In the famous “No Man’s Land” series from 2017 Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot strides across a barren battlefield in slow motion, deflecting German bullets with wristcuffs and a magical shield. The wind blew through her hair as she leaped across the muddy fields with godlike agility, the highlight behind her being patriotic pride. There is a similar moment in RRR (“Rise Roar Revolt”), SS Rajamouli’s action fusion film follows the adventures of two Indian revolutionaries who take different approaches to resisting British occupation in the 1920s. in Delhi. The difference is, in RRRit’s just one of half a dozen scenes of its kind.
The latest oversized action scene from Rajamouli – the director of much loved person Baahubali movie, available on Netflix – mythologize two historical figures, Komaram Bheem (NT Rama Rao Jr.) and Alluri Sitarama Raju (Konidela Ram Charan). In real life, Bheem was a leader of the Gondi clan who teamed up with other groups to fight off landlords and mining companies encroaching on the tribe’s lands. Meanwhile, Raju led guerrilla raids on imperial police stations, seizing British guns and ammunition to level the playing field between colonists and colonists.
This last point goes in RRR, is part of a storyline that features Raju as a super-bishop with a mission to defeat the British power structure from within. However, that is a small freedom compared to the reality in the movie, both Raju and Bheem have the agility, strength and fighting ability of a superhero. Both can scale buildings like Spider-Man, dodge bullets like Wonder Woman, and topple their opponents like pro wrestlers. Bheem, representing the element of water, counted the animals of the forest among his allies, and charged into battle with tigers and wolves at his side. And Raju, representing fire, drives a burning chariot and shoots flaming arrows. Image of Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere joining the MCU, with Franklin harnessing the power of electricity and Revere on the swiftness of the wind.
The superpowers are not the only ones freed with their stories. RRR explains the gaps in the two’s history by suggesting that they became friends after they both arrived in Delhi in the early 1920s – Raju as an imperial undercover cop, Bheem on a mission rescue mission to save a village girl kidnapped by the colonial governor. (They have never met in real life.) In the movie, the pair bond over their duel. They are two strangers who agree by nod to join a dangerous impromptu rescue mission to save a boy trapped in a train crash on the Delhi River.
Subtle, to put it mildly, is not Rajamouli’s thing. And so the director not only took every opportunity he got to bring the “fire and water” theme home, but also performed impressive slow-motion shots wherever he could. Bheem out and knocks a silver tray from the waiter at a garden party? The tray drops in slow motion and stops as guests stare with wide eyes and gaping mouths in astonishment. Raju frustrated punching bag after being passed to get promotion? You’d bet those sweats were beading on his shiny, muscular shoulders and beaming mustache at a rate and a half.
RRR also mentions big emotions to match its super dramatic shooting style. Betrayal, loyalty, and legacy are all major themes and the film’s alternate title could be SSS – “Secret. Subterfuge. Sacrifice.” Compared to a stereotypical Bollywood movie (which RRR no – it’s Telugu production), RRR relatively light on music and romance, spending most of the screen time on visual spectacle, gonzo action, and patriotic fervor. The dynamism between Bheem and Raju takes on the nuances of the macho mettle of the 1980s John Woo movies, until it turns into a superhero team. And Rajamouli’s camera is undeterred by the adoration of these men, presenting them with lengthy shots designed to build expectations for the viewer’s first glimpse of the characters. .
But RRR spend some time in comedy and music amid the stylized feats of mythical bravery. Between the title tag – which pops up for about 45 minutes – and the two hour pause (sorry, “InteRRRmission”), RRR pauses for a light-hearted prelude that invites viewers to hang out with provincial Bheem and Raju gets angrier as they get naughty and chase girls. Raju has a lover in his hometown – his childhood friend, Sita (Alia Bhatt), to whom he pledged eternal allegiance before leaving his village to join the Imperial Indian Police. So he acts as Bheem’s wingman, helping Bheem win the heart of English girl Jenny (Olivia Morris) with his terrifying attitude and impressive dancing skills.
Jr NTR (collective abbreviation of NT Rama Rao Jr.) and Ram Charan, both Telugu superstars, show off those skills in the game.”Naatu Naatu,” RRRThe only real music production number. (Another song, “Etthara Jenda,” plays at the end and Bheem introduces his defiance to the song while being punished for his revolutionary activities.) Rajamouli’s longtime collaborator, MM Keeravani provides the music for these numbers, along with the theme song and instrumental pieces designed to keep the audience engaged.
RRR is a busy movie, full of special effects, boisterous crowd scenes, elaborate set designs, expensive CGI, and loud sound effects. Rajamouli is very good at balancing many elements of the film, so “overstimulating” is not quite the word to describe how to step out.f RRR feel. It’s like pleasant burnout after a good workout.
The extended screening times of Indian films used to pose a barrier for Western audiences not used to spending three full hours on films. But times have changed, and RRR just over 10 minutes long Batman. On the other hand, even though it’s set to release in 30 countries, the film assumes familiarity with certain characters and symbols that might pass through the heads of foreign viewers. At its core, however, this is a story about people fighting for their beliefs against impossible odds. It’s about perseverance and the power of working together towards a common goal. Those themes can be globally relevant – as well as the delightful thrill of watching the racist forces of imperial oppression grasp exactly what is coming for them.
RRR Now showing in select theaters worldwide.
[Ed. note: We recommend viewers check local listings or contact the theater to make sure you’re catching the version of RRR you want to see. The film was shot in Telugu, but some theaters are running multiple screens with versions of the film dubbed into one or more of the other major Indian languages: Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam. A Telugu screening will give you the original voice performances with English subtitles.]