Review: ‘Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy’ – Grand & glossy

Chennai: Movies on freedom fighters that kindle the patriotism in you have come now and then. For Tamil audience, Sivaji Ganesan’s Veerapandiya Kattabomman set a benchmark. One of the earliest films on freedom fighters in south India, it is a subject matter of study for aspiring historians even today. Now comes Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, a film on a Telugu patriot who vowed to free the nation from the clutches of the British in early 19th century. With Chiranjeevi playing the protagonist and thanks to its scale and spectacle, the movie may sweep you off your feet.

Directed by Surender Reddy, the film made on a huge budget begins reminding one of Baahubali. But as it progresses, it picks up steam with things falling in place thanks to brilliant star cast and their performance. The grandeur, richness and gloss in every frame make it a special show. In a nutshell, it is a story of an angry young man in Rayalseema region, who is dejected and disappointed at his homeland suffering under alien rule.

He decides to wage a war and he is almost successful in keeping them away from his land until he falls prey to deceit. It is not sheer documentation of historical events, the shrewd filmmaker has added some fantasy elements without missing out on essential commercial elements one would love to see in a Chiranjeevi’s film.

The movie begins with narration by Jhansi Rani (Anushka). Chiranjeevi in Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is the lone warrior who mobilises force to fight Britishers. He does gravity defying stunts to teach them a few lessons. There are dialogues glorifying his valour and masculinity that would draw applause from his ardent fans.

It lays stress on the fact that this Telugu feudal lord had revolted against the East India Company much before the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. Narasimnha’s guru Venkanna (Amitabh), Lakshmi (Tammannah), a dancer who falls for Narasimha and later aides him in his mission stands out. There are a host of characters all through the 2 hour 51 minute show. Sudeep, Jagapathy Babu, Vijay Sethupathi, Nayanthara, Ravi Kishan and Mukesh Rishi and more. All have a part to play.

The movie stands tall thanks to Rathnavelu’s cinematography. Be it a hillock with water gushing down, apocalyptic kind of war sequences, rich interiors of a palace, the offices of British East Indian Company or the grand rural festivals, all have been captured in grand manner. Sreekar Prasad the editor and Tapas Nayak the sound designer have done a commendable job. Julius Packiam’s music engrosses the attention of audience with roaring songs composed by Amit Trivedi.

On the flip side, the exaggerated war sequence, overdoes of heroism and more of fiction in the drama may rob the shine a little. Nevertheless, a mammoth attempt, Sye Ree Narasimha Reddy deserves praise for speaking about patriotism on the lines of Mangal Pandey and Laagan quite loud and in all seriousness.