Vangaveeti review: Dark, slow and gruesome

Vangaveeti feels more like a documentary, played slowly and painfully in front of you, rather than a feature film. 

Published: 23rd December 2016 08:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd December 2016 08:06 PM   |  A+A-

Vangaveeti.(Screengrab from youtube)

Express News Service

Just type Vangaveeti in a search engine and you can read the entire story of the gang warfare which took place in Vijayawada in the 1980s, and the subsequent 40-day curfew imposed in the city after the murder of Vangaveeti Mohana Ranga.

Ram Gopal Varma's latest offering, Vangaveeti, which deals with the gang warfare between the Vangaveeti and Devineni brothers, offers nothing to the viewers which is not already known. And while there's little wiggle room for filmmakers to improvise while dealing with fact-based stories, by taking the political angle almost completely out of the picture (to avoid controversy), the film turns out to be a damp squib.

Vangaveeti feels more like a documentary, played slowly and painfully in front of you, rather than a feature film. 

Ram Gopal Varma (RGV) uses his camera-skills for full effect and succeeds to a large extent. But the film lacks enough bite to grip the audience.

The film starts with the rise of Vangaveeti Radha (Sandeep Kumar) from 'bus stand Radha', who's involved in a power battle with Chalasani Venkata Ratnam (Vamsi Nakkanti). When Venkata Ratnam is eliminated, Radha emerges as the supreme leader and controls the whole of Vijayawada. On the advice of Devineni brothers - Gandhi and Nehru, Radha sets up a student party called United Independence.

As Radha's political rivals bay for his blood, things turn violent. What follows is a bloodbath, enabled by greed for power and thirst for revenge. 

The film is not for the light-hearted, and those who don't like to see blood on-screen are well advised to skip Vangaveeti. The killings are brutal and gruesome and RGV leaves no-stone unturned to make you cringe. He slowly builds up every murder and shows it in the most gruesome manner. The director masterfully uses the camera, and manages to capture the mood and feel of the film. 

His reluctance to use dialogues, though, is off-putting. The director instead uses background music and visuals to describe the narrative and there are hardly any dialogues, especially in the second half. The slow-paced narrative also tends to get dull after a point of time. Each murder has a similar pattern and build-up to it and after a while, it just gets boring. Strangely enough, the same actor, Sandeep Kumar, plays both Ranga and Radha. At one point, it gets confusing for the viewers. For instance, when Ranga meets Ratna Kumari (Naina Ganguly) for the first time -- it's very easy to mistake him for Radha. Sandeep delivers a decent performance, though none of the others really stand-out. 

There's a clear Ram Gopal Varma stamp written all over Vangaveeti, but with director unable to exploit the horrific reality of the caste-based politics that took place to its full extent, the film was always going to be a disappointment. 

Film: Vangaveeti
Cast: Sandeep Kumar, Vamsi Nakkanti, Vamsi Chaganti, Naina Ganguly, Kautilya and Shritej



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