RGV's 'Vangaveeti' ruffles Vijayawada

Movie revolves around events that led to riots in 1988

RGV's 'Vangaveeti' ruffles Vijayawada

Director Ramgopal Verma’s penchant for rousing controversy around his movies even before it is made has succeeded in yielding results one more time.

Verma arrived in Vijayawada on Saturday to hunt for facts ahead of his plans to bring on screen the events that led to the assassination of Vangaveeti Mohanaranga Rao alias Ranga, a Kapu leader of the Congress in Vijayawada way back in 1988. Ranga was hacked to death while he was on a fast-unto-death demanding house site pattas for the poor by assailants, who reports stated were hired by Telugu Desam leaders.

The factional feud between two prominent castes, Kapus and Kammas, has led to several gruesome murders in Vijayawada and it was once such theme based on gang-wars and student politics of the town that led to Verma’s first commercial success, ‘Shiva’.

While Ranga’s wife Ratnakumari and her son refused to meet Verma, Devineni Nehru–Ranga’s rival–did spend time with him explaining the background behind the feud.

The police, however, kept a close watch on Verma in view of threats to his life. The state government also cautioned Verma from raking up emotions in a rather peaceful and event free Vijayawada which is now a part of the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati.

“I feel that a few misunderstandings led to revenge killing, but that is not what Vijayawada is. I urged Verma not to concentrate on these issues bringing a bad name to Vijayawada,” said Nehru, who left the TDP long time ago and is now in the Congress.  “I am not trying to portray Kapus as heroes and Kammas as villains. I am going to show what has led to the faction feud and how the death of Vangaveeti Radha, Ranga’s elder brother, occurred and how the feud ended with the end of Ranga,” Verma told reporters at a hotel in Vijayawada.

Even before Ranga ruled over Vijayawada, communist leader Chalasani Venkata Ratnam–a Kamma–held sway over trade unions and student unions in Vijayawada.

Gradually, Radha became one of his main followers. Trouble started after Radha tried to act independently, infuriating Ratnam. Radha launched his own student union called United Independent Organisation (UIO) leading to clashes with Ratnam’s AISF.

After the feud resulted in killings on both sides, Ratnam was also murdered in a brutal way with almost 72 knife stabs. The CPI retaliated viciously. All accused, including Radha, were killed within two years.

Then came Ranga who took over his brother’s legacy to new heights.

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