Critic’s Rating : 3.5 / 5
Virata Parvam Movie Review : Sai Pallavi carries this beautiful and haunting naxalite drama
Review: After the critically acclaimed Needi Naadi Oke Katha, Venu Udugula spreads his wings and helms a love story set bang in the middle of a revolution. Virata Parvam, set in the 90s Telangana, tells the story of a naïve girl who dreams of love even as tensions brew in a united Andhra Pradesh between the naxalites and policemen.
Vennela (Sai Pallavi) is born right in the middle of a war, so to say, on a full moon night. Naïve yet stubborn since childhood, she is brought up by her parents (Easwari Rao, Sai Chand) to be independent and educated. Having grown up reading books brought home by her father, who’s an oggu kathalu artiste, she chances upon poetry written by Aranya aka Ravanna (Rana Daggubati), a maoist leader. When she learns that there’s no greater power in the world than love, she sets out on a journey to meet him, in the hope that she spends the rest of her life with him.
Venu Udugula banks on the fact that love is an irrational emotion. Vennela is asked numerous times in the film, what it is about Ravanna’s poetry that made her fall for him and she has no answer, beyond that it is pure and unconditional. The same holds true for her journey. You don’t really understand how a woman finds the strength to cross rivers and forests come rainfall or sunshine to be with a man who might not even know she exists. But you are also reeled in enough to hope she makes it through. A stellar scene between Sai Pallavi and Sai Chand helps you understand her love better.
The director also does a good job of juxtaposing Vennela’s naivety with Ravanna and his fellow comrades’ paranoia and practicality as the film progresses. This is not the kind of love story where you get dreamy sequences between the lead pair. What you do get instead is lot of grittiness and yes, some longing. While the communist ideology might not always be something that ties them together, respect does. She wants respect for her love; he wants respect for his revolution and people.
Virata Parvam banks a lot on Sai Pallavi and her character based on a woman called Sarala. And the actress pulls off a spectacular performance, the kind you might have seen from her in other films, but one that draws you in and keeps you hooked none-the-less. Her character Vennela too makes you fall in love with her. Rana is deft as the beaten, bruised, always fighting Ravanna. The character demands him to be stoic but he lets his eyes do the talking. Nandita Das, Zareena Wahab, Priyamani, Naveen Chandra, Rahul Ramakrishna shine in their roles, pouring life into their characters. Sai Chand plays the kind of father any girl would wish for with élan.
But as much as this film belongs to Sai Pallavi and rest of the cast, it mainly belongs to Venu Udugula for his writing and direction. Are there moments that drag and could’ve done with better editing by Sreekar Prasad, sure. And while there’s an argument made that all the policemen are one-toned for the most part, he does enough with Banerjee’s role to make you think otherwise. Even if for a moment. The way he lets this untraditional love story unfold is also brilliant. Some of the dialogues are poetic, while others land home. What’s more Suresh Bobbili’s OST and background score, Dani Sanchez-Lopez and Divakar Mani’s camerawork is haunting, letting you immerse yourself in the world of Ravanna’s dalam and sticking with you after the film is done.
Virata Parvam is not the kind of film that’s entertaining in the conventional sense, but it is the kind of film that stays with you. It might not be perfect by any means or even align with your politics but watch this one because good cinema deserves appreciation.