‘Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy’ Movie Review: Chiranjeevi’s patriotic magnum opus is filled with grandeur, valour & national pride
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What’s It About:
‘Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy’ is set around 10 years prior to India’s first war of independence of 1857. Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy (Chiranjeevi) is an emperor from the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh who lived happily with his wife Siddhamma (Nayanthara), his mother (Lakshmi Gopalaswamy) and with his people. During that time, the British East India Company, who had initially come to India for business, started to torture Indian people and looted from them. They even started shipping Indian resources back to their country. When Narasimha Reddy witnesses their atrocities, he gets furious and leaves his throne, wife, and mother. He teams up with emperors of other regions like Veera Reddy (Jagapathi Babu), Avuku Raju (Kichcha Sudeep), Raja Pandi (Vijay Sethupathi) and his Guru Gosayi Venkanna (Amitabh Bachchan) and starts a rebellion against the British East India Company. Will he succeed in his efforts? Will he fail? Well, you’ll have to watch the movie for that.
Chiranjeevi is the heart and soul of this film. He carries the film with zeal and passion, and that’s what makes the story so endearing and impactful. Chiranjeevi maybe more than 150 films old, but he sure knows what gets a cheer from the masses and what gets them to wet their kerchiefs. His portrayal of the king who turns into this leader trying to win from the evil British East India company is something that will remind you of Amarendra Baahubali leaving his throne and kingship to go and live with the masses. Chiranjeevi with his swag and screen presence is something that will make you want to see more and more of him. Even at the age of 64, he looks fit as a fiddle and doesn’t shy away from giving the action shots himself. In short, he is simply fantastic.
Amitabh Bachchan may have a small role in the film, but the ace superstar proves once again how one can rely upon for any script and character. Other supporting actors like Kichcha Sudeep, Jagapathi Babu, Vijay Sethupathi have also done justice to the small screen space that they have. The coming together of all these heroes from varied film industries makes ‘Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy’ feel like an ‘Avengers’ movie trying to bring in all your favourite stars under one roof.
Tamannaah Bhatia may have not had enough to do in the two-part ‘Baahubali’ franchise, but it’s she who wins your hearts in this one. Her performance is spotless. Her closing scene in the film is something that will always be considered one of the best scenes in her filmography.
The cameo appearance by Anushka Shetty as Jhansi’s Rani Lakshmi Bai is fantastic. It comes at a time when you’re least expecting it, and that’s what creates the impact even further. She has aced the character in the minuscule screen space with perfection, which makes you wonder whether she would have been a better fit for the biopic of Rani Lakshmi Bai than Kangana Ranaut.
The music of the film by Amit Trivedi is, without doubt, one of his best. The songs grow on you slowly like old wine. However, it’s sad that the songs haven’t been promoted that well otherwise songs like ‘Jaago Narsimha Jaago Re’ and ‘Sye Raa Title Track’ would have been hot favourites by now.
The cinematography by R. Rathnavelu is stunning. The recreation of the 1850s looks pitch-perfect. From the weapons used in that time to some of the costumes, there has been immense detailing put in by the cinematography team, including the set design and costume department. They have all done a fab job.
The visual effects used are also fantastic. It is the stop motion hyperlapse shots used during the action sequences which will make it look like a Hollywood flick. It seems like the producer, Ram Charan’s money has been put to some good use.
Keeping the best for the last, the direction and screenplay by Surender Reddy are truly fantastic. The grandeur and magnificence that he envisioned are seen every bit on screen. Along with him, the writers, Paruchuri Brothers, have done an in-depth study of the era and come up with a story that is not only intriguing but also keeps you hooked onto your seats. In such independence struggle stories, you always know the end, but it’s the way the writers and directors show the story which makes the film worth a watch – and ‘Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy’ is surely worth it.
The length of the film is surely a letdown. The film’s editing by A. Sreekar Prasad is not very crisp. And ‘Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy’ could well possibly have been shortened by 20-25 minutes at the least.
The first half of the film is not applause-worthy like the tight second half. The build-up of Chiranjeevi aka Narasimha Reddy’s character takes a bit too long. Even so when you’re out in the interval to buy your popcorn, you wonder whether this film is actually worth the time you thought it would be. Thankfully, the second half picks up massively, which makes it worth the time spent.
Talking of the actors, Nayanthara is probably the only big name who has been short-changed. Her role, although being one of the prime characters isn’t something that couldn’t have been done by anyone. Her loyalty towards Narsimha Reddy is something that’s admirable, however, she demanded more screen space. The makers didn’t have to get such a renowned actress’ screen presence go to waste. She could have been given more screen time.
The timing of the film looks slightly misplaced. October 2 maybe a national Holiday, but the feeling of going out and watching a patriotic film ends up coming mostly during August 15 or January 26. That might affect the north-Indian crowd from entering into theatres wanting to watch a deeply patriotic film.
Chiranjeevi’s massive efforts to make an ‘Avengers’ style pan-India film is surely a great ONE-TIME watch. You might end up cursing the enormous 171-minute run-time when you come out, but you’ll be left satisfied with what you’ve witnessed inside. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself sitting in the audience amidst frantic whistles, loud cheers, and ecstatic hoots in pretty much every second scene in the second half. I am going with three and a half stars.
‘Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy’ is no ‘Baahubali’. It will surely have its fair share of audience from the southern states lapping up to watch it, but getting a response like ‘Baahubali’ from this film is trying to stretch it a bit too far. The movie will earn its worth through the extended first week, but for the Hindi moviegoer, it will still fall short of expectations, thereby affecting collections.