The spectacular, three-hour action-adventure RRR is definitely on my 10 Best Movies of 2022 list, along with Best International Feature and S.S. Rajamouli as Best Director.
In Hindi and English, RRR stands for Rise, Roar, Revolt since the historical epic is set during the British Raj in the early 1920s. One of the opening sequences reveals how a young girl, Malli (Twinkle Sharma), is snatched from her Gond tribal parents by ruthless British Governor Scott Buxton (Ray Stevenson) to be a servant for his cruel wife Catherine (Alison Doody) at their palace in Delhi.
As burly warrior Komaram Bheem (N.T. Rama Rao Jr.) from the Gond tribe searches for little Malli, he meets Alluri Sitrama Raju (Ram Charan), an ambitious Indian military officer. Since the Governor promised a special honor for anyone who apprehends troublemaking Bheem. Ramaraju is determined to succeed.
Yet – after a train wreck and exploding bridge – when they work together to rescue a youngster from a fiery river, they become best friends. And Bheem falls in love with the Governor’s beautiful niece (Olivia Morris).
That’s the bare bones plot but it’s the exciting execution that dazzles, as the screenplay by Rajamouli and Sai Madhav Burra from a story by Rajamouli’s father Vijayendra Prasad twists and turns in unexpected directions.
One of the highlights is the exuberant Naatu, Naatu song- and-dance sequence, choreographed by Prem Rakshith; it makes the Jets & Sharks dance-off in West Side Story pale in comparison.
Chronicled by cinematographer K.K. Senthil Kumar, there are amazing chases and daring rescues, surging crowds, wild CGI animals, sadistic punishments and mythic transformations, augmented by delirious slow-motion sequences and grandiose wire-work acrobatics, demonstrating superhuman strength.
It’s impossible to resist the music, composed by M.M. Keeravani with lyrics by Riva Mukherjee, Sirivennela Seethgarama Sastry, Chabdravise and Varun Griover with vocals by Kaala Bhairava and Rahul Sipliguni.
Extensive disclaimers reveal that although these two legendary heroes of India are based on real-life freedom fighters, the story of how and when they met is completely fictional.
Dubbed into English from Telugu with English subtitles, on the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, RRR is an original, inventive, thrilling 10, streaming on Netflix. You’ve never seen anything like it!