Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy movie review: Apart from scenes where he is fighting or trying to fire up the crowd, Chiranjeevi plays his character with some maturity.
Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy movie cast: Chiranjeevi, Amitabh Bachchan, Vijay Sethupathi, Sudeep, Nayanthara
Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy movie director: Surender Reddy
Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy movie rating: 2.5 stars
The main attraction of Sai Ra Narasimha Reddy, starring Chiranjeevi in the lead role, is Amit Trivedi’s background score. The composer’s score adds a different texture to the visuals mounted on a massive scale. In scenes where background scores and slow-motion shots take place, I felt like watching a Zack Snyder film. The film has a set of cinematic moments that are pleasing to our senses and enjoyable. But, as we move on to the next scene, we are introduced to the harsh reality of director-writer Surender Reddy’s typical potibile script, where the British colonies behave like typical Telugu villains.
The main flaw of Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is Surendra’s attempt to mold a story into a mold that fits the narrow definition of mainstream commercial cinema. We get this as a typical Chiranjeevi film, where Chiranjeevi has done in his last 150 films – the fight for the poor and the weak. The only difference is that he is wearing an ancient warrior costume and riding a horse.
Sai Ra Narasimha Reddy is based on the life of the 16th century feudal leader, Uyalwara Narasimha Reddy, who was sown the seed of rebellion in 1857 before the official document of the First War of India’s Independence.
Surendra uses every opportunity to play the character of Narasimha Reddy played by Chiranjeevi. He opens the film in the midst of the war of 1857, where Jhansi’s swordsmen are on the verge of giving up. Enter Jhansi Lakshmi Bai (Anushka Shetty), a female warrior who tells the story of Narasimha Reddy to set her army on fire. So the narrative begins, with the birth of Narasimha Reddy. He is still declared born. But, after some time, the baby becomes conscious by some miracle. You see, he defeated death at the time of his birth.
As a teenager, Narasimha Reddy wants to single-handedly rebel against the British. But, thanks to the wisdom of his mentor, Guru Gosai Venkanna (Amitabh Bachchan), he decides to wait until he builds his army. He undergoes training to become a warrior. And he grows up and becomes the master of the senses. He can breathe and practically stay under water.
The film has the strangest scenes that revolve around the blossoming romance between Narasimha and Lakshmi (Tamannaah). Lakshmi is awakened by Narasimha’s ability to mediate underwater. She is the fantasy of the film director. She is so hypnotized by Narasimha (read Chiranjeevi) that she gives up her ability to think and work and accepts anything the director would throw at her. For the entire first half, Tamannaah does nothing but stare at Chiranjeevi.
Surendra resorted to highly used methods to establish 16th century independence. And just when all hope is lost and you are on the verge of giving up like the soldiers of Jhansi, something happens. Narasimha gets work and starts doing evil to the British colonialists. This battle paves the way for the beginning of the end of the British Empire in India. Not the soldiers but the common people go to war against the colonists. The British called it “freedom struggle”.
Typically, Telugu potboilers directors embed a side-character in the villain’s camp, whose life is spared despite his idea to sing the praises of the hero. In this film, we get a clerk in the British administration who makes fun of his bosses in the face of his biggest insult. Surender also uses it to explain an action sequence that is inspired by a mythological story of an avatar of a god slaying a demon.
In the second part, the guerrilla warfare of Narasimha and action takes place at the center level. The film works on a scene-by-scene basis, but comes up very short when the film is a complete entertainer. This is because the story does not really take us back to the era where the story is set. We do not enter into the testy political waters and the ego struggle of feudal masters. Nor are there great scenes that make us feel for the characters. What we get is a widespread trauma of actions of evil, heroism and sacrifices.
However, I liked Surender’s attempt to underline the fact that the selfless sacrifices of thousands of people to freedom cut across class and religious lines.
Apart from the scenes where he is fighting or trying to set the crowd on fire, Chiranjeevi plays his character with some maturity. Even as his character is created as a mythological hero, he presents his character as a one-minded warrior who does not buy into his legend. And the huge star cast including Amitabh Bachchan, Vijay Sethupathi, Sudeep, Nayantara are all mounted on the myth-making altar. Tamannaah shines in a few moments despite being firmly in Chiranjeevi’s shadow.
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