The most exciting aspect of the Sharwanand-starrer Ranrangam is its title, and the circumstances that lead a common man to become a gangster. However, the film does not do justice to both its name or setting. Despite some reasonable amounts of bloodshed, Ranrangam is so elated, that it doesn’t even make you the hero to win the fight. But then, you start to wonder what battle does the hero have to fight? Is it to become the most powerful man in Vizag? Or is it becoming the messiah of the masses, and a godfather to those who see him as a savior? Whatever, the stakes in Ranrangam never seem to be enough. It fulfills every occasion that it comes to tell a tricky story.
The story centers on the life of Deva (Sharwanand), a gangster living in Spain. However, he controls everything in India, which is sent to ports across India to the lands of Vizag, where many villages consider him as their savior. Before he becomes a gangster, we are told that Deva and his gang of friends used to sell black tickets in Vizag before they would get into the illegal liquor business in the mid-’90s. This prohibition is at the height of the era and the demand for liquor in Vizag was skyrocketing. Instead of selling movie tickets to Black, Deva decides that he is better off selling liquor from Orissa, illegally and smuggling from around Vizag. But he faced stiff opposition from local MLA Simhachalam (Murali Sharma). The rest of the story is Deva defeating many obstacles to become a gangster, and what happens long after moving to Spain to start a new life.
Ranrangam flip-flops between the past (mid-’90s) and the present to tell us how Dev’s life has changed dramatically over the years. In the mid-’90s, he was satisfied with what he was earning with movie ticket sales, but currently cut, he is a gangster, with his mansion and security in Spain. A common man of Vizag becomes so powerful that even the cabinet minister is scared of his influence. This dialectics is interesting, but the journey from one state to another is far from being a compelling experience. The story is hardly something to write, and the problem is due to a number of decisions, ranging from casting to writing.
There are several issues that justify the film from the beginning. Dev, as a character, is not strong enough to instill a sense of awe when we witness his rise in the corridors of power. Her love story with Geeta (Kalyani Priyadarshan) may seem cute, as it is set in the 90s, but it is also wrapped up for a second thought quality. Neither Sharavanand nor Kalyani get a chance to elaborate on what is written for them on paper, and they end up speaking one line after another. The narrative is particularly problematic when the story changes to present-day Spain. All power which is the product of Deva is not an esoteric character. Also, Kajal Aggarwal, who plays the role of a doctor, barely plays an important role. And the less supporting characters we talk about, the better. Ranrangam is a missed opportunity, and a big disappointment how else!
Amidst all this, cinematographer Divakar Mani gives us at least something to focus on. The color palette, especially in parts set up in Vizag, is used beautifully. He fills some lives in a frame, devoid of solid writing. Music director Prashant Pillai tries to tell the story, but the load is too much on them to bear the dead weight. Sudhir Verma, whose previous credits include Swami Ra Ra and Keshav, tried to turn Rangangam into a godfather opening on the streets of Vizag and Spain. However, his diva is no Michael Corleone. The problem with the film is not how slowly it unfolds, but how pointless the whole drama seems.
Ranrangam becomes quite predictable after a point, but even the rhythm in comparison to its big crime: it’s boring. In the world of crime dramas, which is probably worse than death.