RRR Movie Review: SS Rajamouli creates a Revolution with Roaring Action & Riveting Drama
Helmed by SS Rajamouli, RRR features Jr NTR and Ram Charan in the lead and has been one of the most anticipated releases of the year.
Film Name: RRR
Director: SS Rajamouli
Cast: Jr. NTR, Ram Charan, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt
After delivering epics like Magadheera, Eega, Bahubali: The Beginning, Bahubali: The Conclusion among others, SS Rajamouli returns with another mega budget spectacle, RRR fronted by Jr. NTR and Ram Charan with Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn in pivotal roles. The film is set in the pre-Independence era, with core conflicts created by the demons in the British Empire. The filmmaker takes his thread from two real life characters, Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (Jr. NTR) and weaves a fiction tale around the lives of these two freedom fighters.
As promised, he presents the period drama from the 1900s by painting the world with a fresh brush. He creates visuals that one has never experienced on the big screen as far as Indian cinema is concerned. He manages to build drama that draws a little inspiration from Manmohan Desai, Ramesh Sippy, and Kader Khan world of cinema, and spins it around with his own larger than life vision, giving it a distinct identity. Rajamouli and his writer father, KV Vijayendra Prasad don’t take long to get to the core conflict, as minutes into the film, you find yourself invested in the story. The first half, despite a run time of 1 hour 45 minutes, moves at a quick pace.
The first frame of the film establishes the plot, which is followed by lavish introductions of the two protagonists – Ram Charan and Jr. NTR. Within the first 25 minutes, Rajamouli builds up his plot as also the mind set of two characters. From thereon, the narrative is loaded with dramatic, comic and action sequences, one after the other padded with some breath-taking cinematography that doesn’t even let you take your eyes off the screen for a single second. Every frame spells grandeur, and the intermission block is certainly the best that one would witness on the big screen in Indian cinema.
From the build up to that point, to the camera work and of course, the spectacularly choreographed stunt design – the prolonged intermission block is just perfect in all aspects. While one often finds reference points to the action sequences executed in Indian films, for RRR, every frame and every stunt choreographed has zero reference as it seems to have been conceptualized in Rajamouli’s brain and executed by his action crew. The first half is an edge of the seat drama, setting up for the base for the premise to explode in the post interval sequences.
But that’s when things tend to slow down a little. While the entire element of grand frames and unimaginable shot taking continues, the pace does dip as the story progresses. The issue here lies in the fact that the conflict of RRR is something that can be summed up in a single line. And if not for the direction of Rajamouli and the ability of his father to crack the dramatic highs, RRR would have been an ordinary affair, rather a below par product. The relatively weak conflict starts to reflect in the second half, and even the sequences tend to get repetitive. As the first half rests on plenty of moments to cheer that even evoke goosebumps, they slow down a little in the second half. While the post interval scene starts on a promising note with Ajay Devgn’s chapter, it dips in the episodes post that. But as they say, just when you start underestimating the master, he is there to surprise you.
Rajamouli elevates the entire impact of the second half with a finale that’s bound to go down in the history books as one of the most thrilling action sequences in a jungle. The presentation of Charan and NTR in the final 25 minute is something that would be a dream for any actor. It is as heroic and as larger than life as it gets. It’s the finale that gets the film back to the high points that it left us with consistently in the first half. You are on a trip to Rajamouli’s world of escapist cinema, letting the feeling of watching an Indian film of this standard sink in in the initial few frames, but it’s later in the narrative that you realise the void of a strong antagonist. The second half called for a conflict to go even larger with a strong villain, but surprisingly, the maker who gave us Bhallaldev, doesn’t have a strong negative track in RRR.
High Points of RRR
Ram Charan’s introduction
Jr. NTR’s introduction
The first action episode of Jr. NTR & Ram Charan together
Nacho Nacho Sequence
The Intermission Block
Ajay Devgn’s backstory
The extended climax
Talking of editing, the film could have been shorter by around 15 minutes, as it rests on a simplistic plot without many complications in the narrative. The action design in the film has a strong story running in the backdrop, and even when the protagonists are fighting, you are on the edge of your seat as that’s supported by a strong drama. The stunts are, no doubts, the best ever for Indian cinema, but it’s the drama that elevates the sheer impact of the visuals on screen, especially in the first half. The background score, without any doubt, is terrific. The music blends well in the narrative and watch out for the placement of Nacho Nacho. The song has already become a rage, but the visuals of the same on screen alongside placement is simply phenomenal. You might just find yourself shaking your legs in the auditorium, as also rooting for the two protagonists dancing their heart out on screen. The Hindi dialogues are done well.
Talking of performance, the two leads – Jr. NTR and Ram Charan – carry the film on their shoulders and justify Rajamouli’s vision of presenting them as Water and Fire. Jr NTR roars like a young tiger, whereas Ram Charan carries his character with utmost grace, bringing in the aspect of the calm before the storm in his eyes. The two heroes compliment each other rather than competing and get their moment of glory in the narrative. However, it’s JR. NTR who has a slight edge over Charan as his character has better scope to perform. The young Tiger also gets his Hindi diction to the T, with right emphasis at the right emotional moments. Even Charan has put in good efforts for his Hindi diction. Ajay Devgn has a pivotal appearance in the narrative forming the heart of RRR, and as soon as he enters the screen, you realise why only him from Bollywood could have done justice to the part. Alia Bhatt too has a short appearance in the film as Ram Charan’s love interest, Sita, however, her talent is left unexplored here with generic character in the second half, and a limited screen time. The rest of the ensemble do justice to their respective parts.
All in all, RRR celebrates Indian cinema in all its glory. SS Rajamouli brings in his own vision of creating big canvas drama with all the larger-than-life action around a routine tale of friendship. And it’s his conviction and ability to think big that takes the world of RRR to the next level despite some limitations at the script level in terms of a simplistic core conflict. Nonetheless, RRR has the best action sequences to offer in an Indian film with an unimaginable interval block and a roaring finale. Be assured, despite some flaws in the second half, you will be invested in this big canvas world of Rajamouli in the times when India was a “Sone Ki Chidiya”. It’s rightfully termed India’s biggest action drama.