Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy movie review: Chiranjeevi delivers epic tale of an unsung hero
Film: Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy
Director: Surender Reddy
Cast: Chiranjeevi, Nayanthara, Amitabh Bachchan, Tamannaah Bhatia, Vijay Sethupathi, Sudeep and Jagapathi Babu
If Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy happens to be Chiranjeevi’s last film, it would be the best send-off he could have asked for. However, as he’s in no mood to hang his boots, the discussion about his retirement can wait. It’s been the star’s lifelong desire to be part of a period drama and Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, the epic story of Kurnool-based freedom fighter Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy, couldn’t have come at a better time. It not only fulfils Chiranjeevi’s wish, but gives him an opportunity to unleash the kind of energy in performance we haven’t witnessed before.
Watch the Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy trailer here:
Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy opens in 1857 when soldiers of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi (Anushka Shetty), down on luck and outnumbered by the British army, are contemplating surrendering the next morning. To awaken their hidden strength and make them fight with valour, she starts narrating the story of Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy (Chiranjeevi) and how he fought against the British fearlessly and struck fear in their hearts, paving way for the first war for independent India.
As a young boy, Narasimha Reddy is told by his guru Gosaayi Venkanna (Amitabh Bachchan) that if he wants to defeat the British, then his mind should become his weapon. He’s told that when it comes to war, winning is more important than living or dying. As years pass by, we see Narasimha Reddy transform into a warrior. We’re told that he can meditate underwater and quite early on we see him driving away a pack of bulls running amok and stop them from falling off a cliff. It’s a story that has the right amount of machismo and patriotism that’s effectively complemented by Chiranjeevi’s age-defying, unmatchable screen presence.
The film doesn’t disappoint in terms of scale and living up to the hype. At the same time, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is no Baahubali, but it’s still a film that accomplishes a lot more than anyone could imagine, and a lot of credit for that must go to Chiranjeevi, who is fantastic in the titular character. The film relies heavily on a big war sequence in the second half but unfortunately it lacks finesse and ends up as a stretch that could’ve been so much better. Amidst all this, when the focus remains on Chiranjeevi and his heroism, you’re amazed by the sheer energy he brings to the character at his age.
On the action front, the film’s tone is inconsistent and that’s maybe because of the fact that multiple action choreographers worked on the project and their styles clashed. A pre-interval action sequence stands out and easily works as one of the best scenes of the film. Nevertheless, the film scores high on emotions and drama which get even more elevated by the performances, especially of Chiranjeevi, who makes you root for his character in every frame.
Watch the making of Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy here:
The writing isn’t up to the mark but the makers, going by what’s been offered to the audience, were clear about what they’ve set out to make and deliver quite comfortably. Among the supporting cast, Tamannaah Bhatia gets a meaty part and quietly walks away with a mature performance. Anushka Shetty as Rani Jhansi and Nayanthara as Chiranjeevi’s wife don’t quite have much to do but still make their presence felt. Sudeep and Vijay Sethupathi have interesting roles that deserved more screen time. Amitabh Bachchan is aptly cast in the role of Chiranjeevi’s mentor and it’s a character that makes a viewer truly understand Narasimha Reddy.
Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy has some jagged edges and in the hands of, say, a Rajamouli, it would’ve been a far better film. Surender Reddy may not have done a great job in handling the subject but he succeeds in making it accessible to the masses, and in the process, delivers a film that scores high on emotions and drama.
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