Rise Roar Revolt is India’s battle cry

Published January 23, 2023, 9:33 AM

by Rica Arevalo

SS Rajamouli’s RRR amazes critics worldwide

SS Rajamouli’s RRR is in Tollywood—not Bollywood—style. It is in Indian-Telugu language, the second most popular language in the world’s seventh largest country.

SS Rajamouli

RRR won best song and best foreign film at the Critics Choice Awards. It also took the best original song for “Naatu Naatu” at the 80th Golden Globe Awards. The New York Film Critics Circle surprised everyone when they gave Rajamouli the best director award against Steven Spielberg, Darron Aronofsky, Sarah Polley, and Gina Prince-Blythewood.

Rise Roar Revolt

If the epic film gets an Oscar nomination for best picture when the 95th Academy Awards announces its official nominations tomorrow (Jan. 24), RRR would then make history. It missed the best international feature film category when India sent Chhello Show (Last Film Show) as its entry.

The 182-minute film features two Indian “heroes,” Bheem (N.T. Rama Rao Jr., a.k.a. NTR), who rescues his younger sister Malli (Twinkle Sharma) from British woman Catherine (Allison Doody), and Raju (Ram Charan), who leaves his community to fight against the British Raj during the 1920s.

Both men have secret motives in their call for revolt against British colonialism. Bheem went undercover as a Muslim to work in Delhi while looking for her abducted sister. Catherine locks the young girl inside the palace, where her husband, British administrator Scott Buxton (Ray Stevenson), resides. Malli puts Indian art on the hands of Catherine’s rich friends and family.

Raju is a loyal soldier of the British police. A local, he was tasked to track down revolting tribesmen. Behind Raju’s projection of a tough leader, he hides painful childhood experiences. Both seek revenge on a different level.

‘RRR’ family at the Golden Globes

The two meet when a burning train hurtles off track toward a boy on the river where, in death-defying stunts, Raju and Bheem rescues him just in the nick of time.     

As a result, Raju and Bheem become close friends, with the former even helping his friend date the beautiful Jenny (Olivia Morris). 

When Raju, bitten by a snake, is close to death, Bheem confesses all his intentions and his plan to infiltrate British grounds to get Malli. 

When Raju recovers, he continues his duty as he puts Bheem to jail to face all the repercussions of his actions. Raju wants his friend to retract his anti-colonial stance but to no avail. The “bromance” ends.

Bheem cannot fathom that his best friend is a traitor until he meets Raju’s wife who reveals Raju’s motivation to rise up in the police force. Raju is feeling down too for hurting the people whose freedom he is fighting for.

The two revolutionary friends Komaram Bheem played by N.T. Rama Rao Jr. and Alluri Sitarama Raju played Ram Charan

Director Rajamouli was inspired by two real-life freedom fighters, who never met in real life so he made a fictionalized story in which the two become friends, creating a division and motivating one another to unite India. Bheem is the fire who inspires people’s emotions while Raju provides the weapon with which his people can fight the forces.

Will their respective missions be accomplished? Watch out for the wild animals stealing the show, most are computer-generated images.

RRR is more than three hours long. Considered the most expensive Indian film, it is now streaming on Netflix.