Controversial filmmaker Ramgopal Verma on Saturday night went ahead with the release of audio of his upcoming Telugu movie “Vangaveeti”, hours after meeting members Vangaveeti and Diveneni families, on whose feud the story is based.
Amid apprehensions that the movie may again trigger caste violence in the region, Verma met the members of the two rival families belonging to two different castes to seek their cooperation for the release of the film. While Vangaveeti family raised their objection, its rival Deveneni “Nehru” Rajasekhar fully backed Verma.
After meeting Vangaveeti Ratnakmari and her son Vangaveeti Radha Krishna, the director said he will not compromise on his dream project.
He also clarified that the film is not against any caste and that apprehensions of violence are unfounded.
Following the meeting with Vangaveeti family, Verma tweeted that there were unresolved problems, but made it clear that he will not compromise.
“Just met Radha and his mother… Meeting did not go half well… Problems… I will not compromise… Have to see what happens.
“I saw many serious warnings. First time I saw very smilingly serious warnings. Dangerous but I will not compromise on my vision of Vangaveeti,” added RGV, as Verma is popularly known.
While Vangaveeti family raised their objections to the movie, Nehru fully backed Verma saying as a filmmaker he has every right to make the film he wants.
Nehru said that it doesn’t matter to him if Verma projects him as Mahatma Gandhi or Godse, and that no one should have any objection.
Admitting that Radha and her mother had some objections, Verma said that as an artiste, he has every right to make a film on a story which is in public domain. “I have a right to present my perspective of Vangaveeti,” he said.
Addressing audio release function, Verma said while he made movies on various subjects, he had an emotional bonding with this film as it was based on his personal experiences in Vijayawda.
After meeting RGV, Radha Krishna told reporters that the family apprised him of its objections to the film. He pointed out that the matter is pending in court.
Verma and producer Dasari Kiran Kumar gave an undertaking in the Hyderabad High Court on Monday that they will remove objectionable scenes and a song in the trailer.
Petitioner Vangaveeti Radha had complained that the filmmakers had distorted facts and uploaded the trailer on the Internet without certification from CBFC as they are required to do under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act.
Radha said that the song and some scenes of the movie would provoke enmity between the Kamma and Kapu communities, which are predominant in coastal Andhra Pradesh.
RGV had announced earlier this year that “Vangaveeti”, on the evolution of hooliganism in the 1980s in Vijayawada, will be his last film in Telugu.
According to him, the story starts with the killing of Chalasani Venkatarathnam by Vangaveeti Ranga in the 1970s.
Ranga, a leader of Congress party and belonging to the Kapu community, was murdered in 1988 when he was on hunger strike, sparking unprecedented violence in Vijayawada and other parts of Krishna district as well as neighbouring districts. More than 40 people were killed and property worth over Rs 100 crore was damaged.
The violence abated after then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao made his Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislator Devineni ‘Nehru’ Rajasekhar surrender. Then Home Minister Kodela Sivaprasada Rao also had to resign.
Ranga’s followers suspect that RGV has portrayed their leader in a bad light. They have also raised objections to using his surname for the film.
The filmmaker had promised his earlier film on gang rivalry “Raktacharitra”, would look like a children’s film before “Vangaveeti”.
“Raktacharitra”, a multilingual movie released in 2010, was based on the bloody feud between the families of Paritala Ravindra and Maddelacheruvu Suri in the turbulent Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh.