Surender Reddy’s Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy (2019) Review
Movie Review: Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy
Star Cast: Chiranjeevi, Amitabh Bachchan, Vijay Sethupathi, Sudeep, Nayanthara, Tamannaah and Brahmaji
Cinematography by R Rathnavelu
Music Composed by Amit Trivedi
BGM by Julius Packiam
Written by Paruchuri Brothers
Directed by Surender Reddy
Censor Certificate: UA & Runtime: 170 Runtime
We should always respect our Legends in any field and I firmly believe that if not individuals, their achievements deserve respect over time. So, this is a piece written with great regards and respect to Megastar Chiranjeevi. No doubt he has put in big efforts, no doubt he did some stunts on his own and gave much much better performance than his last films. But did it all go in vain? Did he just put too much trust in someone who couldn’t really appreciate the original story and tried to add things that make no sense?
Well, the answer seems to be resounding, Yes. I am not a person, who tries to see only negative in every film and in every person. I have an optimistic side and with high-level expectations as a movie fan, watching the film. Even if I watched the film with no expectations, gaping holes in script and execution wouldn’t have missed my observation and that is my work. This movie is definitely a fan feast and aimed at big box office glory. So, if you think my analysis is not worthy of a read, please stop here.
You chose to continue, let’s DIVE IN.
Historical fiction is not a folklore film and the rules that work for both genres are different. Adding drama to real incidents is historical fiction and folklore is a fantasy. This movie aims at being a historical fiction but ends up as folklore. It aims at the glory of climbing an Everest but swims in the sewage water body at times with unnecessary elements killing the intensity of main incidents.
A history book is sufficient to know the history and a film needs structure, drama, and connection. This film has a structure on paper, drama on paper and connectivity, which may not be even on paper. To tell a tale, in a grand vision you need the conviction that your visuals will do justice to the story. They don’t have to be Wow factors for audiences but if they can be those factors and also serve the purpose in the story or bring alive the bygone era or give authenticity to proceedings, such grandeur is necessary. Here, unnecessary is the first word that comes to our mind. Again, fans who love to see their hero on the screen even in a regular film, will look at the visuals and appreciate the efforts put in by the team for their idol’s film but for a critic, it is essential to see if there is any necessity at all.
Tamannaah’s character and Nayanthara’s character don’t serve any purpose to the story that the makers set out to tell. The love stories of these two women with Narasimha Reddy are just there to trigger some emotional response and give fans stuff to see their idol in romantic situations. Such deviations are great in a regular commercial film but highly unwarranted in historical fiction. With a scene where Tamannaah sacrifices herself, or with a scene where Nayanthara tells her love for Narasimha Reddy, we can see that they are aimed at mass audiences to feel those moments than they significantly making any contribution to the story. In a film that tries to depict the human emotion of a King for his country and countrymen, these scenes just seem like deviations than additions. Had they contributed to the story; the impact would have been much higher. When there are facts, there is no need for extra drama. One can try and find drama within those incidents if they don’t want to use them as THEIR story, they don’t need to touch them and follow them as they are facts involving the said characters.
Mass masala way of storytelling is the best fit for films that don’t boast about being special or different. One needs to understand that these kinds of films have different auditoriums and if we exclude fans, others will be looking at the film for some facts. Even if he put up 100 disclaimers, they will think some or the other things are true for sure. Also, exaggeration is different from metaphor.
This film suffers due to disconnect from history, exaggeration of metaphors and regular mass treatment. Once again, fans will be happy with that. But for a writer, the difficult part is to create drama from known facts than inducing new elements for the sake of drama. They don’t sit well with the original drama in any case. In this film, while technical standards are high, Megastar gave a performance that will be remembered as his most heartfelt effort, still, subplots don’t weave a compelling story.
Each and every subplot just looks like an attempt on paper to win hearts genuinely but the same vigor is missing on screen. A love story subplot, a treachery subplot, another known warrior joining the hero subplot, a tribe woman getting married and being asked to sleep with him by an English officer, all these don’t add up to the motive of the hero. When he is already thinking about rebellion and looking just for excuses to unite everyone and fight against the British, his sacrifices and problems should be in convincing others. When they all support him and are just afraid to join him, then the Nossam Fort war episode is enough for the story to go forward with scenes of farmers and Narasimha Reddy earning their trust. In a 3-hour long movie, people want the main story and every subplot stitching towards the hero being a scare to villains, so much so that they made his killing a statement. If a script just tries to elevate him with such weak subplots and leave his work and contribution to simple montages, what story are we really watching?
Shankara Sastry didn’t have to prove that he is a loving husband and that aspect is never touched in the movie. Alluri Seetharamaraju never had to dance with everyone or laugh at every moment, so he is shown like a somber yogi, he doesn’t smile for himself ever. Velu Nayakar from Nayagan never dances even though Kamal Hassan is a great dancer. Box office is important but cannot be the only dominant factor in a film and exaggerations at times end up as mockery.
Sans them and sans an unrealistic approach even with fiction, this movie could have been Megastar’s another testimony for his acting skills that he seldom uses in regular films as commercial factors dominate and he is master of them. The real fun would have been making him stretch his proven acting talents some more with an even tighter screenplay, better execution, and grandeur, subplots that are absolutely needed. A good attempt, an attempt, and an achievement lie so close to each other that margins are very tiny. In Sye Raa’s case, margins blurred and we can see that some shots are absolute achievements on-screen while some remain at the good attempt and many remain at attempt level. Some more hit the bottom pits of unnecessary too. The film has the ambition of an ant but mind of a snake. Hence, it lies lazily at every corner after crawling for 5 mins.