‘RRR’ Review: S.S. Rajamouli’s Glorious Indian Action Spectacle

‘RRR’ Review: S.S. Rajamouli’s Glorious Indian Action Spectacle

“Delirious,” is the name that describes S.S. Rajamouli’s Indian action-adventure movie. It has been a worldwide success since its summer release.

Tollywood stars N.T. star in this big-budget Telugu-language spectacle. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan as revolutionaries fighting against the British Raj in 1920 features the sort of dizzyingly over-the-top action sequences and exuberant musical numbers that send audiences into a frenzy. RRR is a film that is entertaining and enthralling for its three-hour-plus running time. It has been one of India’s most successful films and is currently generating Oscar buzz.

RRR

The Bottom Line

You won’t be bored even for a second.

Cast: N.T. Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Shriya Saran, Samuthirakani, Ray Stevenson, Alison Doody, Olivia Morris
Director-screenwriter: S.S. Rajamouli

3 hours 7 min

While the central characters are based upon real-life historical figures, RRR (“Rise, Roar, Revolt”), is strictly fictional. This is evident in one of the longest opening disclaimers ever shown onscreen. We are also assured that all the animals in the film (and there are many) are CGI. This is a great thing for them.

We’re introduced to the lead characters in two bravura action sequences before the opening credits, which don’t appear until some 40 minutes into the film. Ramo Rao Jr. plays Bheem. He is a burly member from the Gond tribe and tries to trap a Wolf only to get into hand-topaw combat with a rampaging Tiger. He manages to subdue the Tiger using a combination cunning and superhuman strength. Charan portrays Raju, an Indian police officer who is a superhuman Indian. He dives into a mob of Indians rioting to subdue a criminal, and somehow manages defeat them all.

Ray Stevenson, a British governor who views Indians as “brown garbage,” abducts a little girl from his tribe. He and his equally wicked wife (Alison Doody Indiana Jones, ), Bheem) set off for Delhi to rescue the girl. He meets Raju in an action-movie “meet cute” and the pair make their acquaintance through a daring rescue of a boy from a river. It is a sequence that rivals anything Steven Spielberg or James Cameron has ever created.

Together, they plot to advance their revolutionary cause. Bheem is unaware that Raju is working undercover for Britain’s empire. There are many plot twists and turns that ensue, but they move so fast and furious that it’s not hard to keep up. A subplot involves Bheem’s courtship with the governor’s unprejudiced niece (a charming Oliva Mors), which provides some humor, but not that anything in this film is meant to be taken seriously.

There are also musical numbers, such as the instant classic “Naatu Naatu,” where Raju and Bheem engages in a frenetically energetic dance-off with rhythm-challenged Brits. This would have made Arthur Freed proud. (I watched the film on Netflix and can only imagine how much excitement it must have caused in theaters.

Rajamouli, who has been responsible for three of India’s top-grossing films in seven years, shows his love for popular cinema in every colorful, overstuffed frame. Despite the fact that CGI and aerial wire work are sometimes too obvious, or the frequent use slow-motion borders for parody, it is still a great film. It’s all presented in such a visually stunning fashion that your eyes will be completely satisfied before your brain can raise any objections.

The two charismatic lead actors are so dynamic in their hyper-muscular performances that it makes them seem like they are bursting onto the screen. Their characters are the most compelling screen bromance since Sundance and Butch.

Full credits

Production company: DVV Entertainment
Distributor: Rafter Creations, Sarigama Cinemas, Variance Films
Cast: N.T. Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Shriya Saran, Samuthirakani, Ray Stevenson, Alison Doody, Olivia Morris
Director-screenwriter: S.S. Rajamouli
Producer: D.V.V. Danayya
Director of photography: K.K. Senthil Kumar
Production designer: Sabu Cyril
Editor: A. Sreekar Prasad
Composer: M. M. Keeravani
Costume designer: Rama Rajamouli

3 hours 7 min

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