'Virata Parvam', produced by D Suresh Babu and Sudhakar Cherukuri, was released in theatres today.
Vennela (Sai Pallavi) is smitten by the poetry and personality of Comrade Ravanna aka Aranya (Rana Daggubati). Now, Ravanna is like her hero with whom she just wants to live her whole life. She is ready to undergo any amount of suffering for the sake of living with a man who doesn't even know her.
Ravanna has published revolutionary books to influence youngsters to choose Maoism as their path. His books have been banned and he has been outlawed. Vennela's attempts to meet him, woo him and live with him are, naturally, fraught with great risks. Can she overcome them? Will she get to share the rest of her life with her dream man? That's what the story is all about.
Sai Pallavi's earnest, theatrical performance hits the ball out of the park. Her performance is on the ascendance after her tryst with Ravanna. In 'Love Story', her act progressed from bubbly to emotional. In the film under review, it graduates from subtle to intense.
Rana's character is devoid of frills; therefore, he underplays it totally. The actor evokes sympathy with his performance in the second half.
Nandita Das is more at home than the boring Zarina Wahab. Easwari Rao and Sai Chand are seen as Vennela's parents. The latter gets to win the audience's hearts. Naveen Chandra is wasted but not as much as Priyamani.
'Kolu Kolu' and 'Nagaadaarilo' feel settled in the universe of the film and help in building the world of 'Virata Parvam'. Suresh Bobbili's background score is well-endowed, barring a few misses. But it is Dani Sanchez-Lopez's cinematography that exceeds expectations. He is joined by Divakar Mani, who shot some portions. A Sreekar Prasad's editing is nothing out of the ordinary.
The image of 'Virata Parvam' underwent a radical change when the makers declared that the film is actually an epic love story. The description is a half-truth, considering how many gun battles and action episodes the film features. There is a love story for sure, but the same is riddled with one to two plot turns that have nothing to do with love but everything to do with themes like guerilla warfare.
Writer-director Venu Udugula comes equipped with a stunning storyline (which is a rehash of what happened to slain Naxalite Sarala in the late 1980s or the early 1990s). If the storyline seems novel, it is because Sai Pallavi's Vennela is based on a real person, now long dead.
The storyline has been stretched into a rather predictable and cliche-ridden script. The incidents don't have us at the edge of the seat even when Ravanna and/or Vennela are facing mortal danger. Nothing touches you after a point, even Vennela's pure love for Ravanna.
The way Vennela's pristine love has been written and narrated, leaves much to be desired. The lack of chemistry between the lead pair is a death knell. Their chemistry works to an extent only in the climax but by then it is too late.
You can predict the immediate turn of events after the interval if you have seen even two movies involving Naxals and police. The gun battles are lacklustre, leving the audience in the lurch. The rain of bullets doesn't mean anything, for we see no major emotional upheaval unsettling Vennela and Ravanna.
The father-daughter portion in the second half is melodramatic. The conversations between Vennela and the hardened Maoists reek of run-of-the-mill cliches.
'Virata Parvam' is failed by pedestrian narration. Its storyline is awesome, and Sai Pallavi's performance is a big asset. But the story is hardly of epic proportions.