The commercial cinema space in the Telugu language is littered with supernatural horror and fantasy stories of varying quality. One can either really enjoy them for the entertainment or detest them for making a film just for the heck of it. I’m not sure which category Virupaksha comes under. Directed by Kartik Varma Dandu, Virupaksha is a sad attempt at reigniting the supernatural fantasy genre. Why can’t Telugu cinema make an engaging story in this genre that would not leave anyone wanting to walk out of the theater? This commercial movie is about a supernatural entity that has discreetly taken over a small village and starts creating havoc by killing the adults one by one. How will this entity be caught and destroyed?
A Tragic History Of The Village
Virupaksha begins with a man supposedly performing black magic by placing a young girl in the middle of his home, with a woman sitting opposite him, trying to understand and comprehend what is happening. The villagers think this man is conducting black magic and is responsible for the plague that hit their town and killed many kids. The villagers gatecrash their home, drag the man and the woman out, tie them up to a tree, and burn them alive, something like the Salem witch hunt in America. Why was the man conducting black magic rituals, and why did the villagers act like a mob and carry out such vigilante justice? The villagers, out of pure fear of not wanting their kids to die, took the matter upon themselves to get rid of this man and his wife. The villagers were instigated by someone to carry out this ghastly act. The lady, while on fire, lets out a deathly cry, cursing the village that this land would turn into a graveyard in 12 years. Their son witnessed his parent’s death, and that no one tried to help them. The kid was sent off to an orphanage because the village was not keen on raising the son of the man who performed black magic. According to the villagers, his lineage could not be trusted. This forced the Sarpanch to send the boy away to an orphanage located in another village.
Years later, a farmer from the same village is attacked by a vicious crow, and the man gets severely infected with a strange disease. On the same day, Surya and his mother make a short trip to his mother’s village to attend a festival. Surya’s mother has not visited her hometown in a long while, and the festival gives her a reason to make the trip. They plan to stay at his cousin’s home, and so far, things are going smoothly for them. On reaching, the festival work has already begun under the leadership of a priest of a local temple. This priest was the same person who instigated the people 11 years ago to kill the husband and wife who he claimed black magic.
Surya and his mother are unaware of this history because they never lived in the village. Surya is attracted to a local girl named Nandini, who is the daughter of the Sarpanch. She comes across as lovable and a helpful person to the people around. Nandini also helps her friend Sudha in hiding her relationship with a guy named Kumar. Surya falls for Nandini’s helpful nature, but she is not sure if she wants to be in a relationship. She informs him that it would be difficult for her to be in love, keeping in mind how unlike they are as people and how different their upbringing has been. Surya is adamant about marrying her, but Nandini feels the exact opposite.
Village Under A Lockdown
The festival is about to begin in the village, but the injured man from his farm walks towards the temple amidst the rites and rituals that are about to begin. This man vomits blood in front of the deity and dies. The priest who runs the show in the village and is the judge of right or wrong sees death as a curse that must be lifted and rectified. The priest solely believes in a scripture he holds, a holy book that gives him solutions. Meanwhile, Surya is heartbroken over Nandini not wanting to be with him and letting him know that he should not pursue her at all. They part ways even though Surya was sure Nandini was the one for him, but keeping her wishes in mind, he decided to stay away.
Meanwhile, the priest lets the village know of the curse that has befallen their village right before the festival. To lift the curse, he announces an eight-day lockdown for all the rites and rituals conducted to make sure the curse is gone. The priest has a strong influence on the people, and he knows that his words will be taken seriously. The village agrees to the lockdown, and it is announced that anyone wishing to leave the village should do so before 6 in the evening. Surya and his mother decide to leave the village. They do not belong to this place, that’s why they have no obligation to stay back. Nandini, who has been a patient of epilepsy since her childhood, gets a severe attack, and the local doctor requests an injection from a nearby village as there is no stock with him. The person who is supposed to carry the medicine has a bike accident, and Surya and his family try to help him. The man requests the medicine to be delivered at the Sarpanch’s home, as they are for his daughter’s ill health. Surya, concluding that Nandini is the one that requires this medicine, rushes back to the village, asking his friend and mother to leave as soon as possible. This shows the love Surya has for Nandini. He did not care about the lockdown for the next eight days but was keen on helping the woman he loved. He reached just in time to save her health from going from bad to worse. Nandini slowly recovers and she gives Surya a pendant as a gift which used to belong to her mother. She assures him that the pendant will protect him. Surya obliges and keeps it.
Come nightfall, the lockdown began. There is genuine fear amongst the villagers about this lockdown, and since the people are orthodox and uneducated as well, they come across as gullible and believe the village priest’s words. There is a distress-like situation where something might go wrong if the lockdown rules are not followed. This makes the villagers wonder if any omen of death is looming over their home due to a strong sense of attachment to blind faith, and they follow it without questioning the authority figure.
‘Virupaksha’ Ending Explained: How Did Surya Stop The Occult?
Sudha, Nandini’s friend, defies the lockdown rules and heads out of town after nightfall to elope with her boyfriend, Kumar. She meets Kumar at the station, but sadly, Kumar is killed by a speeding train right in front of her eyes. Shocked by his sudden death, Sudha walks back into the town in the middle of the night, not realizing she would bring down the spiritual armor that was put around the borders of the village so that no evil entity could enter the village. But her stepping into the village after the lockdown set in motion the forces that rendered the guardian power useless. Sudha walks into a honeybee nest, and lets the bees sting her face, and she dies without realizing that she has killed herself. It seems like Sudha was under a spell that pushed her to commit suicide.
Meanwhile, Surya’s cousin Parvati hears some noise from the forest, and she follows it, only to see the local milkman killing himself right in front of her eyes. This sends her mind and body into shock. The villagers are also shocked to see the local milkman killing himself in this manner, and they have no answers as to why he did that. Within a few hours of daybreak, Parvati also commits suicide by stabbing herself in the right ear with a needle. Parvati for a long time had an ailment pertaining to her left ear. Only people close to her knew it was the left ear that was problematic. During her cremation, Surya noticed she had stabbed herself into the right ear, not the left one. He quickly concludes that Parvati did not commit suicide because if she wanted to stab herself to death, she would have stabbed the left infected ear. He wants to find out what is transpiring in this village, and he wants to help the village people. An Agora Priest appears at the village border and warns the villagers that there is a connection between all the deaths that have occurred so far, and they need to find out what exactly is the link before things get out of hand. The villagers do not pay any attention to his warnings because the local priest did not believe in Agora’s words.
But Surya plans to head to the temple to see if he can find any clues about what is transpiring in the village. On the way, he comes across the decomposed body of Sudha, and in her bag, he finds the train tickets. Sudha was missing for days. Surya and the villagers conclude that she crossed the village boundary but by returning back to the village, her entry nullified the guarding power placed on the borders of the village. That led to all these subsequent deaths. Surya tries to find out what happened to Kumar, but he is informed by the railway authorities that the boy was killed by a speeding train. With no leads in hand, Surya can only connect the dots and conclude that there are supernatural forces that are causing these deaths. He thinks of the link between the people who died. He concludes that these deaths occurred after one witnessed the other person die. Sudha witnessed Kumar’s death; Sudha’s death was witnessed by the milkman; the milkman’s death was witnessed by Parvati; and Surya is yet to crack on who witnessed Parvati’s death. He concludes that it was probably Nandini who witnessed Parvati’s death. Surya quickly follows Nandini who jumps into the well near an abandoned house. Surya rescues her by bringing her out of the water in a nick of time.
The town is horrified to witness another near-death, but thankfully, Surya saved her. The doctor and the priest reminisce about a similar wave of deaths that was happening 11 years ago, though back then it was the kids who were the victims. They recollect the deaths of Venkata Chalapathy and his wife, who were brutally killed by the village mob for being accused of carrying out black magic. The priest, currently near Nandini’s unconscious body, gathers the support of other villagers to let them know that Nandini is carrying the curse. People need to give away their blood, and sacrifice Nandini to make sure the curse is lifted. All of this is recited by the priest from the scriptures he believes in. Surya knows the only way to make sure that Nandini does not face execution is to bring back Venkata Chalapathy’s son Bhairava to the village. Surya does his investigation into Venkata Chalapathy and the work he was doing by going through the abandoned bungalow of the said man. Surya is adamant about finding a breakthrough here because he does not want Nandini to die. He begins his quest to find out where Bhairava is right now. He heads to the orphanage where he was admitted, but they let him know that Bhairava was a peculiar student who never got over his parents’ deaths and was seen chanting mantras all the time. He somehow gained powers through his chants and ran away from the orphanage to seek a great deal of strength that would help him get revenge on the village that killed his father and mother.
Surya only has eight hours to save Nandini because that is the exact time given for the ritual to start. Surya tries to locate the Agora, who he thinks would be able to help him find Bhairava. As the two go on the quest to find Bhairava, Surya quickly learns that it was Kumar who was Bhairava. The man walked into the town with the sole motive of putting the curse in motion. He began by killing himself, and his curse was transferred to Sudha, the milkman, Parvati, and finally, Nandini. But Surya is sure someone from the village helped him get this work done, and he assumes it is the priest. Surya is doing everything he can so that Nandini is not sacrificed. He wants her to live, and this proves his love for her. He heads back to the town with the Agora priest to confront the priest and open the closed temple. But on reaching the town, they witness the scenario has completely changed.
The men, including the priest, sacrificed their blood for the ritual, and Nandini is in a trance. The men who sacrificed their blood were also possessed by her. Unable to get a grasp over what Nandini is up to, he questions her intentions. Nandini reveals that she is the biological daughter of Venkata Chalapathy, and she also witnessed the deaths of her parents, just like Bhairava did. She was saved from being sent away by the Sarpanch, and he raised her as his own. But Nandini never forgot the way her parents were killed, and she joined hands with her brother. The siblings replaced the priest’s original scriptures with ones that would slowly surround the village with black magic. All these years of work they put in have come to fruition and it begins with killing the villagers because they were responsible for their parent’s deaths. Her father was not a black magician, but an Atharvana Veda practitioner who wanted to use the scriptures to save his bedridden wife. The villagers mistook him for a black magician and killed him. What made her angry was the fact that the village people had no remorse for killing an innocent man, which made her, and her brother take the path of revenge. The pendant that Surya has on him was created by Chalapathy for his wife using the powers mentioned in the Veda. Surya feels awful for Nandini for the life she had led, and he still wants to stop her from committing a sin.
Nandini chose to keep Surya out of this ritual because he was not from the village, so whatever happens here will not affect him. But Surya reveals that she gave him the pendant not just to protect him but out of love for him, and he is begging her to stop this ritual. Nandini knows she must do the right thing. The Bhairava spirit in her is making her carry out this ghastly crime. Nandini now knows the only way to stop this ritual from being carried out is if Surya can kill her. Out of sheer desperation and with no choice in hand, Surya does the deed by stabbing her. As she dies, the possessed villagers collapse right in front of the ignited large tree. With Nandini dead, Bhairava’s spirit exits her body.
Virupaksha ends with Nandini being cremated near her old home and Surya asking the priest and the people not to believe in blind faith and rumors that could potentially harm an innocent person. As a tribute to Nandini and her father, he requests that the village open a school where her father’s home stood. As he says this, Surya’s eye color changes, and it can be assumed that Bhairava’s spirit managed to get into Surya’s body right after Nandini’s death. Bhairava will not stop at Nandini’s death, and he will come back with more power to exact revenge for his parent’s and his sister’s death. A potential sequel for Virupaksha might be in the making, with Surya’s eyes revealing that the revenge is far from done.