The influence of Amar Chitra Katha stories has always been apparent in Rajamouli’s films. In the two Bahubali films the director had combined Amar Chitra Katha elements with an engaging story. There were several aspects that the audiences connected with in spite of a stale storyline. With RRR the director once again takes a larger-than-life canvas but misses the Connect.
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With RRR the director tries to make an epic mythological film with superhero bromance. But here the ingredients feel undercooked. The focus is more on its lead actors and the visuals than a solid storyline. As a result RRR lost the magic that Bahubali had. It is not unwatchable but at the same time it doesn’t have the repeat value.
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RRR is set in British India of 1920’s. The film begins off with a tribal girl being taken away by a British officer’s wife. Bheem (Junior NTR) belongs to the same tribe and takes the responsibility of bringing the girl back. Standing in his path is Ramaraju (Ram Charan). Ramaraju is part of the British set up but he has his own goal to achieve against the Britishers. The rest of the story is about Ram’s personal goal, will Bheem and Ram patch up for a common cause etc.
Actors like Ajay Devgan, Alia Bhatt, Rahul Ramakrishna and Shriya Saran appear in bits and pieces.
From the beginning it is clear that Rajamouli has heavily relied on Junior NTR and Ramcharan to make things work. A lot has been said about their off-screen camaraderie, which is very apparent on screen. Their bromance and the different stages of their relationship have come across well.
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The scenes where Ramcharan’s character tries to help Bheem in his courtship with Jenny (Olivia Morris) are quite cute.
The interval bang where the two heroes go at each other is emotionally moving. The scene is too prolonged but it still works. The grey shades of Ramcharan’s character and how it is connected to his past is smartly integrated by the director.
Performances wise it is out and out a Ramcharan and Junior NTR show. Both the actors embrace their parts wholeheartedly. The other actors do what is required but none of them stands out. This is sad because you have the likes of Ajay Devgan and Alia Bhatt. Alia as Sita gets only one solid scene which of course she does her best.
The romantic angle between Ramcharan and Alia is pretty much non-existent. Infact, Alia’s soloscene with Junior NTR has far bigger impact.
Visually RRR is stunning just like the Bahubali films. Cinematography by Senthil Kumar is appropriate to the atmospherics of the film. The production design by Sabu Cyril also makes the film a visual treat.
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The biggest issue with RRR is the lack of focus on building an engaging storyline. Suspension of disbelief is fine but even that requires a certain finesse.
You know that both the heroes will emerge victorious in the end irrespective of what weapons the Britishers use. As a result you don’t feel the high which you ideally should.
The British characters are not just evil but they are also annoyingly foolish. You don’t at all understand why a British woman would kidnap a small tribal girl. The most annoying British character is of the General’s wife.
There is also too much violence and bloodshed happening in every second reel. The action scenes are way too long, and on top of it the BGM is deafeningly loud.
In a nutshell RRR may make money but it is high time the director reflects on the stories that he is directing.