RRR Rises and Roars as A "Must Watch" of 2022
Directed by S.S. Rajamouli, RRR is an exhilarating, action-packed Telugu spectacular mythologizing two real-life freedom fighters who helped lead India’s fight for independence from the British Raj, Komaram Bheem (N. T. Rama Rao Jr.) and Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan). In real life, Bheem was a leader of the Gondi people who collaborated with other resistance groups to fight against landlords and mining companies that were usurping tribal lands. Raju led armed guerrilla attacks on imperial police stations, seizing British guns and ammunition to use in his campaign against British colonial rule.
Set in and around Delhi in the 1920s before their fight for India’s independence began, RRR depicts fictional encounters between the two heroes in this visually stunning epic tale.
Their fates cross after a young Gond girl Malli (Twinkle Sharma), a young Gond girl, is taken from her village by British soldiers to amuse the British Governor’s cruel and sadistic wife. As the avenging “shepherd” of the Adivasian Gond tribe, Bheem leads a small group to track down and rescue Malli in Delhi.
It’s there that Raju, an inimitable and ambitious Colonial police officer, encounters and befriends Bheem. Raju and Bheem bond after saving a random child from being crushed by a fiery runaway train in one of the many over-the-top sequences of RRR.
Neither man realizes that their missions are at odds, unaware of one another’s true identities. Bheem formulates a plan to break into Governor Scott’s fortress-like quarters to rescue Maali. Meanwhile, Raju has been assigned to hunt down the unknown “tribal” and his companions.
The first half of RRR sets up Raju to be the film's main antagonist. However, flashback sequences reveal Raju’s tragic childhood, and his true motivation to be a trusted Colonial police officer.
This sets the stage for a pivotal evocative scene in RRR, when Raju is ordered to punish Bheem upon his capture. Raju’s agony over the pain his friend endures at his hands is evident, as Bheem sings without kneeling in resistance against the British soldiers and Governor.
Ray Stevenson as Governor Scott Buxton and Alison Doody as Catherine Buxton are the epitome of dastardly villains, as is Edward Sonnenblick’s performance as Edward, an attache to Governor Buxton. Olivia Morris as Bheem’s love interest Jennifer and Alia Bhatt as Raju’s beloved Sita deliver charming performances. However, the real chemistry is between leads NTR and Charan, displaying their bromance throughout the course of the film, including during a memorable piggyback ride.
With numerous action and dance scenes in RRR, by far my personal favorite is the epic dance battle between Bheem and Raju against Jake. “Naatu Naatu” which translates into “Dance Dance” in English, is an infectious frenzied tune that effectively supports what is quite likely the most energetic dance performance in international film history.
Speaking of, RRR became the number three film of all time in India in just 40 days of its initial release, and has experienced massive international acclaim. The success of RRR can be attributed to many factors, including its fantastical storytelling with larger-than-life heroes, brilliantly choreographed action and dance sequences, and stunning cinematography by Senthil Kumar. The score composed by M.M. Keeravani perfectly complements the pace and visual elements throughout.
While some viewers may be intimidated by a runtime of over 3 hours, the action and pacing of RRR makes the time fly. Special screenings may still be available at theaters, and are not to be missed. Otherwise, be sure to watch RRR on the best quality audio and video for an optimal and immersive movie-watching experience.