Aravindha Sametha Veera Raghava presents a hero so vicious, his enemies fear him, a villain so despicable, everybody hates him.
Aravindha Sametha Veera Raghava is an action-drama musical with some romance and comedy elements from Tollywood (Indian Cinema). The film’s release date was October 10, 2018. The film was written and directed by Trivikram Srinivas and produced by S. Radha Krishna under his company Haarika & Hassine Creations. The film’s score and soundtrack were composed by S. Thaman.
ABOUT THE FILM
The film, originally made in Telegu, was dubbed and released in Tamil as Idhu Ennoda Jilla. The film was also dubbed in Hindi and released on Zee5, Zee’s international streaming platform. The Hindi dubbed version of the film is also available on PEN Movies’ official YouTube channel with English subtitles.
The title of the movie varies I noticed, the original title is Aravindha Sametha Veera Raghava (translation Veera Raghava along with Aravindha) but you will find it as just Aravindha Sametha, Aravinda Sametha, or Aravind Sametha. The film stars N.T. Rama Rao Jr. (Jr. NTR), Pooja Hegde, Eesha Rebba, Jagapathi Babu, Sunil Varma, Naveen Chandra, and Supriya Pathak.
I found this to be an interesting film and therefore I will provide a detailed overview of what I understood from the story keeping in mind that I saw a translated version (English subtitles) of a translated (dubbed) version. So, prepare for a long ride. Here we go…
ABOUT THE STORY
The story starts with ghost-like sounds (more like distant screams) coming from a house guarded by a policeman. He is conversing with a man (Neelambari) and tells him how he is afraid of the sounds. The man then proceeds to tell him the story of the war between the villages of Komali and Nallagadi.
A story of violence, murder, and revenge. A 30-year-long war between two rival faction groups from two villages Kommaddi led by his father Narappa Reddy, and Nallagudi led by Basi Reddy has been affecting the lives of people from both gangs. A war that started for a very petty reason escalated into a division that further grew with the participation of both leaders, who joined opposing political parties with the main goal to rule the region.
THE WELCOME COMMITTEE
Veera Raghava Reddy returns to his village by train after completing his education in London after 12 years. His influential father stopped the train mid-way before it reached the station to pick him up. On their way home, they were attacked by the opposition faction in the village. His father was shot in the face and was instantly dead. Upon losing his father, Veera goes berserk and kills everyone in his way.
His main target becomes Basi Reddy. Before Basi Reddy attempts to shoot him, Veera manages to stab him in the neck. He falls down and appears to be dead. The police arrive but even they seem to be afraid of Veera. Basi Reddy’s followers, including his son Bala, took his body to their village.
Veera devastated also takes his dead father’s body home. Upon his arrival, he seems to be in trance unable to respond to anyone. His grandma devastated as well, tries to talk to him. She asks him to let go of that anger. During all this time deep in his trance, Veera was holding on to a sword he used during the fight. Him letting it go symbolizes his initial compliance to his grandma’s request. He soon receives a call from the party leader asking him to take over his father’s position. He ignores the call.
REQUESTS TO STOP THE WAR
His grandma tells him about his father’s past and the consequences of his actions on his mother’s life. She reminded him of his father’s compulsion to pick the sword and fight. Something Veera himself did on the day of his arrival. His grandma wants him not to let it become a curse for his future children that would probably inherit his fate. His grandmother tells him to be very careful as he has never picked a sword like this before, and this violent behavior can become addictive and unstoppable. His grandma implores him to stop the fighting.
A few moments later, Veera is visited by the pregnant wife of one of the villagers that were recently arrested. He thinks she came to ask for help but it’s the opposite. She came to implore him not to help her husband and get him released as he would directly go on a rampage to kill Basi Reddy’s son which would get him killed and she would become a widow. If he stays in jail at least he would be able to see his child. She begs him crying not to release him.
His grandma tells him that until the fighting stops, cries like this will continue. She tells him that the one who stops the war is a hero. A true hero. Indicating to him that he should become that hero. His aunt, who is also a widow, complains about how many more widows will they be housing if the fight continues. He sees that his village is drowning in factionalism and violence. Upon realizing that violence might not be the ultimate solution, he decides to leave for Hyderabad, hoping that the fights will reduce as the opposition will not have anyone to fight with.
Next, we meet Aravindha. She shows us most of her family members through her vlogs. We then meet her father, a lawyer, who is in a meeting with a group of men (more like thugs) he is currently representing. He has an office at home. Unfortunately for her, her father asks them to give her a lift to her college. Why? I have no idea.
Upon reaching Hyderabad Veera calls the party representative and warns him not to do anything to find a new party leader. He will provide a solution within the time limit of 6 months. He then meets Neelambari who is in a discussion with car sellers who are trying to swindle him it seems. They deny it but Veera who appears to have much knowledge of this particular car with one look shuts them up. They quickly leave the place pretending to be busy on the phone.
Neelambari grateful for his help invites Veera to have some tea at his garage. He asks Veera how come he has so much knowledge about cars. Turns out the car they were selling him was the same car in which he was attacked and where his father was killed. He first presents himself as Raghava trying to hide his identity but eventually, later on he confides his story to Neelambari.
Aravindha’s father is informing the group of men that he lost their case (since they were guilty of the crimes) and that they will be going to prison for three years. During that conversation, Aravindha comes to ask for her dad’s car to go to a birthday party. The group of men ambushes her after the party. She escapes and arrives at the garage where Veera is staying. Upon seeing her he is completely mesmerized by her.
She hides nearby and tells him to stay quiet as she is being pursued. She tells him there are six men after her. Veera gets ready to fight them. Aravindha requests him not to fight them and asks him what is so wrong with backing off from a fight. It’s not necessary to fight all the time.
In the meantime, the men arrive at the garage and find her. She apologizes on behalf of her father, but they don’t seem content with the apology. Veera asks them what their intention is with Aravindha and proceeds to dissuade them to do any harm through a display of physical strength which clearly made them afraid of him. Veera accompanies Aravindha on her way out and tries to have a conversation with her.
On that same night, Neelambari and Veera are in a car on their way to Bangalore as Veera can’t stay in Hyderabad for long. They are stopped by the police at a drunk driving checkpoint. The police proceed to check the car and Veera’s luggage. In the meantime, Neelambari gets agitated that it’s always good citizens that are treated like criminals. During the luggage inspection, the police find a gun and proceed to arrest Neelambari. Veera promised to help him out. In order to do that, he needs to find a lawyer.
Surprisingly he ends up at Aravindha’s house in her dad’s office. She is surprised to see him and tells her father what happened on the night they met. Her father’s assistant asks Veera to become her driver/bodyguard in exchange for the legal services. Aravindha’s sister Sunandha, not one to waste time, starts flirting with Veera which Aravindha dislikes. He tries to come close to her, but she keeps asking for space.
FINDING LOVE AND INNER PEACE
In the meantime, Neelambari is set free. Veera confides to him how during the fight someone stabbed him with an ax on his back, and how he felt that pain in his body and soul. Since then that excruciating pain wouldn’t go away no matter how many times he cried.
He tells him how when Aravindha made him smile the first time, he met her that pain when away for that moment. He tells him how she is studying the subject he is currently living “factionalism”. Through her casual talks, he may find a solution to his village problems: “Words take on a whole new meaning when the time and person saying it are right”
It’s time for him to listen and he will listen to Aravindha. In the meantime, in his village, some concerned villagers are planning to go lookout for him as they feel they need his leadership.
On his way to dropping her off at college, he recognizes a group of villagers. He tells Aravindha that he has an urgent errand he needs to do and asks her to drop him somewhere. He meets with the villagers. They tell him how Bala is telling everyone that he is going to kill Veera and that they must do something to stop him.
He tells them that Bala is scared and is just looking for a face to hate. He won’t go back until he finds a solution. The villagers dejected go back to the village, not before he inquires them about his mom and grandma and tells them to be careful on the way back.
MAKING A MISTAKE
We are back in the current time, and we see Neelambari with the police officer continuing the narration of the story. “Every man no matter how strong makes mistakes” even Veera Raghava.
Aravindha’s little brother needs a story for his school magazine. Aravindha asks Raghav to tell him a story. He proceeds to tell a story of the war between two kingdoms based on his life experiences. Aravindha then asks him why the prince left and didn’t choose to convince the other kingdom to stop the war. She says that we often don’t need to convince the once we love. The prince should learn to love his own people and convince the opposition to stop the war.
We then see how Basi Reddy somehow survived and by destiny’s play gets the published story by Aravindha’s brother right into his hands. He recognizes the story and yells for his son to gather his henchmen and find the boy who wrote the story. He will get him to Veera, and he will kill him when he finds him.
CLEVERLY FIGHTING EVIL
Veera helps Aravindha as she doesn’t know where to start on her thesis project. She successfully sets up a plan and as a reward, they plan a date for the following day. On the next day, while Veera is conversing with Neelambari on the side of the road he recognizes Bala’s henchmen passing by in a car. They follow them and realize that they went to Aravindha’s brother’s school because of the published story.
Before they can hurt the child Veera gets in the way and starts brutally fighting them without killing them but leaving them completely knocked out. They may even seem dead to anyone passing by. During the fight, Neelambari is a silent spectator who is astonished by what he is seeing. By the time there is only one henchman left, who is in hiding, Veera tells him to come out as he wants to finish the fight already. He is utterly terrified of Veera.
With no other option, the final henchman comes out and attacks Veera. Veera nearly drowns him in an aquarium nearby. He asks him why they would involve a child in their war. Veera then learns that Basi Reddy is alive. Because of all the commotion at the school, Veera missed his date with Aravindha. He looks for Aravindha and tries to make an excuse for being 40 minutes and for not replying after receiving 20 missed calls.
An upset Aravindha tells him it’s better to not continue dating if she’s not going to be important to him. Upon learning that his henchmen failed Basi Reddy gets furious and ready to go to kill Veera himself even though he is in no state to fight. His son Bala begs him not to go as he still hasn’t recovered from the attack and tells him that he will kill Veera for him.
LOOKING FOR THE SOLUTION: LOOKING FOR PEACE
Veera went to meet the politician in charge of representing both villagers to discuss a way to find a peaceful solution. During this time Aravindha is shopping with her brother. She suddenly loses him.
She calls Raghav but he doesn’t pick up as initially, he is in a meeting. The politician basically tells him that he is wasting his time as there will never be peace in his district. He tells him that violence is in his DNA. He finally picks up Aravindha’s call who tells him that her brother is missing.
She gets kidnapped during her call; she still has the earplugs on and Veera continues to talk to her and realizes who the kidnappers are. He tries to calm her down but at the same time, he tells her the reality of the possible outcome. He tells her to put him on speaker.
What follows is the most menacing and terrifying speech full of threats that he will fulfill one by one. In particular, he places a threat on Bala’s son’s life if they hurt Aravindha and her brother but if they choose to leave, he will give them the option to live in peace.
Bala and his gangsters get so scared they leave Aravindha and her brother alone on the side of the road. All this time he was still in the politician’s office. Seeing how effective he was the politician gets impressed and offered to assist him by setting up a meeting with Bala to discuss peaceful solutions.
After picking up Aravindha and her brother and bringing them safely home, he tells her that he needs to resolve the war before coming back to her.
“They say a man feels proud when he saves a woman. But it’s disgusting when you throw her into danger and then save her” – Veera Raghava
Motivated by his love for her, he decides to go back to his village to end the factionalism. The politician managed to arrange a meeting with Bala. Veera proposed for him to be the candidate for the new MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly). An MLA is a representative elected by the voters of an electoral district to the legislature of the State government in the Indian system of government for a term of 5 years.
By this time we learn that Basi Reddy’s henchmen, whom Veera fought at Aravindha’s brother’s school were locked up in a house owned by Aravindha’s father.
Upon learning more about Veera’s past Aravindha decides to go to Veera’s native place guided by Neelambari to make the documentary for her thesis. They decided to film a documentary about people affected by the corruption caused by the organized crime groups that have arisen since the war. During the interviews, she learns about the cruel rule in the region” “Take one life for a life” and learns about Veera’s past and struggles.
On their way to Veera’s home their car broke down and they were helped unknowingly by none other than Basi Reddy’s wife. She invites them to her home. Basi Reddy upon learning that his son failed his mission because he was too scared decided to brutally kill his own son.
When Basi Reddy realizes who Arvinda and Neelambari are, he takes them hostage. He calls Veera to confront him on an open field. Basi Reddy tells him he killed Bala and spread the rumor that Veera killed him, and now no one would stand for peace.
Basi Reddy wants Veera to fight and be the monster he is supposed to be. Basi Reddy slashes Aravindha’s arm, and stabs Neelambari, in an attempt to motivate Veera to fight, who keeps trying to not start another fight. Veera tries to dissuade him and his henchmen from doing more damage.
Basi Reddy is shocked when his henchmen, who have had a change of heart listening to Veera Raghava’s words, take Aravindha and Neelambari to the hospital despite being threatened by him. They left Veera and Basi Reddy alone on the field. Enraged by the death of Bala, who was his only ray of hope, Veera Raghava murders Basi Reddy using a sword and sets him on fire so that no one can learn about his murder.
FINDING THE SOLUTION: FINDING PEACE
Veera Raghava confesses to Basi Reddy’s wife that he has murdered Basi Reddy. The latter, who is heartbroken at her own son’s death at her husband’s hand, washes the weapon and takes Veera Raghava to the village. She files a complaint with the earlier corrupt police that her husband murdered her son and escaped, thereby ending the fight in the village.
Veera Raghava nominates her as MLA and of course, there are party representatives who dislike the idea. Veera gives a speech about the endurance the women of his family had during the war and further expanded on a mother’s capability to raise their children and run the family house better than men. Ruling as an MLA is a very small job in comparison.
Veera declares her the new MLA after stating that no one from his family, village, or district would stand up against her, and to seal the deal he asks if anyone had any objections. With complete silence from a big crowd, symbolizing a unanimous vote in favor of the nomination, they proceed to sign her as the new nominee for MLA. There are no indications that she will lose the nomination.
A BETTER FUTURE
We are now back at the scene from the beginning of the movie with the police officer and Neelambari. The police officer now realizes after learning the story that those weren’t ghosts at the house but Basi Reddy’s henchmen. They were locked up in the house as punishment.
Veera left a door they could break down to give them hope that they would get out, but they would find an indestructible second door that would keep them locked. They left them enough food in 3 refrigerators and Veera even left them a clue in the house to help them get out.
At this point we see them finding the key and getting out. The police officer asks Neelambari if they are not afraid these men would do something bad again. Neelambari replies that people who learn to survive don’t like killing. We then see Veera meeting them and giving them a paper with an address and telling them to go there with their weapons when they recover their stamina. They all just ignore him and leave in silence.
The police officer asks Neelambari whether he is the “Veera Raghava Reddy” from his story. We see Veera leaving the scene going forward towards a better future leaving the violent past behind. The End.
It’s the first movie I watched in a while where the bad guys are afraid of the hero. The hero is on a journey looking for alternative solutions other than violence even if it means scaring his enemies so that they won’t be able to do more harm. I got Batman vibes. The actor did a good job showing his light Romeo and his darker Batman/Rambo side.
It is also remarkable how strong the villain’s character is presented. In the story, almost everyone uses his full name to address him which shows that either they have some level of respect for him or are too afraid to be familiar with him.
The story has a very serious tone at the beginning with the loss of life and graphic fighting scenes. The Berserk moment is impactful, and the fighting is brutal. You don’t know anything about Veera. What he was studying, his past, and how he was raised and trained. His fighting abilities are impressive but not surprising. Veera ripping his shirt off for the female gaze is much appreciated.
I like Veera’s character. He has morals and is willing to listen. He will not cheat on someone who trusted in him which is why he went to look for a lawyer for Neelambari.
The cinematography during the first half of the film especially the fight scene, Veera’s arrival with his dad’s body at his house, and the mourning of the women was beautifully done.
There are 2 main central themes in the movie: the issue of factionalism and Veera’s Journey of self-discovery.
The film’s main theme is based on the factionalism present in the region of Rayalaseema, a theme that was dominant in Telugu cinema during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Here is a quote from the director:
“In most of the films based on Rayalaseema factionalism, only the act of violence was glorified; however, none of those films focused on the aftermath of a war. Both Jr NTR and I became interested in starting our story with a bloody act of war to give the film a context and then explore how the protagonist shuns that path to bring peace. Later, when I came up with the idea of focusing on the lives of women and how families are torn apart due to such violence, it gave us a lot more depth to explore.” — Trivikram Srinivas
In general, factionalism is a condition in which a group is split into two or smaller groups with differing and often opposing opinions or interests. With rural factionalism, a faction is formed by a single individual or a small group (of families) based on political ideology, caste power, and clash of personality, in order to serve the political, social, and economic interest of a small minority. In the story to my understanding factionalism was caused by a conflict-related the repayment of a small amount of money.
I liked the idea of showing the consequences of the conflict. In the west, they tend to focus on the root cause of the conflict itself, but the aftermath is never placed at the forefront in stories about conflicts. It is always one side that gets glorified.
A JOURNEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY
Finding an alternative way to live a better life is another simple yet strong theme in the film. The suffering Veera experienced and saw, especially from his grandma, initially motivated him to find an alternative solution.
The alternative to war is peace. In order to do that he has to change his mindset and listen to others. Aravindha further motivated him to take the final step towards an absolute change. His journey of self-discovery is motivated by love essentially.
WHY THE FILM RESONATES?
The film explores the aftermath of the conflict mainly how it affected the lives of the less vulnerable, mainly the women and children. Imagine seeing the aftermath of the conflicts and sanctions in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East and how it has affected the people while those in power who it’s supposed to debilitate are still living the good life. I’m pretty sure the public perception in the west about the ongoing conflicts would be different.
The film shows no mercy for criminals. It gives a warning not to commit crimes but if it takes place criminals will face the consequences. For example, in the case of a robbery, a proper beating would be ideal. I don’t know why there seems to be a humanization of villains in Western pop culture influencing society to sympathize with them. Even when their values, beliefs, and behavior are harmful to society as a whole.
It has been a long time since I’ve seen the bad guys truly afraid of the good guy. In Western movies, traditional badass heroes nowadays are portrayed as incompetent self-doubting individuals who always need to do better.
The villains are no longer the bad guys, they are “misunderstood” individuals. The way they are portrayed is for the audience to have sympathy for them. Something that is translated from pop culture into real life where hard-core criminals are portrayed as victims. Action films used to be simple you love the hero and hate the bad guy. That simplicity has been corrupted by the West.
Such content-driven films showing the consequences of wars and conflicts such as military intervention, and economic sanctions, will never be sponsored or promoted by the mainstream. The protest would become from more influential groups that dictate what is the acceptable portrayal of the actors in the conflict including citizens. Sometimes bad actors are portrayed as saviors (Douma OPCW Report) and those who point that out are defamed and/or canceled.
Despite all the obstacles, individual filmmakers can still get the support and acceptance of the public and produce great stories. The challenge is for the public to find and support alternative entertainment. At this point, I think more people are beginning to realize that they are investing their time and money in mediocre entertainment and will be more open to supporting alternative entertainment. Once that support is gained the challenge will be for the alternative entertainment to remain independent and stand tall to prevent the influence of (corporate)mainstream on their work.
My Rating: 7/10
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