Movie: Sye Raa
Banner: Konidela Production
Cast: Megastar Chiranjeevi, Amitabh Bachchan, Jagapathi Babu, Nayanthara, Anushka (guest role), Kiccha Sudeep, Vijay Sethupathi, Tamannaah, Niharika Brahmaji, and others
Story: Paruchuri Brothers
Dialogues: Sai Madhav Burra
Music Director: Amit Trivedi
Editor: A Sreekar Prasad
Production Design: Rajeevan Nambiar
Produced by: Ram Charan
Screenplay and directed by: Surender Reddy
Release Date: October 2, 2019
The much-awaited magnum opus of Megastar Chiranjeevi “Sye Raa” has finally hit the silver screens today. It is the only film after “Saaho” that generated a frenzy among the audiences all over the country.
And like “Saaho,” this film has also been dubbed into multiple languages and the film makers have succeeded in giving it a huge hype in all regions in India and the USA.
Let’s find out whether the film has lived up to all the hype and craze.
Majjari Narasimha Reddy (Chiranjeevi) from Uyyalawada is a Palegar, a feudal lord with territorial administrative and military powers in Rayalaseema region. He has control over several villages under his territory.
He first revolts against the British for the agrarian tax system imposed by them. Then he brings unity among the Palegars.
Even when their region facing acute drought, the British rulers force the farmers to either pay the tax or surrender their lands to them.
And Narasimha Reddy emerges as a fulcrum to lead a rebellion with the help of farmers. How he created a Praja Yuddham in 1847 against the British and became an inspiration to Jhansi Lakshmi Bai who led the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 forms the rest of the story.
Megastar Chiranjeevi leads the script from beginning to the end with his stunning performance and with a charismatic presence. At his age, Chiranjeevi has put in his best effort to make us believe him as a warrior. His great dialogue delivery and his stature make forget about the limitations of his age. This ranks one of the best performances in his illustrious career.
Since the film is completely focused on Chiranjeevi, other characters have taken a backseat. Besides Chiranjeevi, only two actors who leave some impact on the audiences are: Amitabh Bachchan as Guru Gosayi Venkanna and Tamannah as his first love.
Nayanthara as the protagonist’s wife has a limited runtime. She adds nothing much to the story except being a weepy character. Jagapathi Babu makes an impact in the end. Sudeep and Vijay Sethupathi are there for extra mileage at the box-office.
The film also joins the list of Telugu movies that have been mounted on a large scale. The making standards are superior in their own right. Cinematography and production design are top-class. Rathnavelu has handled the camera effectively. The styling (costumes) have also added effect. Action stunts in the first half are terrific.
Dialogues are good in the episodes of ‘Neeku Enduku Kattalira Sistu’ before the interval and at the climax portions.
Of the two songs composed by Amit Trivedi, only ‘Sye Raa’ is catchy and effective on the screen. Julius’s background score is perfect.
Megastar Chiranjeevi in the title role
Dull portions at many occasions
Other stars relegated to minor roles
“Sye Raa” is a dream project for Megastar Chiranjeevi. Ever since he heard the life story of Narasimha Reddy from Paruchuri Brothers fifteen years ago, he has been contemplating making it a reality and his dream has finally been fulfilled thanks to his producer son Ram Charan as he pumped nearly Rs 200 crore in this project.
Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy led a rebellion against the British from a village in Kurnool in the 1840s. Although he is considered to be one of the first-generation freedom warriors in India who fought against the British, his name was prominently not featured in history books.
It is mentioned that he was at the forefront of the uprising in the Renadu region in 1840 and created an army of people. Narasimha Reddy was a forgotten hero. This film has captured all aspects of his life but in a cinematic way.
Mounted on a big scale, ‘Sye Raa’ also followed the template of films made on freedom warriors.
Beginning with the voiceover of Pawan Kalyan explaining the freedom struggle of India, the film takes the liberty of telling us that Jhansi Lakshmi Bai took the inspiration from Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy’s life.
Thus, the story of Narasimha Reddy unfolds with the scenes of Gosayi Venkanna training the young Narasimha Reddy ready to fight for freedom, etc.
The usual scenes of establishing various virtues of the protagonist and a love story with Tamannah occupy much of the runtime in the beginning.
There is also a sequence of a stampede of bulls much like in ‘Baahubali 2’. Such scenes have been incorporated to showcase the heroism of Chiranjeevi.
However, the scenes in the first hour are a huge problem. The film comes into the groove when Narasimha Reddy confronts a British official declaring that he and his people would not pay the taxes to the presidency. This leads to the first major attack on the treasury of Coilkuntla. This sequence is shot superbly. The pre-interval sequences and the interval bang are handled quite effectively.
Post-interval, the film comes to the main point of how Palegars are united and how Narasimha Reddy builds an army of his own consisting of villagers and farmers and leads the battle.
There are a series of battles and also backstabbing acts. Though a bit lengthy, the second half is more engaging and the emotional climax also leaves us in an emotional state.
The film mostly focused on war sequences and patriotic scenes which are handled superbly by director Surender Reddy.
But it completely falters in scenes depicting family sentiment, romantic thread and also in a few other sequences. Many scenes are pretty passive and lack the required impact of a patriotic film.
Also, the film projects Narasimha Reddy as if he possessed a battalion of the army to take the British authorities.
In reality, a Palegar was just a ruler of 50 or 60 villages. It was reported in history that he created an army with the villagers, but the war sequences are shot in such a way that two kings are fighting with each other.
On the whole, “Sye Raa” makes an engaging watch with a terrific and emotional climax, superior making standards and has many commercial elements despite over the top scenes and lengthy runtime.
Also, this is a story of a freedom warrior of our land that was largely suppressed in the pages of history. Should be commended for this reason for bringing to the screen the story of an unsung hero.
Bottom-line: An Untold Story of Unsung Hero