RRR Movie Review: SS Rajamouli Delivers Epic Mythology Action Superhero Bromance
RRR is a roaring, catchy, catchy mix of genres – epic-mythological-action-superheroes-bromance, this very SS Rajamouli concoction, which we are invited to swallow in one sip. It is also, needless to say, deafening. But given that the movie kept me stuck with it and gave me so much fun, I was happy, for once, to temporarily sacrifice my ears. The three-plus-hour film, a patriotic saga set in 1920s British India, proves several things at once. That, for Indian filmmakers and viewers, there will never be a greater and more enduring source of stories than the Ramayan and the Mahabharat. That, if you want to be really safe, you cast not just one superstar, but two of them. And that if you want big you only go to Rajamouli, the biggest superstar of them all: the loudest ‘taalis’ were reserved for his wink and miss in the end credits .
RRR also proves that if the overall iconography of its films is Hindu, just like in ‘Baahubali’, it is quite possible to use it without demonizing or altering minorities, even giving them a brief glimpse of the debates. One of his heroes is not only called Ram alias Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan), he also appears in avatar ‘dhanush-baan-teer-kamaan’, to defeat the evil invaders of our beloved land . And the love of Ram’s life is called, what else, Sita (Alia Bhatt). The other hero briefly goes by the name of Akhtar (let no one say there were no Muslims in this tale, you see) before switching to his original, Komaram Bheem (Jr NTR), a Gond tribal who turns into a revolutionary.
Apparently these two gentlemen were real people, but Rajamouli’s plot isn’t just fictional, it’s fantastical, full of wild beasts bursting out of cages to sack a party the ‘goras’ have thrown, mortals who are mercilessly whipped and beaten, bitten by poisonous snakes, pierced near the heart by bullets, but stagger on their feet, living to see another day. The secret to making us believe is the filmmaker’s total conviction, and Rajamouli has a lot to do with it: at a moment of delirium, Ram and Akhtar hold hands on a burning bridge, a banner running across the screen: India, 1920. Bhai, bai, see?
But those are just plot points. The real deal is the fetish physical combat of the two heroes, in a series of settings that give them a chance to dance (‘Naatu Naatu’ is one of the most exhilarating song and dance sequences I’ve seen in a some time), romance, try their luck and unite to pursue their common enemy.
The array of red-faced Brits looks like a flashback to ‘Lagaan’, especially the presence of a pretty girl (Olivia Morris) who has a thing for the rude tribal, reminding us of the damsel who loved the Bhuvan of ‘Aamir Khan. . But the rest of them are real freaks, especially Lord and Lady Scott (Ray Stevenson and Alison Doody), who are forced to say lines like “those brown buggers; will roast the pigs on a bed of embers”, and “I want to see blood, more blood”, while distributing whips with nails and smacking their lips in an orgy of ecstasy.
Ajay Devgn comes across as a brave rebel who teaches young Ram to aim straight and true, Shriya Saran his equally brave wife and Makrand Deshpande in a walk-on with little to do. Alia Bhatt has just a little more screen real estate, but manages to look like her. Those occasional darts aside, the movie keeps going back to its two R’s, lovingly stalking their wavy bodies by performing eternal deeds of valor. R and R shoot and scoot, and end with a Triumphant Pan-Indian Mera Bharat Mahaan Anthem, with this preview of the third R.
Cast of the film RRR: Jr NTR, Ram Charan, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Olivia Morris, Ray Stevenson, Alison Doody, Shriya Saran
Director of the film RRR: SS Rajamouli
RRR movie rating: 3.5 stars