Rating: 8/10 (Goosebumps Inducing Patriotic Entertainer)
Cast: Chiranjeevi, Amitabh Bachchan, Jagapathi Babu, Nayanthara, Kiccha Sudeep, Vijay Sethupathi, Tamannaah, Niharika, Anushka Shetty, Raghubabu, Pruthvi, Brahmaji, Ravi Kishan
Story: Parachuri Brothers
Screenplay-Direction: Surender Reddy
Producer: Ram Charan
Banner: Konidela Productions
Music: Amit Trivedi
Background music: Julius Packiam
Action: Greg Powell, Lee Whittaker & Ram-Laxman
Lyrics: Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry, Chandrabose & Anantha Sriram
Production Designer: Rajeevan Nambiar
Costumes: Sushmita Konidela, Anju Modi, Utthara Menon
Editor: A. Sreekar Prasad
Dialogues: Sai Madhav Burra
Chiranjeevi made a grand return in Khaidi No. 150 and scored a blockbuster on his comeback. Now he's back with his dream project, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, a story that rumors say has been in Tollywood for almost 13 years. With a massive star cast and produced on a massive budget of 270 crores, he entrusted his son Ram Charan to bring this movie to life and appointed Surender Reddy to execute it. Is this patriotic entertainer worth the hype? Let's find out in this review
Plot: Touted as the first freedom fighter of India, Sye Raa traces the journey and valour of Majjari Narasimha Reddy (Chiranjeevi) and the courage he instilled in people's heart in the fight for independence against the British in 1847.
Performances: It's safe to say that this is one of the best performances of Chiranjeevi's career. He is mesmeric as Narasimha Reddy and his eyes do half the work in this film. He is fierce, compassionate, and ruthless and he portrays all of the various shades needed for the character with the utmost conviction. His look seems odd at first but then we get used to it by the end of the movie. His performance in the climax is outstanding. As in every Chiranjeevi movie, it's about him through and through and Sye Raa is no different. Chiranjeevi shines bright and carries Sye Raa and delivers a performance that will be remembered for a long time in this genre. He is simply world class.
Amitabh Bachchan as Gosayyi Venkanna gets a decent role and makes the most it. It's a feast for movie lovers to see him and Chiru in the same frame. Two legends and class acts. Kiccha Sudeep gets a character with negative shades and delivers a very smooth and composed performance. He is one of the cooler characters in Sye Raa and is pretty much a badass. You wish there were more scenes between him and Chiru in the end.
The real surprise of the film is Tamannah as Lakshmi. She is excellent. Her role brings the required emotions and she does an outstanding job. She oozes elegance and her radiant beauty is on full display in Sye Raa. Watch out for her dance in the title song. She is breathtaking. The scenes between her and Chiru do look odd, but both of them are great performers that it covers up the age gap.
Vijay Sethupathi only comes in the 2nd half and one feels that his presence is merely there for the Tamil audience attraction. Otherwise, he is wasted with a total of 3 scenes, 2 of which feature dialogue.
Jagapathi Babu is very impressive as Veera Reddy and is responsible for the more emotional scenes towards the climax.
Ravi Kishan is ok as Basi Reddy.
Nayantara is good in her role and looks beautiful. The characterization is a bit off in the very beginning and seems silly, but comes full circle in the end. Her costumes are also outstanding.
Direction: The biggest doubt before the film was that if Surender Reddy would be able to handle the transition from stylish action movies to an epic type movie. And it's safe to say he passes with flying colors for the most part. The direction of the film is very good barring a few scenes here and there. He is able to effectively bring to life the story by the Parachuri Brothers. The action sequences are excellent and this probably stems from his past experience with action movies. He gets a solid output from his massive star cast and delivers some serious goosebumps moments throughout the film. Another massive thing for any movie to click are the emotions. And the emotions are bang on in this movie. You will probably feel hatred for the Britishers, sympathy for the farmers, and root for Sye Raa. It's a movie where you have a solid lead character and you want him to do well unlike a movie like Saaho where the characterization was very poor and you didn't care. The flaws would probably be over dramatization of the farmers scenes at times and towards the end, the film feels dragged and one feels it should have been more crisp. Overall, Surender Reddy does a fine job and aided by the amazing performance of Chiranjeevi and well handled portions throughout, it makes for solid viewing experience.
Technicalities: Music by Amit Trivedi is good. The title song is outstanding on screen. Perhaps the real hero of the film is Cinematographer Rathavelu garu. His work is OUTSTANDING in this movie. The visuals are too good to be true and each and every scene is so rich and grand. His visuals alone make the film worth a watch. This is perhaps the best work of his entire career. BGM by Julius Packham is phenomenal. The BGM is responsible for half of the movies goosebumps moments. You can feel the emotion behind the scene in each composition. Dialogues by Sai Madhav Burra are excellent. Luckily they are not in olden Telugu and can be understood by commoners and overseas audience as well. Editing by Sreekar Prasad is decent. The film drags in places but the movie never makes you feel bored or restless. Production Design by Rajeevan is World Class. The sets are impeccable and bring that grand and epic feel to the movie. Kudos to him for adding to the wonderful visual experience that we get. Costumes by Sushmitha Konidela, Anju Modi and Utthara Menon are amazing and really good keeping in mind the period of the film. Particularly the ones for Tamannah and Nayantara. The jewelry and saris chosen are excellent. Action Sequences by Greg Powell, Lee Whittaker & Ram-Laxman are very good. The fights add to the emotion and are integral to the plot as well. They are new to us in a way and despite their violent nature, the way Chiru pulls them off is effortless. Lastly, Production Values by Ram Charan are magnificent. Unlike Saaho, you can actually see the money spent on screen and Sye Raa is one of the most visually stunning movies that's ever been made in India.
+ Action Sequences
+ Music and BGM
- Over Dramatization at times
- Dragged End
- Britishers Telugu
Analysis and Final Take: It's safe to say that 2019 has been one of the worst years of this decade for Telugu movies in general. Barring F2 to an extent and Jersey, the year has not featured big films and haven't delivered at all. From Petta to Saaho, every single big film this year has been underwhelming.
At one point, Saaho seemed like a sureshot hit and SYe Raa seemed like a flop. About 1 month later, the situation is the opposite. Sye Raa got the chance to re-instill faith in big films that they can actually be good. And for the most part, it gets the job done and ends up being one of the better movies of the year and among the best.
The film starts off with the introduction of a famous Telugu actress whose name I won't spoil and she tells the deeds of Narasimha Reddy, the man who started the rebellion 10 years. Contrary to what the other review sites have said, the first half did not seem slow at all. It seems in the name of character building and story telling, that anything where a commercial element is not being shown, it seems boring to people which is quite bizarre. There's a farmers scene that is sure to induce goosebumps and all of these sequences leading upto the interval are goosebumps stuff and another level. The pre-interval fight is probably the best sequence of the film and the emotion and impact that it has is simply amazing.
The 2nd half starts to rev up things and gears into motion with Sye Raa's rebellion and plan. Tamannah has a sequence which is highly emotional and it works well. The film starts to drag and could be tighter towards the end in terms of twists. The climax is over the top yet emotional. But you wish it could have ended quicker and in a better manner.
The film does have it's flaws. The first would be all the scenes involving farmers. You will feel either one of two ways. You will either feel its artificial or you will connect with them. SInce independence movies always seem to have that one over the top uninhabited white racist character, Sye Raa has not 1, but two of them in Officers Jackson and Chochran, both serving as the antagonist for each half. It's also amazing that each and every British officers voice is covered up with Telugu dubbing for the sake of the audience. Now while we wish that Britishers were so fluent in Telugu, sometimes you wish just for logics sake, they would speak in English. I guess that's a cinematic liberty that every maker takes nowadays when making a movie like this. Lastly, the whole cinematic liberty of commercializing and glorifying Narasimha Reddy and showing him like a king is up for the individual to decide how they feel about that liberty as well. It varies from person to person.
Mainly, if the emotions connect, then you will like this movie. That's really how it goes for most movies. Despite the flaws tho, the movie works and makes for an entertaining watch.
Overall, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is a goosebumps inducing patriotic entertainer. Chiranjeevi's mesmeric performance and screen presence, world class cinematography and production design, a riveting background score, amazing action sequences, and core emotions that are well directed makes Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy one of the best Telugu movies of the year. If you are a die hard of Chiranjeevi, this movie is feast for you and it's still worth a watch for the common audience to watch the Megastar at his best and this patriotic story about the first freedom fighter.