Guna Sekhar’s Rudhramadevi (2015) Movie Review
Opened on October 9th, 2015.
Star Cast: Anushka Shetty, Allu Arjun, Rana Daggubati, Catherine Tresa, Nithya Menen, Vikramjeet Virk, Krishnam Raju, Aditya Menon, Aditi Chengappa, Hamsa Nandini, Ajay and Baba Sehgal
Directed by Guna Sekhar
Music Composed by Illaiyaraaja
Edited by A. Sreekar Prasad
Censor Certificate: UA & Runtime: 155 minutes
With a history of creating decent stories, mixed with good characters, Guna Shekar has become known or making some definitive films such as “Okkadu”, “Lathi”, “Ramayanam” and “Chudalianni Undi”. Many reviewers, including myelf regard him as one of the best in the business. Therefore, upon entering the theatre to see his new period drama “Rudhramadevi”, everyone had high hopes. Unfortunately film played out, it became more and more apparent that movie was never going to meet the expectations. Lets check out the brief review for more details.
RUDHRAMADEVI is a period drama graphing the early life and times of Rani Rudhramadevi, prominent Queen of Kakatiya. She was raised as a man Rudhradevudu from her puerility to secure the Kakatiya Empire from falling into foes hands. With the help of Minister Shiva Devaiyya (Prakash Raaj) and father Ganapathideva (Krishnam Raju), she excelled in her action skills by indulging in sword fight and horse riding. Her secret is kept secret for 25 years, before a spy Mandanika (Hamsa Nandini) reveals her true identity of Kakatiya alliances. From then Rudhramadevi gets caught up in the power struggle, issues with her courtiers, from the different empires, generals in her employ and sudden attack by Mahadeva Nayakudu (Vikramjeet). How did she save everyone from attacks? Was she successful in saving Kakathiya dynasty from falling? Did Gonna Ganna Reddy really hate Rudhramadevi? It forms the crux of the story line.
Anushka Shetty was very credible and appreciable as a royal fiery and a respectable woman. Hers is a dual character that of next to kin “Rudhradeva” and of powerful queen “Rudhramadevi”. She plays her dual role in her characteristic style and lends credibility to both the roles. Allu Arjun stayed true to his character. There weren’t really any extra unnecessary scenes with the sole purpose to further glorify his role. Rana Daggubati did a decent job in his limited role. Nithya Menon has a two bit presence, and her only task is to smile or look drab. Catherine Tresa did her bit well. The others in the cast Aditya Menon, Vikramjeeth, JP, Prakash Raaj, Aditi Chengappa and Suman are not too bad though nobody delivers a performance worth mentioning. Krishnam Raju was wasted in a short role, similarly Venu Madhav, Ajay, Vennela Kishore and Baba Sehagal comedy failed to tickle the funny bones. Veteran actress Ooha’s children Roshan (Chalukya Veerabadhrudu) and Medha (Rudramadevi) are promising in their roles. Megastar Chiranjeevi’s narration is one of the major asset to the film.
The story itself is compelling and because it is based on true story of Rani Rudhramadevi makes it all the more amazing.“Rudhramadevi” is one of those important true stories that needed to be told by someone other than Guna Sekhar. With its very preconception and narrow minded thinking it fails to liberate an inspirational female life story beyond their myopic views. What irritates you more is the pace at which the movie moves and that too without somewhere to arrive at. I wonder why director Guna Sekhar, who till date had scripted good films like Laathi, Okkadu, Chudalianni Undi, Ramayanam and Manoharam embarked on this venture in the first place. Its mostly the fans of Allu Arjun and Anushka who made it to the Benefit shows of this new release. To such audience yawning or hissing or even stertor a few times from the start of the film speaks for the trashiness of it all.
The main issue with the film is that Guna Sekhar, who himself scripted the film, bumbled in the script department itself. Even the dialogues were unbearable and silly at times. As of the direction the less said, the better. The director completely failed to highlight memorable moments from Rani Rudhramadevi’s rule and the struggle she went through to look and be like a man. One of the most important lesson for a film maker must learn is “Show the content, don’t tell”. What this actually means is that rather handling the viewer at every point the director wants to get across, the writer should let the details come out naturally as a part of the story. To illustrate with examples what sort of woman Rudhramadevi is, what did she do for Kakathiya kingdom? Rather telling the point through a voice over, let the viewer see the content for himself. With film being complete visual medium, this is not a kind of problem I was expecting from a period drama, unfortunately this was a biggest problem with “Rudhramadevi”.
By the way, there are even logic defying (not in a very good way) scenes at galore in “Rudhramadevi”. (Spoiler Alert) For instance, It’s not believable that “Rudhramadevi” tries to get cozy with “Chalukya” just to make him go behind Gonna Ganna Reddy (who is a friend); Orugallu region was coupled with water crisis, suddenly Rudhramadevi comes up with a rain harvesting plans, and here it starts raining cats & dogs; When Rudhramadevi’s true identity was revealed, she gets dressed in front of whole assembly; Shiva Devaiah was thrown into Crocodile Pond, but still he survives every possible obstacle and starts singing before Ekivara god; No one questions unseen girl (Rudhramadevi) as she roams in and around the palace… etc.
The cinematography Ajayan Vincent is really something to appreciate. The way he shot “Avuna Neevena Ne Vedhukutunna” song and lead characters introduction shots are fine. The music by Maestro Iiaiyaraaja appears to be hurriedly composed ad is eminently forgettable. Even the picturization of songs is not the mark. The movie appears to be very long around 158 minutes, could have been done a better editing (A Sreekar Prasad) job. The costumes are good. Both the ladies and gents wear are completely fitted out with Kakathiyan style from head to toe. Visual Effects are very poor and it spoils major sequences with it dull & dim effects. Art work deserves a special mention. There isn’t much to write home about the other departments. Production values of Gunaa Team Works is good.
At one point of the film a viewer turned back to his friend (beside me) and said, “Well film has too many flaws and lags”. And oh boy that sums it all up succinctly. Rudhramadevi has flaws in its pacing where a full hour of the film’s runtime occurs before we get to the major point and only minutes are spend on exciting moments like introducing and revealing Gonna Ganna Reddy’s character. More time is spend on Rani Rudhramadevi’s weird marriage, romantic angle than is spent on actually getting to the meat of the story. It even had acting, special effects, make up issues too. Rudhramadevi is a flawed film, feels sterile and hokey, the story of Rudhramadevi and her allies struggle to be relinquish deserves much more respectful telling.
Survi Review: 2/5 (Rated 0.5 more for bringing the story of Rani Rudhramadevi forefront)
1. Kakatiyas were first after Satavahanas to bring the entire Telugu area under on rule
2. Kakatiyas were outstanding rulers and they encouraged Trade and order.
3. Rudhramadevi marries Muktambha – This is one of the earliest same sex marriages in India.
4. Rani Rudhrama Devi ruled Kakatiya Dynasty from 1262-1295 (She was officially crowed in 1269 after her father’s death)
5. Rudhrama Devi at birth was named Rudradeva as if she were a son. (She was nevertheless designated as the Queen)
6. The world renowned Thousand Pillar Temple was built under the reign of Rani Rudrama Devi.
7. The Warangal Fort was built by Raja Ganapathi Deva and Rani Rudramma
8. Ambadeva have seemed to kill Rudramadevi in the year 1280 in Kayastha revolt, near chandupatla.
9. The next ruler was her grandson Prataparudra (1295 – 1323)
10. Word famous Muhammad Bin Tuglak was impressed with Prataparudra administration and made him sit on his Delhi thrown and honoured him in various ways.