• Golden Globe Awards

RRR (India)

Imagine if Quentin Tarantino made a Bollywood film and peppered it with some Marvel superhero action? Even this over-the-top equivalence still isn’t enough data to fully conceptualize the scope of S. S. Rajamouli’s epic action drama RRR that centers around two of India’s real-life independence revolutionaries, Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (N. T. Rama Rao Jr.)
Although no evidence exists that the two men ever met in their own 1920’s quest to free India from the British occupation. Rajamouli discovered some stories about their lives and fictionalized a ‘what if’ scenario that connected the coincidences between them. What would have happened had they met, and been friends?
We are taken back to India 1920 and meet the cruel and sadistic British administrator Scott Buxton (Ray Stevenson) and his wife Catherine (Alison Doody). During a visit to a local village, they kidnap a young girl named Malli (Twinkle Sharma), who shows a unique talent for artistry. The tribe sends their almost mythological guardian Bheem to rescue her. To quell the threat, Catherine enlists Raju, an ambitious officer from the Indian Imperial Police, to hunt down the sentinel. In a bizarre twist of fate, the two meet coincidentally and save a young boy from certain death; sparking a friendship between them without each knowing the others true identity. But when circumstances force one of their hands, the other is left to decide their true priority of the quest.
Ironically, just as Raju and Bheem never worked together, neither had two of Telugu cinema’s biggest superstars, Charan and Rama Rao, Jr, although both had previously worked with Rajamouli. While their joint appearance fuels a film filled with action, brotherhood, romance, menacing tigers and of course a few musical sequences, do not presume you are witnessing another Bollywood film. Welcome to Tollywood, Indian cinema in the Telugu language. Just don’t ask the director to make the comparison.
“First of all, I don’t like those words, Bollywood and Tollywood,” he volunteered during a recent interview with noted cinematographer Sunil Patel. “It’s Hindi film industry, and its Telugu film industry—that’s a great way of addressing it.”
In fact, RRR has now become the highest-grossing film ever in the Indian home markets of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (over $52 million) and the third highest-grossing film ever in all of India. For Rajamouli (Baahubali), he once again taps into the rich history of stories his family passed down to him over the years.
“From my childhood, as long as I can remember, we grew up on those stories. Whether it was our elders who were telling the stories, or whether I was reading from story books or novels or the old epics written in my language or in English. Right from childhood, that was imbibed into my system. So that’s the only kind of storytelling that really, really grips me and makes me dwell in those worlds, live with those characters.”