Rangasthalam (Eng: Theatre) is a 2018 Indian Telugu-language period action drama film written and directed by Sukumar. Produced by Y. Naveen, Y. Ravi Shankar and C. V. Mohan for the company Mythri Movie Makers, the film stars Ram Charan and Samantha Akkineni with Aadhi Pinisetty, Jagapathi Babu, Prakash Raj, Naresh, and Anasuya Bharadwaj in key supporting roles. Rangasthalam is set in the eponymous fictional village in the 1980s. It narrates the story of two brothers, Chittibabu (Charan) and Kumar Babu (Pinisetty) who oppose the village’s local government and the corrupt co-operative society led by its president Phanindra Bhupathi (Babu).
Chittibabu is a partially deaf, ill-tempered, jovial resident of a village named Rangasthalam. He earns a living by watering irrigational fields using a motor owned by his friend Kolli Rangamma, whom he refers to as atta (aunt), and is assisted by another villager, Mahesh. Chittibabu lives with his parents and sister, and is in love with Ramalakshmi, a farmer who is initially unaware of his hearing impairment.
Rangasthalam’s local government is led by the president of the panchayat, Phanindra Bhupathi, an influential, cruel landlord who misuses the co-operative society, charging high interest rates and wrongly encroaching on farmers’ lands under the pretext of unpaid loans. Kumar Babu, Chittibabu’s brother who left the village for employment, returns to Rangasthalam, and is disappointed to see this happening. Ramalakshmi’s land is seized by the society for not paying the balance of her loan; she and Kumar Babu confront the society over this, claiming that her mother had paid it off before dying and that the accounts were inflated. Chittibabu learns from Mahesh that Bhupathi’s henchman Sheshu Naidu had insulted his father in front of the village for Kumar Babu’s acts. Chittibabu is enraged with Ramalakshmi, and fights with Sheshu Naidu. The next day, he reconciles with Ramalakshmi, but gets arrested for having harmed an employee of the council.
Bhupathi refuses to help, and Kumar Babu approaches the local MLA Dakshina Murthy, who arranges for Chittibabu’s bail. With Murthy’s support, Kumar Babu nominates himself for the position of President of Rangasthalam. They gain support from the villagers over time, with few of them filing nominations for the position of ward member. Rangamma, however, warns Chittibabu that many people who chose to run against Bhupathi, her husband included, were later found dead in mysterious circumstances. Chittibabu realises that Bhupathi has had all of them murdered, and senses that Kumar Babu may be in danger. He takes bribes from Bhupathi and tries to force the villagers to withdraw their nominations. Despite this, Kumar Babu continues with his vie for leadership, leading to Chittibabu changing his mind and returning the money to Bhupathi.
Kumar Babu is attacked by Bhupathi’s group at the outskirts of the village, having gone to meet his girlfriend Padma in Rajahmundry. At first, Chittibabu manages to save him from death, but a veiled man slits his already-wounded brother’s throat. Bhupathi runs away from Rangasthalam, fearing for his life, and Chittibabu continues to search for him in the nearby villages. Meanwhile, Rangamma is unanimously elected as the village’s president. At one point over the following days, Chittibabu observes a group of dancers reciting “Srimannarayana” in a devotional hymn dedicated to the deity of the same name. He recalls Kumar Babu attempting to say something on the night of his death, and realises that he was repeating Srimannarayana . Chittibabu rushes to meet Dakshina Murthy for help. He is too late, however, as he sees the latter severely injured in an accident in front of his own eyes.
Chittibabu attends to a comatose Dakshina Murthy without even returning to his village. The doctors warn that Murthy may not recover, and suggest euthanasia. Chittibabu opposes, and continues to care for Dakshina Murthy for two years. One day, he regains consciousness, and Chittibabu brings him back to his home. The pair are accompanied by Ramalakshmi, now Chittibabu’s wife. As they talk in private, Murthy asks about Bhupathi; Chittibabu replies that he beat him to death in the outskirts of Rangasthalam. Later, Chittibabu reveals that he, following Kumar Babu’s dying chant of Srimannarayana, learned of Murthy’s orchestrating of his brother’s death. Kumar Babu was in a relationship with Murthy’s daughter Padma, despite belonging to a lower caste. Dakshina opposed this, motivating him to have Babu killed. Chittibabu waited two years for Murthy to fully recover solely so that he could experience the full pain of death. Chittibabu then murders Murthy and leaves the building along with Ramalakshmi, as Padma arrives with her husband.
Directed by Sukumar
Written by Sukumar
Produced by Y. Naveen, Y. Ravi Shankar, C. V. Mohan
Starring Ram Charan, Samantha Akkineni, Aadhi Pinisetty
Cinematography R. Rathnavelu
Edited by Naveen Nooli
Music by Devi Sri Prasad
Production Mythri Movie Makers
Distributed by Eros International (Wide release) Konidela Production Company (India)
Release date 30 March 2018
Running time 179 minutes