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Rangasthalam Movie Review: Ramcharan Teja Transforms In It! 

Rangasthalam(Telugu)

Starring Ramcharan Teja, Samantha Akkineni, Jagapati Babu

Directed  by  Sukumar

Rating: ***(3 stars)

 There  is  something enormously endearing about a superstar trying to shed his image , to get into the skin of his character  the way, say, Uttam Kumar did in SatyajitRay’s Nayak or Rajesh Khanna in Basu Bhattacharya’s Aavishkar.

 In  Rangashthalam,  Ramcharan Teja transforms in  front of  our eyes. It is  almost like watching a  magic show where the entire appearance of the actor undergoes  a sea-change as we gawk in open-mouthed  amazement…Except that,  here Ramcharan  is not ostentatious  in his mutation. He changes  his personality, yes. But in doing so he makes sure he merges  into rustic rugged violent milieu of  injustice and  inequality where one man plays an evil God.

Jagapati Babu, filled with sound fury and a flurry,  as the underhand  God is  so larger-than-life you fear the frames will crack open under the spell of this self-appointed God’s heavy ego. Ramcharan Teja suffers no such anxieties.As the partially disabled  docile shy and  goodhearted Chitti Babu he is a hero unlike any other: vulnerable and sensitive, prone to defeat  if push comes to shove but not embarrassed  to be pushed against the wall, willing to take the  punch on the  chin.

 Most  of  the dramatic conflict is generated  in tandem,  with Ramcharan sharing screen space unconditionally with his screen brother , played by AdhiPanisetty.When Ramcharan is with his brother he is tender.When he is with his beloved, he  is  super-tender.Emotions are  not concealed in a false sense  of machismo that screen heroes  often suffer from.

 There is no effort to take over the show, to emerge as   unvanquished conquerer. Ramcharan  Teja remains almost flawlessly in character: diffident and  disarmingly disingenuous,valiant but not fearless. This underplayed heroic dimension to large-screen heroism  is the film’s greatest strength.

For  the  the rest,  this lengthy yet tight-edited  melodrama plays itself out with a karmic velocity  giving the main characters  a chance to grow without reveling in their dazzle.The  rural landscape with its toasted-brown virility is  sturdily captured  by cinematographer Rathnavelu who treats the landscape with lensed casualness.

And yes, there is the pretty Samantha Akkineni as  the doughty female protagonist. She tries hard to blend into the rural fabric  of this  pitch-perfect morality tale. Charming , yes. But Samantha  doesn’t quite blend into the bucolic with the  ease of Ramcharan Teja.

 The  film keeps back some surprises  right to the end.Though Rangasthalam has  nothing startlingly new to offer in its content,  it is  a warm sincere effort to give  its leading man a new image. This is  a film from the heart. It delivers  its punches with sincerity and  without flourish .

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