RRR: Rajamouli’s remarkable effort yet again breaks the barriers.
After multiple postponements owing to the Covid, our much-awaited RRR released last month, on 25th March 2022, took the screens by storm. The audience coming outside the cinema halls can be seen cheering for the movie with a high adrenaline rush, praising Rajamouli and the two lead actors and friends, Ram Charan and NT Rama Rao Jr.
After two weeks of its release, I watched it on the big screen, Prasads Imax, last Saturday, 9th April. My father accompanied me to the film, and we both enjoyed the movie and had a discussion on the movie while we walked towards the Khairtabad Metro station.
Disclaimer: If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t proceed further. Enjoy the movie first, and then give it a read.
The movie, unlike many movies, is marketed by the director’s name, followed by the lead actor’s name (so is this blog). Rajamouli made only four movies in the last decade, and all were blockbusters. He’s going bigger in terms of budget and scale with every movie, and this one drew attention due to the combination of two young stars and the plot -
A fictional tale of the lives of two freedom fighters from two Telugu states (at that time only one): Alluri Sita Ramaraju and Komaram Bheem.
Okay, enough context, let’s jump into the movie now. Similar to how the movie begins, I’ll discuss it in three parts.
Set in the 1920s, the plot is established at the beginning, much before we are introduced to the lead actors — The Britishers forcefully take away a tribal girl, Malli, with them for her singing and artistic skills. As the Britishers are notorious for their ability to take advantage of us, they throw two coins and take the tribal girl away.
This is a direct way of writing about how the British ruled us by taking away our self-respect and freedom and how they enslaved us. Though the Britishers were brutal in many aspects during their rule, this movie didn’t go there since this plot was sufficient enough to bring the audience aboard and see how the girl is rescued from the British.
Though it is not-so-novel, Rajamouli is known for his way of dealing with emotions and bringing that adrenaline rush. He also reveals the plot to the public while the movie is undershooting (he has been doing this from Eega). And this plot is revealed in the trailer too.
While the story is set, we await the introduction of the two leads — Ram Charan as Alluri Sita Rama Raju and NT Rama Rao Jr as Komaram Bheem (hey, I’m mentioning this in the order of their introduction in the movie, no fan wars please!)
Enter Rama Raju, working as an Inspector in the British government. Rama Raju’s theme is fire, and from the elaborate introduction fight sequence of Rama Raju, it is evident — that he doesn’t yield, is furious as fire, and is aggressive. He desperately needs a promotion to be in charge of the ammunition section through which he can give the weapons to his fellow Indians to fight back the British rule.
Though not comparing the lead roles, Rama Raju is indeed a well-written character — he has a backstory, has a burning desire from his childhood, and is relentless throughout to revolt against the British.
He has a character arc — until the Komaram Bheemudo song, he feels only the weapons and violence can help fight the Britishers, and he doesn’t think much about arresting Komaram Bheem until the emotional Komaram Bheemudo song. Rama Raju’s baggage of thoughts is hit by witnessing the people getting motivated by the words of Bheem.
Rama Raju’s character has parallels with Lord Rama from Ramayana. He’s a skilled and thoughtful fighter, a leader who guides and takes the lead from the first time Rama Raju and Bheem meet to save the kid from the emblazing fire engulfing the kid to the end of the movie they both destroy the Britishers.
Enter Bheem, who belongs to the Gond tribal community in the northern region of Telangana. Bheem’s theme is water, and from the introduction fight sequence with the tiger, it is evident — that he is empathetic, emotional, and strong. He is on the mission of rescuing Malli, and it is quite challenging for him to accomplish the job because he’s in an alien land surrounded by unknown people. His objective is to bring back Malli no matter what happens to him.
Bheem’s character is interesting because of its parallels with mythologies and brilliant acting from NTR Jr. It has comedy scenes emerging from his innocence, intense fight sequences, and an emotional Komaram Bheemudo song, in which his range of emotions is more than what many actors’ did throughout their career.
From the interval fight, Bheem feels betrayed by Ram and is furious with him until Bheem meets Sita, who reveals the mission on which Ram is on. Bheem resents his actions on Ram and promises Sita that he will bring Ram to her.
Bheem’s character parallels Bheema from Mahabharata and Hanuman from Ramayana. He is innocent, strong and impulsive, loves food, immovable and uncontrollably violent when the limit is breached. His strength is shown from the time of his introduction, fight with the tiger, and empathy after attacking the animal.
Fire and Water:
While this is shown religiously throughout the film, the first scene and the pre-climax stood out — The first time they both meet to save the kid from the emblazing fire engulfing the kid at the banks of Yamuna river, to until the end of the movie when they both destroy the Britishers in the forest when Ram fires the arrows and Bheem emerges from the water, gave me goosebumps.
From the time Bheem rescues Ram from the jail, I promise you, I was engrossed in the movie like anything, and the experience until the end of the movie is satisfying and a long wait for something that big, that emotional and that high!
It is made clear from the scene where they save the kid in the beginning that Ram takes the lead, uses his skill to guide, and Bheem helps with his muscle power, which is depicted brilliantly towards the end of the movie. In the end, Bheem asks Ram to educate him (I recalled reading about Ram embracing Hanuman in Ramayana).
Also, you can see without the other’s help. One can’t accomplish their mission. Bheem tries to rescue Malli but is fought by Ram. With Bheem’s help, Ram can fight back against the British. Together they’re invincible.
Apart from the parallels mentioned above, one scene stood out for me: Bheem takes the locket as an identifier from Sita and hands it to Rama, revealing their meeting. I love the direct way of translating the mythological scene into an action drama movie. One more parallel? Malli, a tribal girl, rooted in Mother Earth, is held captive by the people of a foreign land, and a member of their community rescues her.
While there’s a lot to discuss and praise for the movie, I strongly feel this isn’t the best work yet of Rajamouli. Remember, he’s already made an engaging and superior movie with a fly in the lead role with a revenge story. I’m not belittling the movie, but I felt at times that he took cinematic liberty and focused too much on these two lead characters, and other characters like Samuthirakani aren’t required at all. There are loose ends in the movie as well.
In Baahubali, if you remember, there is depth to many characters, and we connected to them, which is lacking here. The cinematography also felt not that great compared to Senthil’s work in the Eega and Baahubali series. Appreciate their work in this film, but they could’ve done more, in my opinion. Visual effects by Srinivas Mohan take this film to a whole next level. He did it with Robo, with Baahubali, and yet again, proved why he’s required for such a movie.
Music by MM Keeravani is fantastic. It is not that loud, doesn’t over dominate, and plays according to the scenes. I love how the music complements the visuals and vice versa. Honestly, I don’t listen to Keeravan’s songs, but visually the songs are beautiful. I love how these two brothers work to take us through their vision.
We want good stories to be told better, not eye-sparkling visuals or stylish action sequences if the content is flat. While many Indian filmmakers want to give us the Hollywood experience, only a handful of them succeeded in translating it on screen.
The first and most consistent is Rajamouli. He’s doing it time and again, even with higher expectations every time. Half of the names on the poster of RRR are from the same family. Humbly applauding for their trust and belief in the master’s vision and making the audience awe with their team effort.
Make us proud again, Rajamouli. We are always waiting to celebrate your movies :)
By the way, I waited to watch this movie for two weeks because of the non-availability of tickets at Prasads Imax and relatively higher ticket prices. It was difficult while browsing social media as most of them had spoilers, but I survived without getting to know any spoilers.
Also, this happens to be the first-time experience watching a movie on IMAX (large screen) for both my father and me. He’s an avid movie buff, but he didn’t get an opportunity to watch a movie there. He once spent all day watching movies at four different cinema halls (4 shows of the day).
Glad it was me who took him to Prasads Imax!