L.A. from Congress and establishes his power at the national level. In between, we get to know that Devineni Murali was eagerly waiting for a retaliation. When Nehru too becomes MLA, Murali strengthens his power, and gets ready to avenge Ranga. Knowing this, the Vangaveeti team slays Murali. This puts Nehru in an awkward dilemma whether to retaliate for what Vangaveeti had done to his family or to be peaceful instead. But, finally, Vangaveeti is murdered. However, they is no evidence in the film describing Nehru’s involvement in Vangaveeti’s assassination. RGV concludes the film saying: “Only Bejawada Durgamma knows the facts”.

Sandeep is astonishing portraying the murderous dual roles: Vangaveeti Radha and Vangaveeti Ranga. Even though he is a debutant, he gets into the skin of the character and brings the image of “Vangaveeti” to life with his credible gesture, diction, temperament, and body language. His terrific persona deserves a special mention which almost resembles Vangaveeti. And Vamsi Chaganti, who debuted in Sekhar Kammula’s “Happy Days”, makes an overwhelming comeback with this biopic. Shritej too lives in the role of Devineni Nehru and resembles him. 
A Still from RGV's Vangaveeti
A Still from RGV's Vangaveeti
Although, RGV could have opted for known faces, he doesn’t do that and here lies his biggest potential of making newbies act like are veterans. Watching the performances, you all would be amazed to know that the cast mostly comprises debutants. Frankly speaking, they just live though their roles with that utmost feel their characters offer them. They must be praised for putting their best in bringing their respective characters to life. After watching the movie, I am very excited to say that RGV is back on the track with the vibrant writer in him after a long struggle with form. The dialogues are really effective and hard hitting, furthermore, RGV’s voiceover captivates everyone who watches the movie. It seems he has put his heart and soul in making this movie and made it an ecstatic tribute to Vijayawada. When talking about the story, I am not sure enough to say to what extent the events in this movie are real. But apparently, RGV did some extensive research and certainly has outweighed the minor flaws with his mighty experience as it is not the first time RGV is involved in doing a film based on Vijayawada Gang Warfare. Meanwhile, some may criticize him for portraying the character of Devineni Nehru in positive light as he is the only one who is alive now of all the characters in his film. Nothing can be done to that statement, for who knows whether it’s his real personality! And another thing, although CBN and Devineni Nehru are accused in the case of Vangaveeti’s death, it seems RGV isn’t interested in alleging them here. Further, he doesn’t answer this question: “Who is the main person involved in Vangaveeti Ranga’s gruesome assassination?” But RGV really should be praised for bringing a good, sensible, controversial biopic to the screen with utmost care without causing any disturbance to both the families.

While talking about technical aspects, it’s really very good to see some good quality visuals in a RGV movie after quite a long time. Rahul Shrivatsav is at his best handling his craft. Editing is deftly held by the editor. Songs and BGM run with the theme of the film as they convey the story without lags. It is again evident that RGV isn’t greedy for matured technicians; all he needs is a skilled technician who is a good fit for the movie. And this answers the question: “Why RGV doesn’t work with experienced technicians?”

Sir, though you made a statement stating that Vangaveeti will be your last film, we want you to take it back and do much more films that gain you wide respect and try to make us proud.

On a whole, RGV’s “Vangaveeti” comes with power packed performances of brand new actors, who are at their best in bringing their respective real life characters to life. Though “Vangaveeti” is not everybody’s cup of tea, anyone who views it will be able to know the facts about some real life influential persons and events that occurred in Vijayawada in ‘70s and ‘80s. Finally, the film itself and RGV needs your compassion to bring more admirable films to Tollywood.

Reviewer Ratings:

Direction: 4.5

Story and Screenplay: 4

Cast’s performance: 3.5

Music and Cinematography: 3.25

About Author - 

Rohith Raju an undergraduate who is passionate about all things cinema. South Indian cinema happens to be his first love among equals. He blogs at Directors Blog.

Readers, please feel free to share your views/opinions in the comment box below. As always your feedback is highly appreciated!

Vangaveeti Trailer (2016) (YouTube)

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