Film buffs could not be blamed if they find similarities between Sye Raa Narasimhaa Reddy, the latest Chiranjeevi-starrer that tells the story of historical superhero and freedom fighter Uyyalwada Narasimha Reddy, and Mammootty's 2009 Malayalam flick Pazhassi Raja, a film on the king who fought against the British.
Sye Raa Narasimhaa Reddy opens with a casual conversation at Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom. Following this, India was looted of all its wealth, putting a huge question mark over its dignity and heritage. By that time, rulers of princely states had fallen under the British rule. But Narasimha Reddy (Chiranjeevi), who wields huge clout at Renadu in Andhra Pradesh, vows to throw the British out of the country with the support of his Guru (Amitabh Bachchan).
In Pazhassi Raja's story, internal feuds and rivalries set the storm. The storyline had an emotional connect with Raja Veeravarma (Thilakan), the king of Kurumbranad, who plots to usurp power from his nephew Pazhassi Raja (Mammootty). Though Pazhassi flees, he loses his family and his unborn child – and the conflict leads to a revenge.
But in Narasimha Reddy, the connecting issues are not as interesting as expected.
We should admire Chiranjeevi for packing a punch even at the age of 64, but his character portrays the exaggerated bravery and jingoism. Even for Chiranjeevi’s intro scene, we see him meditating underwater. He teams up with other rulers, Veera Reddy (Jagapathi Babu), Avuku Raju (Sudeep), Basi Reddy (Ravi Kishan) and Raja Pandi (Vijay Sethupathi). In order to make this more cinematic and formulaic, Narasimha Reddy is confronted by two ladies- Lakshmi (Tamannaah) and Siddhamma (Nayanthara). Anushka Shetty’s cameo is not so impressive as she appears just to boost and praise Narasimha Reddy.
Post interval, the film acquires rapid pace and the narration gets to another level of beauty. After less significant roles in the first half, Tamannaah and Nayanthara came back strongly in the second.
Chiranjeevi puts tremendous life into the character of Narasimha Reddy and his screen presence creates an impact. Eventually, he virtually carries the movie on his shoulders.
What makes the movie impressive is the technical brilliance. Some of the sequences may remind viewers about the Prabhas-starrer Baahubali. The film directed by Surender Reddy offers a visual spectacle of unimaginable proportion. Composer Amit Trivedi’s music and Julius Packiam’s background score raised the intensity of the movie.
The director could have made the three-hour movie a bit more engrossing had he edited it tightly. The screenplay tries hard in creating drama with too many sub-plots.
The film has been made in Telugu and has been released with dubbed versions in Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and Hindi. With movies like these (Baahubali, Dear Comrade, Saaho, to name a few) made with a Pan-Indian appeal, it is pertinent to ask why such movies should be released in subtitles in native languages, without dubbing into different languages.
Well, history, it is said, repeats itself and like how Amitabh Bachchan puts it in the movie winning is more important than living or dying. In Sye Raa Narasimhaa Reddy, one can easily say that Chiranjeevi wins it hands down.