RRR (2022) is a face smash of a movie, so over the top in action, Indian nationalism, and melodrama it rings out like a unique Indian live-action take on Japanese anime. Despite its three-hour runtime, it’s a load of good fun if you don’t take it seriously and just let it wash over you like a force of nature.
The movie basically reimagines the lives of two real-life revolutionaries who lived in the days of colonial India. After the tyrannical British Raj and his bloodthirsty wife essentially kidnap a girl from the Gond forest people to keep as a servant, the villagers call on Bheem, the tribal guardian, to save her. Standing in his way is the British Army and worse, an Indian police inspector named Raju who will do anything to advance, though his true agenda is yet to be revealed. These men meet without knowing the true identity of the other and quickly become the deepest of friends, only to realize they’re enemies. Will friendship come first or each man’s separate duty?
Oh, man. From the musically charged rampages to the comically inept British infantry to Bheem basically throwing tigers at people, the action is laugh out loud over the top but in a good way, it’s really good fun. These men are basically superheroes, unstoppable forces of nature–Raju fire, Bheem water–and woe to the unjust who stand in their way. The two lead actors (N. T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan, who sports one of film’s most awesome mustaches) are insanely talented, jacks of all trades pulling off everything they were tasked to do and then some with plenty of heart. I loved seeing Ray Stevenson, who played Pullo in ROME, as the villainous Raj. Throw in terrific special effects, a few song and dance numbers, and plenty of soaring Indian nationalism, and that’s pretty much it. If you just run with it, odds are you’ll have loads of fun.
I did find one thing odd as a Westerner, which was seeing one of the leads often bobble his head. This was a trait I’d always associated with silly old movie stereotypes, and here it was being played straight. I looked it up, and apparently it’s a very common gesture in India, signaling either agreement or very mild disagreement. Anyway, the more you know.
Overall, while Indian cinema isn’t normally my thing, I found RRR to be incredibly accessible and fun.