Not too many Telugu directors and stars dug deep into gangster movies. For Telugu cinema, it has always been romantic, family dramas wrapped in comedy tracks as full package for audience. Gangster flick Ranarangam, which is set in the early ’90s, is some sort of an unusual experiment. For a story that completely banks on the protagonist (Sharwanand), Kalyani Priyadarshan plays the love interest of Sharwa in the movie. Her straight third Telugu film after Hello and Chitralahari, Kalyani is playing the role of Gita in Ranarangam.
“I haven’t seen someone do this kind of a role. I felt the screenplay was quite different from the current lot of stories. Usually, period dramas have past and present, and Ranarangam is a movie where both the past and present intersect with each other at one point. Director Sudheer Varma has deftly pulled it off. Only when people watch it, they would understand the concept. I think it is one person’s life. It is the way the film pans out,” she says.
The whole film is about Sharwa’s character — it is his life, growth, and business, which later expands into a large kingdom of sorts, she says. A dreaded gangster, Sharwanand will be seen as an intense character throughout the film. “Usually, a woman is a man’s weakness and that is where Ranarangam piqued me. You will see a weaker side of him and also lovable side of the gangster — all through me (Gita),” Kalyani says.
Coming from a filmy background — father Priyadarshan is a prominent director and mother Lissy acted in all south Indian languages, Kalyani had tried her hand in direction before facing the camera. Kalyani says her mother Lissy and yesteryear actor Shobana were a large source of information, and gave her a good idea on how to get into the skin of the character. “My father had always wished to see me doing a character in a half-sari.
A lot of prep went into it before the shooting actually commenced. I had a lot of fun; it was something new for me,” she adds.The best part of Ranarangam is the film spans 20 years of a person’s life. Apart from the intensity and darker side of blood and violence, the movie also has the lighter part of romance, she says. “It is a growth of a don. Sudheer Varma has conceptualised it in a different way. I grew up watching mob and gangster movies as a child — Quentin Tarantino’s movies and Kill Bill were part of the gangster movies I liked,” she shares.