I waited impatiently RRR as long as I can remember. It skipped several release dates due to the pandemic, the latest being January 7. This drove my enthusiasm for the film to a fever pitch. The various innovative promotional materials that Rajamouli came up with for the film further fueled my already high expectations. I went into this movie with not only gigantic expectations, but also a plan to love it at all costs because if I didn’t, it would be painful.
RRR tells the story of two fictional characters inspired and named after two legendary freedom fighters from the regions of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) is a policeman marauding with the British and devoted to the oppressive government. He is determined to do anything for a pat on the back from his masters and also an elusive promotion that has been denied him time and time again. Komaram Bheem (NTR Jr.) is the protector of a tribe known as “Gond” who reside deep inside the forests. During one of their many hunting expeditions, the British kidnap a little girl from the “Gond” community and bring her by force to Delhi. Bheem comes after the girl to Delhi to save her but for that he has to infiltrate an impregnable castle.
The Nizam of Hyderabad warns the British of Bheem’s plans to infiltrate the British castle and how it could bring mortal dangers to them. The British assign Alluri Sitarama Raju the task of identifying and capturing Bheem in return for which he is promised the position of special officer in the British police. Alluri embarks on her mission and soon comes face to face with Bheem. What happens next is what this magnum opus is.
RRR is one of the greatest spectacles of Indian cinema. The film has a budget of over 400 crore and every rupee of that amount can be seen on screen. The film starts on a devastating note with the kidnapping of the little girl forming the first scene. The eerie background score and the mannerisms of the characters in this scene are such that they send something sinister and terrible unfolding before it actually happens. This is also the scene where the main antagonist of the film, Scott (Ray Stevenson) is installed. This conveys the value he places on Indian life and is something Rajamouli uses time and time again throughout the narrative.
Then we move on to introducing Alluri Sitarama Raju in a scene that will stick with me for ages. The physique that Ram Charan brings to this scene is amazing and although it’s something that portrays him as someone with superhuman strength, the way it’s envisioned and executed, made me believe he could actually pull off what we showed him realizing and that too with a lot of style. The introduction of Komaram Bheem is no less. Again, the physicality he brought to this scene helped make every action in the scene believable and touching. This scene has a huge impact on another critical sequence in the film which is set up using this scene and which would leave most viewers elated and exasperated later in the film.
Which makes RRR so special is the mind and heart he brings with him. Everything about the movie is heartwarming and teaches some of life’s best lessons to a generation that may be, in a way, too stupid to grasp the beauty and importance of those lessons. The movie looks like a fairy tale where Alluri is an impersonation of Shri Ram and Bheem is his devoted friend, Hanuman. If you’re looking for logic and credibility in the script and the action, you’re bound to be disappointed. But then we have to wonder why we agree with everything Marvel throws at us, but question the realism and credibility of a movie like RRR. Is it because it’s homegrown or is it because we find it hard to accept that our own heroes are superhuman. While the film often misses its mark in terms of credibility, it is able to infuse so much charm, heart, high emotion and heroism into its settings that I was more than willing to go with the flow. .
A few issues proved too exaggerated to suspend my disbelief and I felt a few more rewrites would have easily fixed those issues. That said, I can’t help but ignore these questions as Rajamouli pours his heart and soul into building the world of RRR and present it in a way that is consistently engaging, comforting, and emotionally rewarding. Even a minor but important character like Ajay Devgn gets a part that almost feels like a movie within a movie. Its lead has a proper beginning, middle, and end, as one would expect in a three-act film. If only its parts were cut and released as a short film, it would be a huge hit. This part not only left a huge impact on me, but also elevated the overall narrative of the film by documenting the quantum of sacrifice one of the characters made, thus raising their stakes and explaining their conflicts in doing what they were told. showed.
90% of the film is played between Ram Charan and NTR Jr. and they do a phenomenal job with their respective characters. Ram Charan’s character has more conflict and has to switch between different shades which helps him portray a wider range of emotions and also has this wonderful element of surprise about his character which makes any character even more interesting. I’ve always enjoyed Ram Charan’s performances, but this is by far his best act, enhancing his stellar performance in Rangasthalam. I just loved how well he was able to switch between the different shades of his character. It kept the audience guessing until the very end and captivated them with the different sides of the character.
NTR Jr was immaculate like simpleton Bheem. He is able to personify the character’s simplicity and yet brutal strength and resolve with such finesse and flair that he becomes endearing and fearsome at the same time. I loved his camaraderie with Ram Charan. Clearly, the bond the two share in the real world carries over into the characters they play, making the parts documenting their friendship absolutely delightful. When the two men must finally stand up against each other, their respective turmoil and pain can be experienced firsthand, leading to simmering drama. NTR Jr’s masterful rendering of his surprise and shock at the sudden turn of events later in the film was heartbreaking. You have to experience it first hand to understand where I’m coming from. Suffice it to say, NTR Jr is as brilliant as a movie of this nature could ask for.
I loved the brief appearance of Ajay Devgn. His performance added a lot of weight to the story. I was in awe of his expression when he loses everything he holds dear and continues the task at hand teaching his son how to avoid personal tragedy and focus on what is the need of the hour and the demand for a chained nation. The rest of the cast does what they’re supposed to do. I should add that Alison Doody as Lady Scott is unintentionally funny in some scenes. Rajamouli could have cut out some of the character’s unnecessary ramblings. It would have actually made her scary and left a huge impact on the narrative.
RRR is one of the finest movies to come out of India in years. It has very good visual effects. While there are a few twisted effects that don’t work as well as the others, none of it ever gets so bad that it spoils the fun or the impact of the narrative. The visual palette has many variations as the story moves from medium to medium and time period to time period. KK Senthil Kumar’s camera captures every bit of vitality and organic chaos of British colonial India in its vitality and vigor. His exciting capture of action sequences particularly impressed me even though the editing of these sequences and the use of wireworks and slow motion could have been smoother and better.
RRR is the epitome of well-made mass entertainment. It’s everything commercial and enjoyable Indian films of the 80s and 90s were much more. I cannot stress enough the importance and the quality of the message of the film. Interestingly, it is embedded in the narrative and comes through actions, not dialogues. While the writing and realism of the film go haywire in the second half, I was still able to enjoy the film and stay invested in the story as it was sincere and captivating. It tells us something about the power of innovative execution and heart that Rajamouli brought to the film. RRR is a visual extravaganza that features stellar performances and masterful direction from Rajamouli. This is a show to be seen only in theaters. Don’t wait OTT. Go ahead and enjoy this movie on the biggest screen possible. You will not regret it.
Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 stars)
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