Written and directed by Anup Bhandari, “Vikrant Rona” is set in the fictional village of Kamarottu (yes, that’s also the name of the village in Bhandari’s “RangiTaranga”). It opens with the abduction and murder of a child who was traveling with her mother. The focus then shifts to a wedding between Vishwanath Ballal (Ravishankar Gowda) and Baby Ballal’s (Chitkala Biradar) daughter, Panna (Neetha Ashok), and a dude who works in Vishwanath’s mill. They want to get Janardhan Gambhira’s (Madhusudan Rao’s) blessings, but he’s not very cool about it because the guy who Panna is getting married to is from a different caste. That’s when Sanju (Nirup Bhandari) enters the picture, i.e., Janardhan and Shantha Gambhira’s (V.Priya) son. He apparently left Kamarottu when Janardhan banished him for stealing jewels from the local temple and is returning after a long time.
But, on his first night back home, Sanju and Panna come across the dead body of a police officer. Everyone assumes that it’s the work of a mythical demon called “Brahmarakshas.” And that’s essentially the cue for the titular hero’s entry, played by the one and only Kiccha Sudeep. He is an inspector who is there with his daughter, Geethanjali Rona (Samhitha), to investigate the death of his predecessor and the abduction and/or deaths of several other kids in the area. On his way, his jeep’s tyre is wrecked, and one of his bags (which apparently had his uniform) is allegedly stolen. That begs the question if he ever had a bag or if he is a police officer, to begin with. Anyway, he suspects everyone and anyone around him, which surprisingly leads him closer to the harrowing truth about the incidents in Kamarottu.
“Vikrant Rona” has such a muddled narrative and moves at such a breakneck speed that it’s hard to catch everything. What you are about to read is based on first-viewing only.
The Several Red Herrings
Let’s be honest here. “Vikrant Rona” has an Islamophobia problem. It treats one of the only “good Muslim” characters, Fakruddin (Karthik Rao), in the movie as a joke. That, too, is just one joke, which is about the number of kids in his family. If you don’t get why that’s funny, it’s because it is not. Muslims in India have long been stereotyped by the Hindu majority community who blame them for the country’s population rise. That’s what the movie is essentially reinforcing. Of course, when there’s a “good Muslim” character, there has to be a “bad Muslim” character. This movie has several of them, with Moosa (Dushyant Rai) being the head of the gang. Why are they there? So that Muslims can be stereotyped and then beaten up by the hero for everyone to see. And, yes, these “bad Muslim” characters are the red herring of the film too.
So, while investigating the mystery behind his jeep’s deflated tyre, Vikrant realizes that it was shot by someone and is not the work of a ‘Brahmarakshas.’ That’s when he’s attacked by Moosa’s men. As per Moosa, they go around in ghostly clothes, scaring the police and regular people away from the routes that they use to smuggle goods in and out of Kamarottu. He admits that he’s guilty of smuggling, but he isn’t guilty of killing anyone. Still, Vikrant totals his men and leaves Moosa out as bait for the real killer (or maybe even kills him) because how else is he going to demean the only other Muslim character in the movie? The other red herrings are Vikrant himself (who comes out in a “Brahmarakshas” costume at one point to understand the villain’s perspective), the guy who is supposed to marry Panna, and, if I am remembering it correctly, Eknath Gambhira (Ramesh Rai Kukkuvalli).
Just to make it clear, nothing is made of the religious identities of Vikrant, the guy who is supposed to marry Panna, and Eknath Gambhira. But a big deal is made of the religious identities of Moosa and his men, so that they can be ridiculed. Here’s a piece of advice to filmmakers: minorities in India are going through hell right now. If you can’t write meaningful characters for them, maybe don’t include them at all. I am sure there are many artists from minority communities who’ll be able to represent themselves on the big or small screen better than trashy movies like “Vikrant Rona” do.
Geethanjali Rona Is A Figment Of Vikrant’s Imagination.
Throughout the film, you see Geethanjali/Guddi assisting Vikrant almost everywhere. Her inclusion in the movie is suspicious from the get-go because why would anyone bring a girl to a village where people are literally being abducted and murdered? Things get a little more dubious because, during a song sequence involving Vikrant and Guddi, the movie starts to get a little fantastical in nature. But as soon as the second half begins, you start to notice that no one other than Vikrant is interacting with Guddi or acknowledging her presence. When Fakruddin takes Vikrant and Guddi to the haunted temple, it becomes abundantly clear that she doesn’t exist for the same reason as before. The stakes are just too high for a police officer to bring his little daughter into a haunted temple that’s home to the murderer or murderers that are terrorizing Kamarottu.
Bhandari manages to keep you guessing as Guddi and Vikrant make their way up the stairs of the temple, and you see the water interacting with her feet. But as soon as they get in there, Guddi hangs back as Vikrant starts to go through multiple closets that have the clothes of the kids the murderers have killed. Guddi keeps saying that she’s feeling scared, but Vikrant keeps going. Ultimately, he finds the closet with Geethanjali’s name on it and the dress and mask she was last seen in. Yes, the woman, Renu Rona (Milana Nagaraj), and the kid from the first scene in the film are Vikrant’s wife and daughter, respectively. The murderer killed and hanged Geethanjali. Renu went into a coma after witnessing that. So, he’s actually there to not just investigate the murderers happening in the village but to seek revenge for his daughter’s death. However, why was Guddi killed? Well, read on.
‘Vikrant Rona’ Ending Explained: Sanju And Lawrence Pinto Are Raghava And Madhava, Respectively.
Around 30 years ago, Nittoni (Yogish Shetty), his wife, his mother, his young daughter, and his two sons, Raghava and Madhava, used to live on the outskirts of Kamarottu. It’s insinuated that they were from lower caste and lower class backgrounds. The headmaster of the school urged Nittoni to send his sons to school so that they could rise above their caste and class restrictions. But at school, Raghava and Madhava were routinely bullied by the upper caste and upper-class kids. Actually, the general sentiment towards Raghava and Madhava attending school was negative. So, when Sanju stole the temple jewels, the village folk blamed Nittoni and his family for it. They brutally beat up the elderly and burned down their house. Raghava and Madhava made a run for it. The upper caste kids broke Madhava’s teeth with a plier and caused Raghava to accidentally push his sister into the well, thereby killing her.
It was assumed that, like the rest of Nittoni’s family, Raghava and Madhava were dead. They are not. They are living in Kamarottu as Lawrence Pinto (Vajradir Jain) and Sanju (Nirup Bhandari). Both of them have been abducting and killing children, and their final targets are Panna and Munna (Siddu Moolimani). Why these kids? Because they are the kids of the villagers who aided and abetted the deaths of Raghava and Madhava’s father, mother, and sister. So, is the grandmother alive? Yes, and she can apparently teleport everywhere like a ghost. But why Vikrant Rona’s kid? Well, Vikrant used to be a resident of Kamarottu, and on that fateful night, he unintentionally supplied the pliers to the rowdy kids, which were later used on Madhava. And yes, all this is unraveled in the temple where Raghava and Madhava are trying to kill Panna and Munna. Vikrant obviously stops the brothers and the grandmother.
Madhava is definitely dead. The grandmother, I am not very sure. We never see Raghava’s body. So, who knows? No, one stab doesn’t ensure his death. Vikrant got stabbed hundreds of times, and he walked out like a boss. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is, in addition to having issues while depicting the Muslim community, “Vikrant Rona” also drops the ball while trying to depict casteism. Raghava and Madhava are clearly the victims of the crime committed by a casteist village. However, by turning them into literal monsters and by making them kill children, they are turned into the most objectively bad characters in the film. They don’t get a redemption arc or a revenge arc. Vikrant, despite being on the side of the villains, gets the win. Panna hails him as a hero. And the ending indicates that Vikrant did the right thing. Just to set the record straight, no, he didn’t.
“Vikrant Rona” is a 2022 Indian Action Thriller film directed by Anup Bhandari.