2 Hr 31 Mins | Drama | 17-06-2022
Cast - Sai Pallavi, Rana Daggubati, Priyamani and others
Director - Venu Udugula
Producer - Sudhakar Cherukuri, Suresh Babu
Banner - Sri Lakshmi Venkateswara Cinemas, Suresh Productions
Music - Suresh Bobbili
After witnessing a lot of delay, Virata Parvam finally saw the light of the day just like how Vennela finds Aranya in a deep jungle. Venu Udugula, who made his directorial debut Needi Naadi Oke Katha in 2018, gets an intense love story set against naxal backdrop for his second film. He chooses talented Sai Pallavi and Rana Daggubati as the lead cast to narrate his story. Let’s check out our take on the film.
What is it about?
Vennela (Sai Pallavi), an ordinary girl born in a village of Telangana, is heavily inspired by her father’s Oggu Katha and literature. Vennela happens to read the poetry of most-wanted naxal leader Aranya alias Ravanna (Rana Daggubati) and falls deeply in love with him. To find her love, she leaves home and struggles to find the hidden Ravanna. When she does meet him, he doesn’t accept her love. How Vennela and Ravanna’s paths cross and whether Vennela wins her love form the crux of Virata Parvam.
Sai Pallavi has breathed life into the role of Vennela. With flawless expressions and emotions in her eyes, face, Pallavi delivered an outstanding performance. She deserves laurels and awards for this act. Rana Daggubati is terrific as Naxal leader Ravanna who makes a strong impact. Yet, he is easily dominated by Pallavi. Rana deserves appreciation for accepting the film that has Sai Pallavi taking centrestage. Priyamani and Naveen Chandra as Comrades Bharathakka and Raghanna get noticeable roles that are part of a crucial twist in the film. But their roles are mostly predictable and stereotyped. Nandita Das adds value to the role she played. Sai Chand, as usual, impressed as Sai Pallavi’s father. Rahul Ramakrishna is confined to a limited role. But he has a powerful scene in a police station. Nivetha Pethuraj is seen in a blink-and-miss cameo. Overall, Virata Parvam has intense and realistic performances.
Director Venu Udugula’s love for poetry is seen in his writing. This writing is supported by perfect visuals and powerful performances. Udugula succeeded in striking a fine balance between poetry and visuals. Composer Suresh Bobbili nailed it with his background score. Cinematography work (Dani Sanchez-Lopez and Divakar Mani) is brilliant. In fact, music and visuals become part of the narrative. At 2 hour 30 minutes, the film is prolonged. Chopping some unwanted scenes would have been better.
Sai Pallavi and Rana’s Intense Performances
The justification of the title is just like how Pandavas fight Kauravas by hiding, the Ravanna Dalam is fighting police and system in similar manner. This may not be the apt justification but director Venu feels it’s apt. Virata Parvam is based on real-life of late Comrade Sarala. With fiction, Venu adapts it for big screen.
The film begins in a hamlet where a woman (Easwari Rao) is having labour pains on a rainy night amidst a cross-fire between naxals and police. A doctor-turned-naxal (Nivetha) helps the woman deliver the baby girl and names her Vennela (Sai Pallavi). Vennela is born in a tense atmosphere with blood stains. Virata Parvam is largely Vennela’s story and her love with naxal leader Ravanna. But Ravanna’s love is his ideology and movement. There is lack of hope for Vennela’s love as Ravanna is hunted by police troops. Killings and encounters are an everyday sight. Yet, Vennela is firm, strong-willed in her love. This is what transforms her into Comrade Vennela.
But the director succeeded in depicting the lives of naxals and their movement. He gives us insights into the world of Maoists and their party organisation. The film presents a uni-dimensional view of Maoism. The contrary view on naxalism in democracy is missing. Yet this is what director Venu opted to present the story of Vennela. Undoubtedly, it is Sai Pallavi’s show. Rana Daggubati gracefully lets Pallavi take the centrestage.
Plot-wise Virata Parvam is a love story of Vennela with Ravanna. Whereas, Ravanna’s love is his ideology. This is the conflict point. However, the premise and background in which the story is set makes all the difference. The first half is all about Vennela’s devotion and love for Ravanna. It is parallelled with Meera Bhai’s love for Lord Krishna. What makes Vennela’s love for Ravanna unconditional? She reasons saying, ‘Love doesn’t need any reason’. Venu stresses this point. The second-half is a cat-and-mouse chase between police and naxal gang. As cops fail to nab Ravanna, they plot a mind game. Here the film gets interesting. But what comes at the end is something unexpected.
The film has its own shortcomings. The concept of naxalism isn’t appealing to all. It is not embraced by a large set of audience, at least in the present era. Post Covid-19 pandemic, audiences are wanting to witness commercial cinema with entertainment. That is not what Virata Parvam offers. It is only for serious viewers. The film also has little action. It is filled with emotions, love and drama amidst a naxal backdrop. The Ravanna’s team has no major achievements, barring helping a father take revenge for her daughter’s death and a few others. Largely, police make the attack and Ravanna & comrades fight in defence. It may be a realistic portrayal, but on-screen, the audience would expect to see more heroic events of the protagonist.
The film’s narration gets sluggish post-interval. But that’s when the real-story of the film unravels. The screenplay is flat. The film goes on predictable note. The director subtly includes romance between Vennla and Ravanna. But it doesn’t last long either. The pre-interval episode and gripping, emotional climax make Virata Parvam a tale of love and loss. The naxal episodes are well-shot. Sai Pallavi and Rana’s powerful performances make this intense love story work at portions.
In a nutshell, Virata Parvam is certainly not the regular Telugu cinema one gets to see. It is unique and different. It is only for a certain set of audience. The moot question is whether the film works commercially or not.
Bottom Line: Laal Salaam Vennela