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Anger Tales review: A refreshing take on the repercussions of anger

In this anthology, director Prabhala Tilak tells the stories of four characters with a common problem - how do they confront their anger?

Anger Tales review: A refreshing take on the repercussions of anger
Anger Tales
  • Srivathsan Nadadhur

Last Updated: 10.00 AM, Mar 09, 2023

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Ranga, a hard-core film buff, is in a soup when a benefit show of his idol’s next film, doesn’t go as per plan. Pooja, after her marriage to an orthodox family, is frustrated when her husband dictates what should go on her plate and what can’t. Radha, a tenant, is livid with her chatterbox landlord for interrupting her siestas daily. Giri, a balding 30s-something man with a dicey professional life, is struggling with low self-esteem. How do they confront their inner demons?


For a long time, anger in most mainstream Telugu films was limited to two extremes. While the protagonist claims to be using ‘anger’ for the larger good, ‘guarding’ his beloved, the antagonist/bad guy does so, to wreak havoc on the former’s life. Refreshingly, in the recent decade, filmmakers have embraced ‘anger’ as a humanly quality to showcase the greys of their characters.

Anger Tales is an anthology bringing alive the various hues of anger, telling the stories of four ordinary people belonging to different socio-economic backgrounds. It doesn’t try to dictate if anger is good, bad or otherwise. The outcomes of anger in the stories are different - constructive, destructive and sometimes, meaningless too. It’s funny, moving and thought-provoking too.


Benefit Show

Director H Vinoth, in an interview, while downplaying fan frenzy around films said, ‘For all the time, efforts that you (fans) put into it, what can we give back? A thank you or a two-and-a-half-hour film at best. Don’t let cinema define your existence.’ In times when social media gives a free rein for fans to go berserk, celebrate their star, this segment in Anger Tales is a cautionary tale for viewers to have a life beyond cinema.

The short offers an accurate picture of the mood of curious, anxious fans ahead of a benefit show of their star’s film in a single theatre. They organise the show as a matter of ‘prestige’, anxiously coordinating with distributors, spending thousands putting up banners to deck up the theatre premises. There’s fanaticism, and a clash of egos and Prabhala Tilak manages to capture the nervous tension in the air through the eyes of a film buff Ranga.

What if things don’t go as per plan and anger gets the better of Ranga? Though this is a story more relatable to the industry insider than the average viewer, the director makes a good effort to depict the downside of the fan culture. Without saying much, it plants a thought. Venkatesh Maha is a revelation as the animated Ranga while Moin, Suhas and other actors play their parts with earnestness.

Food Festival

Perhaps, the wittiest segment of the anthology, it discusses a tale of a crumbling marriage using food as a trigger point. It proves you don’t always need to resort to drama or ‘heavy’ conflicts to showcase a failing marital life. When Pooja is denied something as basic as the food of her choice in her house, she uses every possible trick in the book to find other alternatives.

You empathise with Pooja’s frustration when she can’t have a non-vegetarian meal or even an egg at her household. The director doesn’t trivialise her trauma and juxtaposes it with various glimpses of her three-year marital life to add credibility to her story. And there’s good entertainment too! The banters around vegan diets, the orthodoxy of the family and lifestyle choices are hilarious.

The smart use of Vivaha Bhojanambu ensures a ful‘filling’ ending. The flashy, vivid visualisation - from the cinematography to the production design - and the music complement the setup. Madonna Sebastian is an ideal fit as Pooja, she lends gravitas to the portrayal of a frustrated, unapologetic foodie. However, Tharun Bhascker is the show-stealer, a hoot playing an insensitive, controlling husband.

An Afternoon Nap

This segment, beyond anger, reflects the agony of being a tenant and the inability to have a roof of their own. Radha is a homemaker who does small tailoring jobs while her husband works for a meagre salary in a company. What if a petty issue with a landlord that affects Radha’s siestas spiral out of control? The grassroots-level understanding of mundane issues in a middle-class existence contributes to the authenticity of the storytelling.

The interpersonal equations among the wife, husband and owners are established well. While a tape recorder is initially viewed as the only solace for the homemaker to get past lonely noons, it’s superbly used as a device to heighten the impact of a ‘destructive’ ending later. Although the climax looks slightly exaggerated, the quirky treatment of a domestic story is a testament to the director’s storytelling capabilities.

Bindu Madhavi is effortless as Radha, while Ravindra Vijay and Padmaja Lanka chip in with their impressive screen presence and spontaneity.

Helmet Head

Giri is in the middle of what could be a nightmarish phase for a man in his 30s - his professional life hasn’t taken off, he’s balding and there’s pressure to get married. He doesn’t have a venting outlet and his self-esteem is at an all-time low. The premise, in spite of its familiarity, strikes a chord because of the tongue-in-cheek humour. For instance, Giri says nothing can ever stop him in life and the next moment, a cop stops him for not wearing a helmet - the reality checks are funny.

There’s good drama in the deadlock situation that Giri finds himself amidst and a personal tragedy compounds his problems further. You identify with his vulnerabilities. Much like Bindu Madhavi’s earlier segment, be prepared to be for an unusual ending. Phani Acharya is aptly cast as an ordinary man hopeful of a rosy tomorrow and the presence of a veteran like Sudha brings enough emotional depth to the story.


Anger Tales is an intriguing anthology portraying how four ordinary people channel their anger in conflicting situations. There’s a genuine attempt to explore anger as an emotion and its repercussions across the four segments. Debutant Prabhala Tilak creates a solid foundation for the tense situations before the characters go berserk. Barring occasional missteps, the writing and the filmmaking are refreshing. The measured performances, varied musical styles and cinematography aid the storyteller.