We had movies which focused on pre-independence sufferings and how revolutionary leaders and freedom fighters emerged from the masses. Though Rajanna is somewhat similar, its central focus is on the post-independence slavery at Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh and how the Nizams and Zameendars ruled ruthlessly.
The director takes us to Nelakondapalli in Adilabad district where Independence seems a distant dream. People there lead a slave-like life under the rule of some merciless Richie richs. And we are introduced to a chase-run sequence where a young woman (Sneha) and her just-born girl, Mallamma (Baby Annie), are targeted by some jewel and silk laden men who are well armored.
The woman and child are said to be the family of one Rajanna (Nagarjuna). In an attempt to prevent Mallamma from being victimized, the young lady leaves the infant in a floating boat like thing nearby. Yes, in a typical filmy style. The woman is killed but the men are mad at the fact that Mallamma escaped. One old man who has witnessed all this takes the responsibility of the child.
Mallamma grows up cherishing the mother earth and its beauty and is unaware of the fact that she is the daughter of Rajanna, who is a demigod for people of Nelakondapalli.
The rest is about:
- Who is Rajanna?
- Will the villagers be free from the clutches of the rich?
The director had tried to focus on the degree of ruthlessness and few scenes were thought provoking and will even disturb you. Though in the first half you seem to connect with the sufferings of the villagers, the story takes few abrupt turns and it now focuses on the greatness of Rajanna. And here, the direction goes bad.
The scene when Mallamma leaves her village was especially directed in a terrible manner. And she then goes to New Delhi by walk! No, you don’t feel pity for her but for the director. Not that it is entirely impossible to go by walk, but it was not shown so effectively to get emotional for the child. The timing of the flashback was out of the place. And wait, I didn’t know that British can speak such a good Telugu. There is so much more to complain.
I found the SpiceJet ad during the interval to be more engaging where the bride-to-be blahs about Aurangabad, Haryana, Pune and more.
Nagarjuna was not the right choice for this role of a revolutionary singer. His body language isn’t in place and neither his facial expressions were as intense or fierce. The Telangana dialect was not for him. He should stick to playing roles like Manmadhudu or Boss and for this film; he should’ve been content wearing the producer’s hat.
Sneha’s role was limited and she did a reasonable job.
Baby Annie who played Mallamma was appreciable. The way she especially emoted in the first half was very good considering her age. Only she can bring audiences to the cinemas.
Mukesh Rishi again proved his versatility. Others like Pradeep Rawat, Ajay, Supreet and Ravi Kale were apt. Shweta Menon was a pleasure to watch in a negative role.
I actually loved the performances of junior artistes who appeared here and there. They even leave you teary eyed at times.
MM Keeravani‘s music was not as revolutionary or powerful as it is supposed to be. It was just okay.
Action sequences were laughable. It is sad to know that SS Rajamouli was behind them. Rajanna was an all in one Superman, Robot and what not? Even the Britishers were badly bashed by Rajanna and friends during the pre-independence period and that sequence looked like a stage drama. And you can notice that Nagarjuna was pretty tired bashing baddies one after the other.
Art, Cinematography and Costumes:
Art department is significantly responsible for this movie’s failure. Few sets were awkward and looked very artificial.
Costumes were good and were totally in sync. Nagarjuna’s costumes deserve a special mention. Cinematography was good in bits and pieces.
The title Mallamma would have been more apt for the movie. I actually tried to recall the story while writing this review. It was so impact less and was no less than a badly made stage drama. I will go with a 2 out of 5 for this good concept which failed because of poor execution.
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