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'Rudramadevi' Review: Good Effort Gone Awry

Movie: Rudramadevi
Rating: 2.5/5
Banner:
Gunaa Team Works
Cast: Anushka, Allu Arjun, Rana Daggubati, Nithya Menen Catherine Tresa, Vikramjeet Virk, Krishnam Raju, Prakash Raj, Suman, Adithya Menon, Aditi Chengappa, and others
Dialogues: Parachuri Brothers 
Music: Ilayaraja
Cinematography: Ajaya Vincent
Editor: Sreekar  Prasad
Art work: Thota Tharani
Action: Peter Hein and Vijay
Costumes: Neeta Lulla 
Presented by: Smt Ragini Guna 
Screenplay, Producer and Direction: Gunashekhar
Release Date: October 9, 2015

Rudramadevi, India’s first historical stereoscopic 3D film, had been creating buzz over the last two years as it is a movie about a warrior queen we all have read in our history books and also part of our Telugu culture.

Like Baahubali, this is one of the costliest movies ever made in Telugu cinema. With a great support of technicians, Gunasekhar has invested all his money and energy into this film. His dream project is here. Let’s find out about its merits and demerits.  

Story:
Kakatiya emperor Ganapati Deva is blessed with a daughter but raises her as a boy and names Rudra Deva fearing that the ministers, the kings and citizens won’t accept a girl as his successor.

Rudra Deva (Anushka) comes to know her real identity and the reason behind this camouflage and continues to act as male. She falls in love with her friend and Nidadavolu prince (Rana) but refuses to get married as she is committed to keep Kakatiya dynasty growing.

She faces challenges from Devagiri king (Vikram Jith) and as well as Gona Ganna Reddy (Allu Arjun). But is Gona Ganna Reddy really her opponent? And what will happen when all folks come to know that she is not Rudra Deva but Rudrama Devi? Answers can be found in the rest of movie.

Artistes’ Performances:
Anushka has played the role majestically. She is pious, has grace and physicality of a queen. Anushka has played the getup of a female in disguise of a male as well as a beautiful Rudramadevi with ease. Although we see less of her greatness in the movie, she has carried the character with aplomb. 

Allu Arjun in the role of Gona Ganna Reddy has not only got meatier role, more length but also best lines. He steals the show though his is not the main role.

Rana is equally good in small role as Anushka’s lover. Nithya Menon, Catherine Tresa and Hansa Nandini provide good glamour as well as have characters with some impact.

Prakash Raj and Krishnam Raj have played their roles with ease. The villain Vikramjith’s is a poorly written role. There are more than 50 character actors in the film and it’s a confusion to remember their names and keep track of them. Chiranjeevi’s voice over narration is neat. 

Technical Excellence:
Camera work by Ajay Vincent should be applauded, all his frames are rich and has elevated grandeur look of the story. Multiple awards winning art director Thota Tharani has erected some nice sets too.

Ilayaraja’s music is another big letdown of the movie. Parachuri Brothers dialogues written for the role of Anushka and Allu Arjun are superb. Production values should be praised. 

Highlights:

  • Anushka
  • Allu Arjun as Gona Ganna Reddy
  • Decent first half
  • Camerawork

Drawbacks:

  • Boring Second half
  • Hardly anything about Anushka’s adventures
  • Inconsistency in the quality of graphics
  • Songs 
  • Slow pace
  • Poor graphics

Analysis:
As the story of Rudrama Devi belongs to a rich Telugu culture, all were eager to lap up the movie but the director Gunasekhar has missed a great opportunity to create history with this movie.

He has invested huge money, risk, brought in good technicians and popular stars in the principal roles, yet he lapsed on screenplay front. 

Gunasekhar who has always been known for attempting to tell the stories with huge sets and grandeur visuals has dared to make Rudramadevi with a budget of Rs 60 Crore. The budget and his hard work is all there to see but sans effectiveness.

After setting up the movie nicely with decent first half, he has thrown up hands post interval as the movie drags on and on. Not that the movie lacks its merits or spectacular moments but they are fewer. The cons weigh over the pros towards the end of the movie. 

When Gona Ganna Reddy character is introduced, a kind of high energy comes in to the story and moves on nicely till the interval bang. Alas, it doesn’t sustain the momentum later. 

One of the major highlights of the movie apart from Gona Ganna Reddy’s introduction is the scene of little Rudrama trying to know her real identity. 

Director Gunasekhar also wastes time on the male disguised female Rudramadevi, showing little on the noble and adventure activities of the great Kakatiya queen. Her great works are mentioned but not shown. Also more focus was shown on the songs, the romance between Anushka and Rana which doesn’t impress at all.

Barring the battle technique of snake and eagle shaped soldiers encircling Rudrama Devi, there are no gripping moments post interval. 

There is also TV serial atmosphere in the court room of Ganapathi Devudu and Rudramadevi with all kings and ministers, provincial leaders behaving so cheaply. Also the building of Seven Wall Fort should have been shown in more detail. 

All in all, appreciation to Gunasekhar goes for the fact that through the movie he tries to bring rich history of Telugu land on to the screen. Other than this fact, the movie has more demerits than the merits.

The movie is only for people who want to know how Rudrama Devi ruled in the guise of a male. 

Bottomline: Devoid of hero(ine)ism

(Venkat can be reached venkat@greatandhra.com or https://twitter.com/greatandhranews)

Click here for Telugu review

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