Films made with honesty are a rarity in Tollywood these days. But Tollywood is back with two genuine films in the past 2 weeks. After the sophisticated and subtle Panja which went beyond formula, Tollywood witnesses another genuine film in the name of Rajanna.
Rajanna to begin with is a no-pretentious film. It could have been completely centered around Rajanna explaining his heroics and could have easily been a biography of a patriot. But the narrative begins and ends with a girl called Mallamma. It is her journey through her village which is still under the shackles of landlords to Delhi to meet Prime Minister to explain the woes of her villagers. (The plot has been cleverly told to Media before the release in a smart move by Nagarjuna).
Even though the movie is directed by Vijayendra Prasad( Father of Rajamouli), the movie has Rajamouli stamp all over it. The first 1 hour of the movie about Mallamma is visual poetry. The songs by MM Keeravani are a delight and the mood is set pretty well. Nagarjuna should be appreciated to be a part of commercial movie in which he does not appear for almost an hour. To back such a project from Annapurna Studios is such a good thing for Tollywood.
The movie switches tone immediately after the arrival of Rajanna. Actually the setting is good, the mood has been created, everything is set in place but Rajanna just sails through the mood. He elevates the mood in certain sequences which are well executed but he does not take the audience through an emotion which the audience anticipate when they are watching a period film. It is very inappropriate to say Nagarjuna has done injustice to the character. He has given his career best performance in the song “veyira veyi”, he emotes through his eyes but the character is such a dynamic character and this film could have been on the ranks of Alluri Seetaramaraju had this character worked instead of just surviving through the film.
Rajanna misses out on being an epic film but it is surely a genuine attempt. The music is extrordinary(a big contender for National Award) and the child actress is simply amazing. Among other departments Cinematography is excellent. Action scenes conceived by SS Rajamouli are good but leave us in a sense of wanting for more. This might also be because they are a rehash of his earlier fights like Magadheera.
The whole idea of making the patriotic scenes work through action sequences is a draw back because partiotism is more about drama and the drama needs a proper graph. The writing team failed here because the story about Mallamma had a good start but the character of Rajanna started as a hero and the audience cannot connect with the character straightaway because they are not emotionally connected with the character and that is the reason his death evokes no response but audience feel connected with Mallamma when her dream of meeting Nehru is fulfilled.
Even a legend like NTR was scared to do a Alluri and such films work very rarely. The part of Mallamma is surely on the ranks of Osey Ramulamma and the Rajanna character has a lot of genuinity in it and it is this honesty which makes Rajanna worth a watch. Such honest and authentic films will surely change the course of Tollywood.
Such attempts should not be reviewed in terms of ratings but encouraged in terms of patronage.