Starring N. T. Rama Rao Jr. , Ram Charan
Written & Directed by S S Rajamouli
There is nothing in RRR that is not massively massy. Rajamouli’s eye for spectacle is as unerring as the arrows that Ram Charan playing a character called , you guessed it, Ram shoots dressed up as, yes that’s right, Lord Rama.
But that’s a good 2 hours and 45 minutes after the film’s wondrous whirligig has started.
RRR is three hours of non-stop hecticity. Rajamouli wants every frame to exhale a breath of flushed air. It’s all about size. And those who think otherwise are not familiar with the Rajamouli school of thought. His cinematic vision is many sizes larger than what an average blockbuster builder of Bollywood imagines to be epic in scope.
There are many extraordinary action sequences in RRR. Come to think of it , RRR is short of drama and emotions. Except for a potentially heartrending sequence at the preamble when a little tribal girl is snatched away by a villainous British couple who, according to the sporadic voiceover which comes and goes lazily, think they can take whatever catches their fancy.
Barring a pretty lass named Jenny(Olivia Morris) who takes a fancy to one of the heroes, all the Britishers are potential hellraisers and fiends with one of them barking about the “Brown rubbish”.
Well, it takes white trash to recognize rubbish.
Miraculously the girl Malli survives all the brutal hijinks and the torrent of high drama. .Rajamouli unleashes a brutal sensory assault.Hundreds of junior artistes(goodlooking ones, let me hasten to add) participate in the pitched battles where the Gora Log behave as though they have just seen the unedited version of The Kashmir Files and have taken tips on racial brutality.
The Governor’s wife (played by someone named Alison Doody) is specially vile . “Where is the blood? I want more blood,” she bellows when Bheema(NTR Jr) is tied and whipped by Ram(Rama Charan). How and why things have come to such a sorry pass, I will not reveal. Partly because my mind was numbed by the onslaught of opulent truculence.
Bullets and arrows fly from all directions while our two heroes do a Jai and Veeru from Sholay including of course a dosti song. Ram Charan has the more curvaceous character to play while NTR is the innocent wide eyed one.Their bonding makes for a perfect love story. What was the need to bring in a female love interest for both of them when the heroes love each other to death?
When they fight another they are super-driven. When they join forces to fight the common enemy they are deliriously impassioned. But when they dance together, they are something else.
Oh, there is a third hero. No, not Ajay Devgan. But Cinematographer K K Senthil Kumar who has the knack to make every frame look like pop poetry.
RRR is loads of fun to watch. But it is bereft of an emotional bedrock. In this conspicuous absence, the narrative chooses the path of choreographed action as the only panacea to kill the looming sense of lopsidedness in the plot. The women including Alia Bhatt are just faint sketches while the even the minor male characters(like Bheem’s comrade in arms) are given a prominent place in the plot.
The action sequences are to die for. Comparable with their counterparts from any part of the world. When it comes to filming crowds and spectacles S S Rajamouli is next to only Sanjay Bhansali. What is missing is character-driven drama and a more controlled narrative pitch. These absences do not dampen the spirit of the endeavour. RRR knocks the socks off all probing and evaluation. It is what it is. A big epic fantasy with heroes so valorous they make you gasp even as you suppress a giggle