Karthik Varma Dandu’s Telugu horror thriller film, ‘Virupaksha,’ tells a mysterious tale embedded with supernatural elements. The film stars Sai Dharam Tej and Samyuktha Menon in leading roles as Surya and Nandini, alongside Rajeev Kanakala, Sai Chand, and others. After mysterious evil powers take hold of the small village of Rudravanam, several people start dropping dead without an explanation. With countless lives at stake, Surya embarks on a journey to discover the truth behind the village’s curse and tries to save the life of the woman he loves, Nandini.
Virupaksha presents a story interwoven with superstitions, traditions, and beliefs. In doing so, it creates a thrilling narrative with rich character arcs and exciting plot twists. Additionally, the story feels more grounded due to its historical setting and religious undertones. As such, viewers might wonder about the origin behind ‘Virupaksha’ and the meaning behind the word itself. Therefore, here is everything you need to know about the same!
What Does Virupaksha Mean?
During the film, when Aghora Swami teams up with Surya, he realizes that there is something special about his collaborator. As such, he refers to Surya as the ‘Virupaksha.’ Etymologically ‘Virupaksha’ is a combination of the Hindi words “virup” and “aksha” and has roots in Sanskrit. The word ‘Virupaksha,’ meaning eyes without a form, is often used to refer to the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva.
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva possesses a special third eye. Shiva’s third eye represents a number of things across cultures, but generally, it symbolizes cosmic power and enlightenment. Similarly, ‘Virupaksha’ is also utilized within different cultures, most notably so by the Kirati people of Nepal to refer to their holy god Birupakshya.
Since, in the film, the title is used by a devotee of Lord Shiva, it is likely a reference to the same as well. When talking about the origin behind the film’s title, actor Sai Dharam Tej said, “Virupaksha means an eye that doesn’t have a form. So the protagonist fights with something that doesn’t have a form.” Likewise, in the film, Surya can sense a formless antagonist within the village while seeing the bigger picture with more clarity than the other characters.
Surya stays true to his compassion for humanity and love for Nandini when the other villagers are too blinded by their fear and superstitions. As such, he is the only one who is enlightened and solves the mystery of Rudravanam’s curse. Therefore, Surya’s ability to perceive oncoming intangible danger and prevent it lends itself to his title as the ‘Virupaksha.’
Is Virupaksha Based on a True Story?
No, Virupaksha is not based on a true story. The film’s screenplay is co-written by Sukumar, a famous South Indian filmmaker, based on a story by Director Karthik Varma Dandu. Karthik is a self-proclaimed fan of the horror genre. As such, in his sophomore directorial film, after 2015’s ‘Bham Bolenath,’ Karthik chose to set his story within a horror premise.
The film’s events transpire in 1991, with flashbacks and backstories set up a decade ago in the 80s. When talking about the setting of his film, Director Karthik said, “[As I’ve told you,] I’ve taken superstitious beliefs as the core point to make the film, so to add to the believability factor, we’ve set it in 1991. We had to put up a fictional village in the middle of a forest to create an atmosphere for the film and to enhance the mood of the story.”
By employing the fictional village of Rudravanam, the film affords itself the ability to craft its supernatural elements with a free hand. However, it still retains a relationship to reality by featuring customs and traditions that may be reminiscent of real life to the audience.
Likewise, the central characters in ‘Virupaksha’ are also well-written and have rich backstories. When discussing her character, Nandini, in an interview, Actress Samyuktha Menon recalled, “For me, the process of Virupaksha was [much] longer. We had a lot of workshops, and we had to develop the underline hidden screenplay for my character.” As such, the film retains its relatability amidst outlandish supernatural themes through well-established characters and their clear-cut motives.
Ultimately, Virupaksha is not based on a true story. It is a complete work of fiction with some real-life elements of orthodox superstitions backing up its more eccentric storylines. Nevertheless, the film is packed with references to religion, magic, and the occult that can easily be found in real life. With consistent themes of revenge and redemption, ‘Virupaksha’ presents a compelling and enjoyable story with an overarching motif of love.