Until watching this film, I was completely unfamiliar with the work of Indian filmmaker, S.S. Rajamouli. I’m glad to say that’s no longer the case, and don’t think I could have asked for a better introduction to his oeuvre than the film I’m recommending this week. Epic in every sense of the word, this movie is a fantastic blend of genres ranging from drama to action and romance, exploring wide-ranging themes like friendship, politics and history. It’s easily one of my favorite movies released so far this year. For this Stream of the Week, I’m talking about the enormous cinematic achievement that is RRR.
Set during the British occupation of India, this film follows Komaram Bheem as he tries to rescue a young girl who was kidnapped by English royalty. Along the way, he meets A. Rama Raju, a steely police officer who works for the same people Bheem’s fighting against. Raju’s been told that if he catches Bheem he’ll be promoted to Special Officer. Things are massively complicated when the two characters form a close friendship, neither recognizing who the other truly is, setting the stage for a clash of forces the likes of which we’ve perhaps never seen captured on film.
The first word that comes to mind when I think of this movie is ‘huge.’ It’s a maximalist masterpiece with so much going for it I don’t know where to start. In terms of the cinematography, it’s stupendous. The lighting is amazing, helping set the tone and keeping all the mind-boggling visuals perfectly visible. It can’t have been easy to film any of this, and yet the enormous battle sequences, along with the huge Bollywood-influenced dance scenes, are very smooth; nothing seems jerky or awkward. There are also a few zoom-out shots that show the amazingly expansive scope of the film. All of this accentuates the intimate and personal relationships which keep all of RRR’s magnificence centered around a deeply emotional core.
Without this layer of human drama present throughout the movie’s entire runtime, it’d be easy for the plot to devolve into a Marvel-esque barrage of special effects; but thanks to the well-written script brought to life by the actors’ wonderful performances, this was far from the case. N.T. Rama Rao Jr.’s portrayal of Komaram Bheem is guaranteed to pull at the heart strings, as is Ram Charan’s role as Alluri Sitarama Raju. While these character names are the real names of actual Indian revolutionaries, a note of text at the film’s start lets viewers know the movie is not meant to be a biography of either freedom fighter by any means. That being said, their revolutionary spirits are certainly present from beginning to end as this movie takes a look at the fight against British colonialism.
I’d be remiss to end this Stream of the Week without talking about the music. It’s catchy, relevant to the plot and never interrupts the pacing in a distracting way. This movie has everything you could want in a film. I understand that Netflix has provided RRR with a few theatrical showings, and couldn’t recommend that enough; a movie this grand deserves to be seen on as big a screen as possible. For those who aren’t able to make it to their local theater, the Hindi version is now streaming on Netflix. Be it in theaters or at home, watch this movie as soon as you can! You won’t regret it.