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'SRR' Review: Attempt Rich- Content Poor

'SRR' Review: Attempt Rich- Content Poor

Film: Sri Ramarajyam
Rating: 3/5
Banner:
Sri Sai Baba Pictures
Cast: Balakrishna, ANR, Nayantara, Srikanth and others
Music: Ilayaraja
Cinematographer: P R K Raju
Editor: G G Krishna Rao
Director: Bapu
Producer: Yalamanchali Sai Babu
Release date: 17/11/2011
 
Nandamuri Balakrishna is back with his favourite genre mythology and this time he has the experienced hand of Bapu and the sentiment of Nayantara. Let us see how the film is
 
Story:
A grand tale, the story begins with Lord Rama (NBK) returning with Seetha (Nayantara) and his army after victory against Ravana.

Everyone is happy in Ayodhya and within a short time Seetha becomes pregnant. In one of the routine information gathering from the kingdom, an incident involving washerman Tippadu (Brahmi) reaches the ears of Rama.

The people of Ayodhya begin to question the essence of morality in Rama bringing Seetha after she stayed at Ravana’s place for such a long time. With duty mindedness, Rama sends a pregnant Seetha to the forests. She is given shelter by Rishi Valmiki (ANR) and here she gives birth to twins Lava-Kusa (master Gaurav, master Dhanush). They grow by learning the story of Rama as a noble king and reach Ayodhya to spread his story.

However, what they are not aware is the king is their father and even Rama doesn’t realize that when he meets them. But a sequence of events happen which bring Rama to Lava-Kusa. What is that situation and what happens after that forms the rest of the story.
 
Performances:
Nandamuri Balakrishna gave a contained performance. Though he lacks the divinity and charisma of his father, he has an aura of his own. If he had rendered his dialogues with grace and poise, it would have given him extra marks. 

Nayantara was simply superb. Her maturity and balanced performance as Seetha makes her look very serene. Given her past films, this is truly a praiseworthy effort from her. Nayantara was not seen in her but only Seetha was visible.
 
Akkineni Nageswara Rao carried his role with ease. As such there was not much histrionics required in his act so he did justice to the script with his presence. But he rendered dialogues loudly but not with required serenity needed for the character.
 
Master Gaurav and Master Dhanush were the weak link in the chain. Given the crucial role they had to offer, it required a certain level of depth. Both the boys put good efforts but not good enough to give the pious feeling. They did well in battle scene with Lakshmana but not in pathos.
 
Srikanth was standard, K R Vijaya was adequate, Brahmi was brief, Vindoo Dara Singh was apt for his role. The others like Balayya, Murali Mohan, Sana, Siva Parvathi etc did their bit as required and added value.
 
Highlights

  • Songs and background score
  • Art department
  • Visual grandeur and graphics
  • Balayya-Nayan screen chemistry
  • Production values

Drawbacks

  • Too much of melodrama
  • No emotional depth
  • Abrupt climax
  • Weak screenplay
  • Dialogues

Analysis:
Any mythological film that connects to the present generation and societal structure only can be made as a commercial venture. Legend NTR realized that and hence he had taken care in his regime to talk about caste system through his Duryodhana role in DVS Karna. Hence that film and especially that dialogue turned eternal.

This Sri Ramarajyam could have been connected to the present days where divorces are becoming common among couples. The invincible pious love between Rama and Seetha could have been established with right intensity. And the reason why Rama sends Seetha to forest would have been portrayed on screen with perfect conviction that convinces the present day generation those use more logic than emotion. But that was missing completely. Lord Rama’s character was ended up as confused and emotionally driven which cannot be welcomed. Ideal man Lord Rama hasn’t shown his ideal character in this film. Cinematic liberties would have been taken to show his character powerful and hitting.

It was nearly 45 years back that the immortal classic ‘Lava Kusa’ came with the great N T Rama Rao and Anjali Devi. So, it is natural that one would try to compare ‘Sri Rama Rajyam’ with that. The strict advice is NOT to do that. This film has to be treated individually as we have already passed two generations since then.

Technically speaking, this film is superb. It has visual grandeur of international standards and has taken Tollywood to a new league. There was no compromise in quality and best deliverance.

Also, one must really appreciate director Bapu for his guts to take a subject like this at the age of 77.

However, all that glitters cannot be gold. The film scores exceedingly well in presentation but suffers significantly in content department. Though the flow was consistent, the peaks lacked the required voltage. Trying to infuse extra and unwanted emotions did extra damage.

The objective of the film should have been to project more on why Rama is treated as God and what his ideals are stood by. That was missing. There was an inconsistency.

The song ‘Vinu ra vinu ra Ramayana gaadha..’ from the original should have been imported. This would have given a chance for the song to be present for two more generations. When the songs like ‘bangaru kodipetta’ are being imported, why not evergreen classic like ‘vinura vinura…’

The last twenty minutes saw a rise in the graph but just when it was about to take off the end card came which was another minus.

Overall, this is a film which has developed enough hype and will surely strike a chord with the family audience. But given the budget, scoring commercial success is doubtful.
 
Bottomline: Watch it only for the efforts

(Venkat can be reached at venkat@greatandhra.com)

PS: Rating is for unmatchable efforts and pious thought ONLY.

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