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RANGASTHALAM (Telugu/2018) - The film I keep remembering for its emotional and prolonged DEATH Sequence. (Movie Notes by Bobby Sing)

18 Jan, 2022 | Indian Regional language Gems (Other Than Hindi) / Movie Reviews / 2018 Releases

The super success of Pushpa The Rise in Hindi has forced many to look into the other films made by the writer-director Sukumar. That is exactly where the debate about the comparison between his last Rangasthalam and Pushpa started at the online portals, with many watching and showering praises upon the film, rating it even better than Pushpa.
The comparison is not fair as both the projects belong to different genres focusing on the lead. But Rangasthalam (meaning stage) certainly is a film offering a lot more, revolving around family relationships and emotions leaving a soul-stirring impact.
I saw the film in the theatre and its last hour was indeed a very shocking and moving experience for the house full audience watching it in utter silence. This one hour of the film is also similar to the basic theme of Shoojit Sircar-Varun Dhawan’s October with a different backdrop. Had posted an article on the similarity between the two films at the time of their release and friends interested in reading, can find the write-up at the following link.

Moving over the unnecessary subject of comparison would like to share the merit I loved Rangasthalam for and why I still keep recalling the film watching the new releases.
Revolving around the life of a partially deaf young man who never feels depressed about his disability, Rangasthalam transports you back to the decades lived with simplicity and no personal gadgets. It’s about a family and two brothers’ clashes with the mighty that gets presented in a realistic, raw style with entertaining supporting characters in the first half and a shock in the second. The story isn’t entirely novel, but it has elements that deliver fulfilling the expectations along with lovable performances, music, and technical finesse. 
Coming to the unique feature that makes it excel, Rangasthalam has a prolonged Death sequence (around four + five minutes) including a song depicting the tragedy in details, which one would rarely find in the films made in the present times.
In fact, the one feature missing from our new age cinema since the last two decades is the Death and the cremation sequences that are no more given any longer stay on the screen to maintain the light-hearted, entertaining feel in a film. A death in a script is now depicted hurriedly, moving over to the next scene following a faulty vision, which also remains one of the major reasons the new-age films are not able to establish any strong emotional connection with the viewers. Our cinema before 2000 largely relied on this aspect of storytelling, wherein death or cremation was treated a lot differently in a much more absorbing and moving manner.

However, the present cinema (particularly Hindi cinema) doesn’t have such realistic insertions because the production houses/producers or exhibitors don’t allow them to be depicted in detail. They consider such a presentation as something negative or depressing for the audience, that might adversely affect the footfall. That is also the reason such scenes get shortened or deleted even in the narration, avoiding rejection from the producers. For instance, just try to recall when did you last witness a more than 1-minute-long death or cremation sequence in a Hindi film descriptively presenting the proceedings in a cremation ground?
As a powerful movie, Rangasthalam revolts against that pseudo norm, coming up with an emotionally moving and elaborate death sequence of around nine minutes with a soul-stirring song that makes you feel a lump in the throat and tears in the eyes. The song showcases the family members mourning the death of the elder son and all religious rituals being followed before taking the body to the cremation ground. Watching the execution, one truly feels the loss experienced by the family and friends. And it’s a rare insertion, not found in the present new-age multiplex films.
The sequence remained stuck in my memory for a long-time post watching the film in the theatre back in 2018 and I still recall Rangasthalam for the same, along with its other outstanding merits of the shocking second half. The nine-minute sequence certainly leaves a powerful impact on the viewers apart from being the decisive turning point in the script. 

Summing up, hope this write-up inspires you to watch the original film (with English subtitles) at the online portal and hope it makes you realise how our present filmmaking misses a lot that once used to be the representative feature of our Indian cinema.

Rating : 3.5 / 5 

(Streaming on Amazon Prime with English Subtitles) 

Tags : RANGASTHALAM (Telugu) Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Telugu Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Indian Regional Language Cinema Reviews by Bobby Sing, Rangasthalam and Pushpa The Rise comparison, Prolonged Death Sequence in Rangasthalam
18 Jan 2022 / Comment ( 0 )
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