India's first freedom fighter Uyyalawada Narasimah Reddy's biopic Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is a life time dream for Chiranjeevi that couldn't be materialized for long due to various constraints. Finally, Ram Charan bankrolled the magnum opus fulfilling his father's wish. Supported by mammoth star cast and star technicians, Sye Raa evolved as a pan Indian film after Baahubali. How well the movie has been made? Does it live up to the expectations? Has Chiranjeevi fit the bill for first time in a freedom fighter character?
Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy (Chiranjeevi) is one of the vassals to British from Renadu area in the period of 1840s. Gosayi Venkanna (Amitabh) is his guru. Unlike 60 other territorial vassals in the same geography, Narasimha Reddy is of rebellious attitude with immense concern and generosity towards Renadu people. He falls in love with temple dancer Lakshmi (Tamannah) but fact is Narasimha Reddy was married to another woman named Siddhamma (Nayantara) in child age. As British oppressed the poor poverty stricken farmers unable to pay taxes, Narasimha Reddy initiated a rebellion thus triggering the first civil war against British rule. Joined by other Palegars (Jagapathi Babu, Sudeep, Mukesh Rishi and others) and support from Tamilians (Vijay Sethupathy) in field, Narasimha Reddy faced many conspiracies and betrayals before getting hanged to death.
Surender Reddy has taken up a colossal task to make a larger than life film with Mega Star. However, icing on the cake is he metamorphosed from a stylish filmmaker to a period filmmaker in a short span of time understanding the nuances from Rajamouli and Baahubali. Though screenplay suffered here and there, as a storyteller he shot the best which one expects from a Chiranjeevi’s film. The warrior attitude, personal character and skill set of his protagonist are well presented. Most importantly, Surender Reddy’s ease at canning action part and elevating the emotional quotient at right times worked in favor. His shot making is impeccable and will leave you spellbound in important portions like interval and climax. Though one can find lots of inspiration from Baahubali visuals and taking, as the movie progresses one will easily forget it.
Ratnavelu's cinematography is top notch. Every frame is filled with grandeur. And then, VFX department did their job but not on par with the perfection of other films compared on same scale. VFX in introduction bull chase sequence is almost Baahubali 2. Hollywood action choreographers showed their legitimacy. BGM by Julius Packiam is fine. While Amit Trivedi’s Jathara song visually looked good, Sye Raa title song is outstanding in composition and picturization. Editing by Sreekar Prasad is the first flaw to find and lots of trimming is needed immediately to keep essence intact. Story by Paruchuri Brothers had 80 and 90s regular flavor. Yet, the depth they gave to each character and each episode bought superb viability. Dialogues by Sai Madhav Burra could have been far better. Ram Charan, the real hero behind the screen produced one of the costliest projects of Indian cinema. Kudos to his conviction as the budget incurred is sensed in every frame.
Onto performances, typical stylish dialogue delivery, intensity and fierceness in eyes or oozing out perfect emotions brought vintage Chiranjeevi back. Age though took a toll on his physique, the efforts and hard work Chiranjeevi kept into the character is an inspiration for coming generations. At times Chiru though looked odd, everything is forgotten with his breathtaking performance in climax. Amitabh Bachchan’s subtle role is well designed. Tamannah is just terrific. Her screen presence and histrionics in O Sye Raa song stood out. Nayantara is adequate in brief character. Kiccha Sudeep is one more major asset and his scenes with Chiru will be remembered for long. Vijay Sethupathy is wasted. Jagapathy Babu left his mark and Niharika flashed in a small role. Ravi Kishen and the lady who did mother to Narasimha Reddy are superb. Sai Chand, Rohini are emotional boost-up key artists.
Other Star Cast
Slow Take Off
Repeated War Episodes
Sye Raa being a true patriotic film and Chiranjeevi being a commercial hero, inherently there are limitations for Surender Reddy to stay away from adding commercial elements. This kept fun and masala away from Sye Raa. Thanks to Surender Reddy and Ram Charan for being honest at treatment despite historical facts are deviated in the name of cinematic liberties. In the process of glorifying the patriotic fervor, entire team succeeded in balancing the things.
First half begins on slow take off after Pawan Kalyan voice over and Anushka as Jhansi Laxmi Bhai narrates the motivational story of Uyyalawada. Here on the portrayal and character building of Narasimha Reddy is just ok except the underwater shot. Love track with Tamannah or introduction of other Palegars in a lavish Jathara song missed the momentum. Bull chase sequence is also acceptable. On the other hand, British’s barbarian tax collection methods missed in depth. Nayantara’s entry is good and the scene with Chiru is moving. Things fall in place as Surender Reddy begins to sow the seeds for interval block on Rohini, Sai Chand’s pity state. Then Fans roar out for the well-choreographed action interval block.
Second half is more of war and sub plots. Comparatively, there is lot more stuff than first half with well anticipated twists and turns. Meeting of Nayan and Tammu is one of the best parts in title song. Conquering of Kadapa and other British territories by Narasimha Reddy takes story to next level. Jagapathi Babu’s character gains prominence with the trademark betrayal. In what could be said as one of the exceptional climaxes, Chiranjeevi steals the show.
All in all Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy has been made as a serious, soulful and purposeful patriotic film honestly and sincerely made by entire team. Sans slow take off and repetitive war shots, Chiranjeevi and the glazing star cast will make it worth a watch. With festive Dasara holiday season on, there will be no stopping for Sye Raa in Box Office terms. The magnum opus has got the ammunition to bag 3 stars from CJ team. Sye Raa is distinctly a different feather in Mega Star’s crown.