Modern Telugu cinema is experimenting with various genres successfully in the past decade. Many film makers are experimenting with suspense, murder and thriller genres. One such addition is the genre of gangster drama. Director Sudheer Varma made a Godfather type movie with Ranarangam, featuring Sharwanand in a local don avatar.
Cast: Sharwanand, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Kajal Aggarwal and Murali Sharma
Director: Sudheer Varma
Music: Prashant Pillai
Camera: Divakar Mani
The story traces the journey of Deva and his ascent to gangsterdom. It begins in the early 1990s Andhra Pradesh.
Deva (Sharwanand) is a 25 year old local boy from Vizag (Visakhapatnam,) who roams like a vagabond in the port city and falls in love with Geetha (Kalyani Priyadarshan,) a local girl whom he sees at a local exhibition. He woos her and marries her, when a life changing incident happens in Vizag. Deva gets involved in an altercation with a henchman of a local politician and almost kills him.
Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government bans liquor, with N.T. Rama Rao becoming the Chief Minister. Deva then seizes the opportunity and comes into contact with smugglers near the borders of Vizag, who smuggle liquor from Orissa. The chain tightens and he rises to become a great gangster, who supplies beverages and liquor in the entire State. How did he turn into a gangster? How does his life take a turn in the future and what happens to his business when he is a man of 45? This forms the rest of the story.
Ranarangam is a film the theme of which is remotely taken from The Godfather, where the focus is more on a father and son relationship. In Ranarangam, it is the other way around. Sudheer Varma gives the dual role of a young aspiring don and a gangster role to Sharwanand, who plays the two variations in the first and second half respectively. Murali Sharma dons a different role of a sulking local don unable to control the growth of Deva. Sharma modulates his voice and brings out the sheer helplessness in moments of the film.
Kalyani Priyadarshan plays the role of Deva’s wife Geeta, who does emote well, but needs some finesse in carrying her emotions. Kajal Aggarwal plays the role of a doctor, who treats Deva when he is aged and does the routine well.
By and far, Ranarangam is a character driven film and wholly rests on Sharwanand’s portrayal of a gangster. The versatile actor does a decent job of playing a gangster, especially in the second half, where he portrays an aging don. Sharwanand creates the image of a man with swag and panache with his eye expressions and minimal dialogues.
Ranarangam is a literal one man show and it ought to be one! Go and watch it for Sharwanand.