SS Rajamouli is an iconic director who wisely blends the right human emotions, drama as well as extravagant grandeur in the right proportion. It’s always his screenplay that lets his movies down even if it has plenty of over-the-top action sequences. Just like Baahubali 2, RRR suffers the same fate.
Both the lead actors effortlessly flex their muscles to showcase over-the-top yet entertaining set pieces. But that is achieved at the expense of the story as well as the backdrop of those past events. All of these plus the length of the film make it too much to bear. There is no doubt that the first half is good. The story is built up in a way that will engage you in your seat but the second half is a bit slow with poor narrative decisions and the climax is just horrible. Totally nonsense, unrealistic action scenes which do not help in any character development and are only possible in Indian movies.
Akhtar’s (or Bheem’s) character is built well in the first half. We get to understand his goals as well as his motivations as he is trying to rescue his little sister from the British General who has forcefully brought her from the village. As for Ram’s character, then we only get to see his goals in the first half and not his motivations therefore we get attached to Bheem more. The half ends with a near-perfect action sequence face-off between the two which brings on the interval promising something greater in the second half. Sadly, that promise never materializes. We finally get to see Ram’s motivation in the second half which could’ve been decent if his actual plan would’ve been to slowly take down the British rule in India. But his actual plan is just to steal guns and give them to his people so that they can do the same thing through violence. That’s the problem in the second half; everyone seems to take the path of violence to achieve something. Even when he realizes his flaw of sacrificing innocent people (including his friend) is wrong, it isn’t fulfilled truly. This is because we are told in a way that he needs to save Bheem only because he can inspire more people for Revolution than him and not because of Ram realizing that sacrificing innocents is wrong.
Every man working for the Empire is depicted as only evil. Of course, the British reign in India had its moments of terror but they are depicted in this film as only ruling India because of torture and terror when in reality, the main reason was trade and resources. No, I am not defending any form of empire but an empire isn’t about violence only. This makes the second film feel too cringe and cliche. As for the climax, then the manner in which the events were set up, let alone transpired, were just absolute trash. I am not trying to be rude because I had great expectations but it is what it is. Coincidences create stories but the sheer size of it in this story is laughable. After escaping the forces, Bheem takes shelter in a small village (he still thinks that Ram is evil and doesn’t know that he is captured). This is where he meets Seetha who tells him Ram’s true story and Bheem realizes that he has to save him. Remember, we’re talking about India, a country with a large geographical presence. Yet, this coincidence just had to happen! This is important because this is what setups the climax which itself was way over-the-top action and a completely lackluster affair. How did they not realize these mistakes during reviewing and editing is beyond me.
Overall, if you want to see unrealistic action and actors breaking the laws of physics in every possible way then this film is a perfect treat for you. That is surprising because, during the first half, I was literally thinking of a 4-5 star review. How on earth did we come to this? The visuals are good in most places and the score is just outstanding. The acting is top-notch as well but everything is let down by the poor screenplay and plot choices. The emotions in the film seem very much forced after the interval there is no time to heal or recover from a wound. The plot is illogical and quite difficult to put into words. If you want a brainless spectacular, then this one is for you. For people like me, this is one of those which begs the question of what could’ve been? Don’t expect too much. This is just another routine South Indian film that failed to impress the world.