Ram Charan and Jr NTR’s offscreen friendship and camaraderie seep into their onscreen performances, and the organic transformation from strangers to brothers-in-arms has been captured beautifully.
RRR is director SS Rajamouli’s much-hyped film which took him five years to conceptualise, write, and direct. Set in the Delhi of 1920s British Raj, the film revolves around two revolutionaries — Rama Raju (Ram Charan), a police officer, and Bheem (Jr NTR), a Gond tribal. How a friendship develops between these two angry young men and the rebellious journey they set on together is what the director brings to life in this larger-than-life magnum opus.
Rajamouli intertwines two elements of matter — fire and water — in the form of Rama and Bheem in this action-packed drama. The storyline is not new to Indian cinema but the director’s grandiose treatment of the incidents — big and small — show us how the ordinary can be transformed into the extraordinary. Rama and Bheem are on two different sides of the British Raj but their stories are also similar in some ways — there is a need to protect their own from the forces that are out to destroy them.
Malli, a young Gond tribal girl, is taken away from her village when Governor Scott Buxton’s wife takes a fancy to Malli’s beautiful henna tattoos. Bheem sets out to save Malli promising his village that he would return only with her. Meanwhile, Rama Raju’s father, Venkatram Raju (Ajay Devgn), died fighting the British Raj, and Rama leaves his village promising to come back with weapons that will help them fight their cause.
RRR is a highly audacious film to say the least. It is also perhaps Rajamouli’s most audacious one till date. While Baahubali was also a period film, he created a universe there using mythology as a foundation. RRR is a far more simple proposition and highly relatable as well as it is set in the period when India’s freedom struggle had just started. But here again, the story is fictional, and the world Rajamouli creates is one about relationships, family, love, loss, sorrow, and happiness. Like most Indian movies, revenge is the central theme in this flick too but this is where the similarity ends. KK Senthil Kumar’s excellent cinematography, coupled with the grandiose sets and Hollywood stunt director Nick Powell’s action sequences, are a stunning watch on the silver screen.
Over the years, there have been other films in South India that came out with a similar theme, like Rajanna, a movie written and directed K V Vijayendra Prasad. In fact, Vijayaendra Prasad is the co-writer of RRR, and one wonders whether the inspiration for RRR came from this 2011 film starring Nagarjuna. The writing by Rajamouli-Prasad is quite effortless, and logic at times does take a backseat. Sample this — an impossible feat of two men hanging from a railway track and swinging on ropes to save a young boy from the river.
However, this can easily be forgiven given the nature and magnitude of the film. There are certain scenes that lag in execution; VFX is some scenes is below average, and with a runtime of 307 minutes, RRR does not keep one hooked every single minute, unlike Baahubali. But it makes up for these minor flaws in the fantastic performances of Ram Charan and Jr NTR whose strong shoulders this film firmly rests on.
Ram Charan and Jr NTR have lived the roles of Rama Raju and Bheem.
Their offscreen friendship and camaraderie seeps into their onscreen performances, and the organic transformation from strangers to brothers-in-arms has been captured beautifully.
Alia Bhatt as Seetha has a small role to play, and she essays it well as do Samuthirakani, Shriya Saran, and Ajay Devgn.
What you need to remember when you start to watch this film is not to compare it to Baahubali. RRR is a definitely an opulent film that must be watched on the big screen. Some may say it is not Rajamouli’s best work but what RRR shows is that he is possibly India’s only director who can make a lavish, large-scale commercial film with the simplest of storylines and the best of stars.
RRR is playing in cinemas.
Latha Srinivasan is a senior journalist based in Chennai. Her passion is entertainment, travel, and dogs.