Film Name: RRR
Director: SS Rajamouli
After presenting such epics as Magadheera, Eega, Bahubali: The Beginning and Bahubali: The Conclusion among others, SS Rajamouli returns with another mega-budget show led by Jr. NTR and Ram Charan with Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn in pivotal roles. The film is set in the pre-independence era, where central struggles arisen by demons in the British Empire. The director takes his thread from two real-life characters, Allori Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Kumaram Bhim (Junior NTR), and weaves a fictional story around the lives of these two freedom fighters.
As promised, it presents the drama of the twentieth century period by painting the world with a new brush. He creates images that no one has ever experienced on the big screen when it comes to Indian cinema. He manages to build a drama that takes a bit of inspiration from the world of Manmohan Desai, Ramesh Sippy and Kader Khan films, and spins it with his own larger-than-life vision, giving it a distinct identity. It won't take long for Rajamouli and his writer father, KV Vijayendra Prasad, to get to the heart of the conflict, as minutes into the film you find yourself immersed in the story. The first half, despite its running time of 1 hour and 45 minutes, is moving at a brisk pace.
The film's first frame establishes the plot, followed by generous introductions from two leads: Ram Charan and Jr. NTR. Within the first 25 minutes, Rajamouli develops his plots as well as the mindset of two characters. From there, the narrative is loaded with dramatic, comedic, and action sequences, one after another packed with stunning cinematography that won't let you take your eyes off the screen for a single second. Every frame expresses grandeur, and the middle block is undoubtedly the best that can be seen on the big screen of Indian cinema.
From the design to that point, the camera works, and of course the stunning choreographed design - the tall mid-block is perfect in every way. While reference points for executed action sequences are often found in Hindi films, for RRR, every choreographed frame and stunt has no reference whatsoever, as it appears to have been conceived in Rajamouli's brain and executed by his team. The first half is the edge of the seat drama, setting the stage for the intro to explode into the post-interval sequence.
But that's when things tend to slow down a bit. While the element of big frames and unimaginable shots continues entirely, the pace slows down as the story progresses. The point here is that the RRR conflict is something that can be summed up in one line. Had it not been for Rajamouli's guidance and his father's talent for smashing dramatic heights, the RRR would have been an ordinary affair, and more than a substandard product. Relatively weak conflict begins to emerge in the second half, and even the sequences tend to recur. Since the first half relies on a lot of goosebumps animation moments, it slows down a bit in the second half. While the post-interval scene starts off on a promising note with Ajay Devgn's chapter, it dives into later episodes. But as they say, only when you begin to underestimate the master, he is there to surprise you.
Rajamouli heightens the full impact of the second half with a finish that is sure to go down in the history books as one of the most exciting action sequences in the jungle. Ram Charan and NTR's performance in the last 25 minutes is something that would be a dream for any actor. He's heroic and bigger than life as it is. It's the ending that brings the film back to the high points it consistently left us with in the first half. You are on a journey into the world of Rajamouli cinema escaping from reality, which makes the feeling of watching an Indian movie of this standard settle into the first few frames, but later in the narrative you realize the void of a powerful opponent. The second half required the struggle to be bigger with a strong villain, but surprisingly the creator who gave us Bhallaldev doesn't have a strong negative trajectory 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
Speaking of editing, the film could have been shorter by about 15 minutes, as it is based on a simplified plot without too many complications in the narrative. The motion design in the movie has a powerful story that unfolds in the background, and even as the agents fight, you're on the edge of your seat backed up by the powerful drama. The stunts are undoubtedly the best in Indian cinema, but it is the drama that increases the impact of the images on the screen, especially in the first half. The background music is, without a doubt, fantastic. The music blends well into the narration and watch out for Nacho Nacho's placement. The song has already become popular, but its images on the screen as well as on the website are simply exceptional. You might find yourself rocking your legs in the hall, and also rooting for the two leaders dancing their hearts out on screen. The Hindi dialogues are well done.
Speaking of acting, the captains, 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 little tiger, while Ram Charan carries his character with utmost grace, giving his eyes the look of calm before the storm. The two protagonists compliment each other rather than compete and gain a moment of glory in the narrative. However, it is JR. NTR, who has a slight advantage over Charan, as his character has a better scope for action. Young Tiger also gets his Indian style of T, with the right focus on the right emotional moments. Even Charan put a lot of effort into delivering it in Hindi. Ajay Devgn has such a pivotal appearance in the narrative that makes up the heart of RRR, and as soon as he walks the screen, you realize why he's the only one from Bollywood who can do the justice for the part. Alia Bhatt also features a brief appearance in the movie as Ram Charan's love interest Sita, but her talents are left unexplored here with a general character in the second half and limited screen time. The rest of the group does justice to its private parts.
All in all, RRR celebrates Indian cinema in all its glory. SS Rajamouli offers his own vision of creating a great drama on canvas with all the larger than life events around a routine story of friendship. It is his conviction and ability to think big that takes the world of RRR to the next level despite some text-level limitations regarding a simplified central conflict. However, RRR has the best action sequences that can be rendered in an Indian movie with an unimaginable time lapse and a rambunctious ending. Rest assured, despite a few missteps in the second half, you will be immersed in the wonderful world of Rajamouli in the days when India was "Sone Ki Chidiya". It is rightly called India's greatest action drama.