Watched Raktha Charitra, a movie that is not based on any real characters of course, and is completely a child of fiction of Ram Gopal Varma. That disclaimer kind of bugs me a bit but what the hell, I guess everyone needs to take their precautions. In which case, the entire story can be fictionalised but again it is not done - for commercial reasons I guess. So goes 'Once Upon a Time In Mumbai' with the same disclaimers, and so goes 'Raktha Charitra'. But spare us the scenes where people get killed under a Gandhi statue please - why drag him into all this again and again as if we really cared two hoots about it (in which case you'd make a movie about peace).
Anyway, less about that. The movie is based in Anandapuram (Anantapur for those who want to know what it is inspired by), a poor town that gets riddled by factions. This faction stuff begins with one mischief maker (Kota Srinivasa Rao) who poisons the local leader Narasimha Reddy's mind against his Man Friday. The fallout pits one community against another - the powerful Reddy landlords on one hand and the backward community of the Man Friday on the other. Man Friday becomes the first casualty, again the handiwork of mischief maker Nagamani Reddy, and that begins the bloodbath. By now RGV is already excelling in shocking the audience with blood red visuals, dripping blood, crunching skulls etc - and the story has just begun.
Shankar (Sushant Singh), eldest son of Man Friday vows to avenge his father and goes underground to carry out guerilla attacks. He kills some, by which time his younger brother in city, Pratap (Vivek Oberoi), comes to know of his father's demise. Pratap returns to find his elder brother also dead, killed by the cop, attacks the corrupt cop who did the deed, gets rescued by underground army, and has no choice but go underground. And from then on he begins killing his father's killers - Narasimha Reddy first, Nagamani next, and so on. Now what comes up nicely in the story is the son of Nagamani Reddy, Bukka Reddy (Abhimanyu Singh) who is the highlight of the film as the half crazed, drunken, sex and violence addicted villain who cares a hoot for anything. And it is against this seemingly unslayable, unshakeable villain that Pratap has to win. Pratap is given a lifeline by the new political party started by a film star (a thinly veiled NTR) and he wins the election and becomes the Minister. The movie ends someplace where Pratap is made out to be the cog on which the government, law and order and all else is running - and shows a small shot of Surya (who plays the role of Suri), screaming for vengeance against Pratap in a jail. Welcome to part 2.
Violence has its ways of seducing the audience. RGV excels in that - showing violence seductively. But in overdoing it, maybe he even puts off the audience's vicarious pleasure in watching violence. If he did that, he has killed his own goose, because this is what he is best at. Soon after the movie starts you can feel your muscles tensing at the anticipation of the violence that is to come - you know it all beforehand. The story goes in a linear fashion and there was no surprise in it. Just for a moment, I felt for Pratap who wants to avenge his father's and brother's death, for a moment no more (maybe, even because Bukka Reddy was so brilliant in his portrayal) and after that it goes on in an almost documentary mode. You even have a constant commentary on the state of affairs by the story teller - RGV, I suspect, in the Telugu version.
Vivek Oberoi has one expression to carry for most of the movie. The star of the show is Bukka Reddy who stays with you well after the movie is over and women will probably stay far away if ever the actor walks into a crowded place. Will I watch the second part? Not really - I can foresee what will happen. A role reversal with Pratap being the villain and Suriya the victim. I guess the ratings did justice this time - a 3 from me on 5, and that because RGV is so comfortable in making these flicks. And yes, if you are not the type who wants to watch hands being hacked off, legs being crushed by rifle butts, heads by stones...get the idea, keep off (or carry barf bags).