People see what they want to see: Interview with 'Vangaveeti' actor Sandeep Kumar

Sandeep Kumar plays a dual role in RGV's latest political drama.
People see what they want to see: Interview with 'Vangaveeti' actor Sandeep Kumar
People see what they want to see: Interview with 'Vangaveeti' actor Sandeep Kumar
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Director Ram Gopal Varma's latest political drama, "Vangaveeti" has received a lot of praise and criticism over the last few months for various reasons.

Based on gang warfare in Vijayawada during the 1980s, Ram Gopal Varma has spilled more blood than ever, in this film. 

The movie is about a series of murders, and the precision and planning that went behind each one.

The film is a partly fictionalised biopic of Vangaveeti Mohana Ranga, a leader of the Congress party, who belonged to the Kapu community, and was murdered in 1988 when he was on a hunger strike. 

The murder set off unprecedented violence in Vijayawada and other parts of Andhra Pradesh.

While the film mostly uses fresh faces for its characters, most critics have agreed that Sandeep Kumar, who plays the characters of Vangaveeti Radha and Vangaveeti Ranga, is a great find.

Even RGV himself, has been all praise for the actor.

In an interview to The News Minute, Sandeep talks about how he bagged the role and how much effort he put into the film.

Born in Kakinada, 31-year-old Sandeep did his initial schooling in the town, before moving to Hyderabad with his family, where he continued his education.

"I was always interested in acting even as a child. I remember going on stage and doing these performances when I was in LKG," he recalls.

When Sandeep was in his 20s and looking for an acting gig, he says that he couldn't find anything at first.

"I quit my job, and decided to look for something. It was tough. I used to do small characters and some of the films I worked on, did not even release," he says.

Sandeep got his first proper shot, when he auditioned for Puri Jagannadh's "Jyothi Lakshmi" and bagged the role of the second lead in the film.

"When we were travelling for the film, I met Ram Gopal Varma sir, and he told me that he was looking for the character of Radha. He said that I looked a bit similar and he asked me to try out for the role. He liked it instantly," Sandeep says.

Soon, RGV also asked him to try out for Ranga's role, since the two of them were brothers, and looked identical in a way.

"That's how I got the dual role," Sandeep adds.

When asked about the preparation that went into the roles, Sandeep says, "There was only one photo of Radha that we could find, which made it difficult to understand who he was, and what his body language was like. However, I contacted a few older people, who had met and spoken with Radha, and they told me their observations. Based on that, I started building the character."

"They say that he (Radha) started off as a 'rowdy' in an auto stand. So I used my imagination, and then RGV sir added some inputs," he adds.

As far as Ranga's character was concerned, Sandeep says that they were luckier.

"We could manage to find many articles and photos of him in different angles - sitting, standing, in a meeting etc, but even in this case, there was no video," he says.

"However, based on the photos, I got a rough idea of what his body language may have been like," he adds.

Since the film's release last Friday, there have been several protests in Vijayawada against the movie.

Followers of both the Devineni and Vangaveeti families, who are part of the plot, have demanded the withdrawal of the title of the film and alleged that it does not reflect facts.

Responding to the criticism, Sandeep narrates his observation.

"When I was in the theatre watching the film, I saw that when (Devineni) Nehru's aides were attacked, there was a section of the crowd cheering, while another section cheered when (Vangaveeti) Radha was being attacked. People are seeing what they want to see, and reacting," he says.

He also goes on to add, "I don't claim to know exactly what happened at that time, but as an actor, I have a script to follow."

When asked about his future plans, the actor says, "I am considering some more offers. I will take the advice of Puri sir and RGV sir before going ahead."

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