The strength of ‘RRR’ is its message

Director S.S. Rajamouli balances many plot points at once to create a truly epic experience.


Courtesy of Wiki

“RRR” expertly balances many different threads.

Ally Werstler, Staff Writer

“RRR” is one of the most wild movies I have ever seen — which is saying something from a person who recently watched “Cocaine Bear.” This film has romance, action, dancing and a banger song. Though seemingly doomed from an oversaturation of topics, “RRR” does not suffer this fate. It’s honestly a miracle how director S.S. Rajamouli was able to balance so many plot points at once to create a truly epic experience. 

Starring Ram Charan and N.T. Rama Rao, Jr. as two best friends who fight for India’s independence during 1920s British colonialism, this dynamic duo is surely going to be remembered as one of film’s most iconic pairs for decades to come. The chemistry between the two is phenomenal, as their in-sync choreography, emotional exchanges and witty banter make it seem like they have known each other for their entire lives. Essentially, these two actors do a perfect acting job, but I really can’t say the same about the white actors in “RRR.” 

These people were comically bad at acting. At times, I felt like I was watching an SNL skit portraying hokey British people saying stereotypical English sayings. It was truly hysterical. Even Jenny, the main white woman played by Olivia Morris, is not convincing —her acting is on par with that of a high school student. To be fair, these actors did not have the greatest dialogue to work with, but they could have at least made their scenes more believable with better acting. 

With regard to the female characters of “RRR,” they have zero agency. I understand that this movie is primarily about two male best friends and their action-filled journey, but if you’re going to have women in a movie, at least give them some characterization. Jenny and the other main female Sita, portrayed by Alia Bhatt, strictly follow the caring and beautiful love interest trope. Although their relationships with the two main men are entertaining, they feel underdeveloped due to the female’s one-dimensional personas. I’m not saying that these women need to have a grand scene showing how cool they are like a cringey Marvel movie — I’m just asking for some female agency. Is that too much to ask for?

Thankfully, the epic action of “RRR” largely makes up for the white actors’ corny acting and the lack of female agency. Does the film have explosions? Yes. What about shootouts? Definitely. Okay, but does it have a scene where a man on a motorcycle teams up with a man riding a horse to save a boy from an explosion? Absolutely. I do not want to get into spoiler territory, but there is an insane scene where a bunch of animals go haywire. This moment also contains the portrayal of the most violent deer ever known to CGI. It’s a shame that these CGI animals are not entirely lifelike, but at least it’s still one hell of a scene. The other action scenes are also completely unrealistic, but extremely entertaining. Who knew one man could jump two hundred feet off of a barrel and defeat a giant mob of angry protesters? I sure didn’t, but “RRR” proved me wrong. It’s amazing how the nonstop action of “RRR” never gets old, as it kept me on the edge of my seat for its entire runtime. 

The sheer production of “RRR” is simply spectacular, as every scene is coupled with beautiful props that elevate the authenticity of the film. I cannot imagine the action and musical scene budgets, as each and every moment is always filled with multiple things to watch. For example, in the aforementioned crazy animal scene, a large array of species tear British soldiers to shreds, fireworks are shot off, guns are blazing and so much more. Due to the scene’s grandiose nature, the viewer can identify this bit as an impactful moment for the characters. Using your scenes to elevate the stakes of the movie while also adding complexity to the character’s developments is movie-making 101, and “RRR” knocks this out of the park.

My favorite part of “RRR” is not the acting or the action — it’s the Oscar-awarded song “Naatu Naatu.” To quote my article “2023 Oscars Dubs and Snubs,” “Every time I hear ‘Naatu Naatu’ I feel the sudden urge to have myself a little dance party.” If such praise weren’t enough, this scene’s aesthetics are so well done — from the costuming to the choreography, this is definitely my most beloved moment in the film. The director’s ability to perfectly coordinate the dancers is so impressive, especially in relation to a moment when the dancing is performed in a sand pit. Huge props to the dancers who were able to hop on one foot in heels and Oxfords in a literal pit of dirt for four minutes. If you’re not going to watch the entirety of this three-hour-and-seven-minute long epic, the least you could do is watch the “Naatu Naatu” musical number on YouTube. 

Although not nearly historically accurate, “RRR” still presents a different perspective to British colonialism that shows Indian agency against apartheid rule. The struggle for Indian independence is masterfully shown, as you are constantly and painfully reminded of the West’s psychological and physical racism against these natives. Simply put, it’s inspiring to see Indian storytellers using film to reclaim their history. At the end of the day, “RRR” is about brotherhood and the fight for freedom, and I think that that’s pretty cool. 

Final Score: 9/10