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Sri Rama Rajyam Review

Sri Rama Rajyam
Deepa Garimella /
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
May be
Wait to rent it
Those who were rooting for Bapu win this one.

Sri Rama Rajyam is a remake of old-time classic Lava Kusa, and itself has the makings of a classic. The credit to this triumph goes to a man who could think of the whole rather than the sum of its parts. Wise move, that, sir.

The story of Sri Rama Rajyam is drawn from the Uttara Kanda of the Ramayana, which deals with the period after Lord Rama returns to Ayodhya after vanquishing Ravana in Lanka. All is well in the kingdom, until Rama hears of a washerman who doubts Sita's chastity. In fact, he has contempt for Rama taking back "a woman who has spent a year in another man's home".

Wishing to uphold the honour of his duty as a ruler, he banishes the pregnant Sita to the forest, where, in Sage Valmiki's ashram, she bears the twins Lava and Kusha.

This is not a happy story. It is a saga of grief: of Rama, the king torn between his sense of duty towards his kingdom and that towards his wife; and of Sita, the wronged but devoted wife. Further, this is also the story that Ramayana-critics and bra-burning feminists love to cry themselves hoarse about, demanding to know what the fuss over Rama is all about when he's merely an unjust husband just like "any other man".

Needless to say, Bapu has both the vision and the finesse to deal with this topic with the subtlety and sensitivity it deserves. For example, Rama's sense of remorse, when he sends his wife away to the forest without so much as telling her what went wrong, is explored with fitting detail here.

Ditto for other vital elements of the narrative. From Sita's unflinching devotion to her husband; Hanuman's helplessness over Sita's sorrow, and, simultaneously, his eagerness to serve her and keep her happy; to Lava and Kusa losing their regard for Rama after they hear of Sita's tragedy - they're all dealt with with immense dexterity.

The treatment of the story is all old-school, and the film succeeds in recreating divinity and devotion, without ever being over-the-top or exaggerated. We know several people who would look down upon any modern mythological film as blasphemy, but we'd like to urge them to give this one a watch. At least, to witness in this day and age, a movie so staunchly faithful to the classical that every frame gives away the discipline that went into its making.

Some of the charm of Sri Rama Rajyam lies in the star cast, all of whom seem to have actually had a good time putting the movie together. Notable of them all is Akkineni Nageswara Rao, who plays Valmiki, and whose beatific smile radiates so much goodwill it makes you believe that no one else could have played the character.

This is somewhat true for Nayantara as well, who should certainly mourn the end of her film career now - this is probably the most powerful role she's ever done, and she has pulled it off well. Her emotional scenes are quite potent, and move you into alternating states of mind - of admiring Sita as well as appreciating the actress.

The film has a hint of the Nandamuris' self-important gloating about how they're suited for important mythological roles. Balakrishna, however, is visibly aging. This may not be the problem, actually - Sri Rama Rajyam isn't about a young, dashing Rama as much as it is about a tired, contrite, aggrieved husband who pines for his loss. To his credit, Balakrishna displays the poise and restraint expected of a Lord Rama (thanks to the precedent set by you-know-who). The wrinkles and and tired eyes are a giveaway, though. Fact remains that, at the end of the day, he is certainly no NTR.

The women, led by K R Vijaya in Kausalya Devi's role, are all graceful. Srikanth, as Lakshmana, gets some heavy-duty emoting to do. Vindoo Dara Singh, as Hanuman, too.

Lava, Kusa and Bala Raju are played by immensely talented kids (the kid playing Bala Raju has also been seen in other movies) who're going to be treated like celebrities in the school circuit now. In fact, the kids in the ashram are all cute.

Brahmanandam as the washerman, Jhansi as his wife, Roja as Bhoodevi, Hema as Mandodari, Murali Mohan as King Janaka and Sudha as his wife all make brief appearances. Tollywood's moms and sisters appear as various well-dressed royal characters.

Ilayaraja's music is mellow and pleasing, with Shreya Ghoshal having sung several mellifluous numbers. The set design is impressive. Plenty of graphics have been used - not just in the "astra" sequences, but also in patching together the grandiose palace sets, and to show the frolicking animals in the ashram, and other sequences. The special effects aren't mind-blowing, but hey, if you're going to be complaining about them you're missing the point here.

Well worth a watch, and not just for the devoted. You know who we sorely miss? NTR. And Ramana.
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Sri Rama Rajyam (telugu) reviews
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  • Cast
    Nandamuri Balakrishna, Nayantara, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Srikanth, K R Vijaya, Vindoo Dara Singh, Roja, Brahmanandam, Jhansi, Sudha, Murali Mohan, Gourav, Dhanush Kumar
    1 user says this is wrong.
  • Music
    1 user says this is wrong.
  • Director
    1 user says this is wrong.
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
    1 user says this is wrong.
platso_588 on 18th Nov 2011, 3:03pm | Permalink
Excellent Movie to watch
1 - 14 OF 14 COMMENTS
Can watch again - Yes
Good for kids - Yes
Good for dates - Yes
Wait to rent it - No
Phaneendra Kumar Pappu on 5th Jan 2012, 12:31pm | Permalink
I was initially very skeptical about watching this film because of Balayya. Thanks that I decided the other way at least yesterday.

The background score is one of the best in recent times. The whole magic is created by the maestro Ilayaraja. The visuals are good. They can be better yet. The grand palace of Rama was beautiful and very royal. But, the Valmiki Ashrama and the forest to be precise are very bad.

It is but natural to compare this with Lavakusa. That movie was a great one because of the performances purely. Here, Nageswara Rao provided the star power more than the performance. The songs in the older version are far more better. I missed the heart touching feel of "E nimishaniki emi jaruguno" song. Overall, Nayanatara's performance is the only thing that can be compared with a victory to this version.

At the end, I have to say that this film is way better than the other films that are coming out these days. A must watch...

Pros: Music, Nayanatara, Nageswara Rao and some VFX.
Cons: VFX.
sweetu on 11th Dec 2011, 10:56pm | Permalink
A classic movie.....nayanathara acting superb .....ANR and NBK did their best.....songs are awesome.......screen play and direction are gud.......A worth watch film in this era......

Pros: Songs,performances,direction,settings,what not everything
Cons: very minor.....may be length of the movie
swathi prasad on 2nd Dec 2011, 5:18pm | Permalink
This is a highly morally and technically valued picture. All family members must watch it along with kids. We have to explain to our children about the values of Sri Rama, who always stuck to the truth and his word, and was a great son and also a ruler.

Pros: morals in the story, anr and nayanathara action,settings that describes about the then kings palaces, script, bapu direction ,balayya s abnormal performence
Cons: picture lenght
pradeep- on 24th Nov 2011, 1:44am | Permalink
well.. a nice watch ! !
i have mixed feelings.. which are hard to put in words..
may be i was looking for relevance to modern society ..
if the first half is made purely mythical and second half as social outlet.., it might miss lengthy depiction..!
may be it all we have .. it is definitely worth a watch once .. but not more than once please


i almost have less touch what screen play is, etc etc .. - no comments on those .. sorry

but this forum seem to be some play field as i noticed recently .. good lords .. so much transparency ..
anon_critic on 20th Nov 2011, 7:26pm | Permalink
This is a brilliant review and I agree mostly with the content. Movie had excellent visuals, good acting by most who matter, ANR was out of this world in his brief role. Balayya is being admired for showing restraint and being subtle in many sites, not sure what else he could have done, he is in fact a bit of a disappointment. One aspect which no site reported is the fact that Ilayaraja's music lacked Telugu nativity, a Keeravani or someone whose mother tongue was Telugu would have done better justice. Even the folk song had too much Tamilnadu flavor to it.

Pros: ANR, visuals, screenplay
Cons: Ilayaraja's tamil influence, Balayya
Chandramouli on 20th Nov 2011, 9:39am | Permalink
This is a bad movie. Kids are better off reading Amar Chitra Katha or the old movies. Except for ANR and Nayantara, no one else is acting. It seems more of an amateur school play that spent lot of money. The actors are constipated and trying too hard. There is no divine reason to take the viewers along. Bala Hanuman remains the same from the time Sita is pregnant to the time Lava-Kusa are older. A lot of money spent carelessly as no one checked quality of scenes.

Pros: Performance of ANR and Nayantara, opening titles, songs
Cons: Poor acting, inconsistent digital effects, careless narration, poor on technical and artistic fronts
bhushana on 19th Nov 2011, 9:04pm | Permalink
see with hearth.
jagadish on 19th Nov 2011, 1:45pm | Permalink
Nayantara done a greate job in Sitamma Character. Balayya is ok.
chandra on 19th Nov 2011, 12:08pm | Permalink
Wondeful movie. Only Bapu and Ramana can paint it so beautifully both in canvas and words. NTR is missed but he will be happy to see his done role is moulded by Bapu thru this.

I always wondered why a good movie like Annamayya or Ramadasu is not 100% fresh to ears. Sometimes thought it is Keeravani's self-expression in singing some of the songs, but, Ilayaraja showed how it should be done, so pleasant to hear even with most of the songs are sung by newcomers.

Must watch, don't miss as there will be none to come in future as Ramana is no more and bapu wouldn't attempt one without Ramana garu.

Pros: Poetry of taking
Cons: not taken in nagayya gari time
Ravi Kiran on 19th Nov 2011, 12:05pm | Permalink
Great Movie by Bapu and Ramana. This will be one of the best movies in Indian Films...No one else can make this movie other than Bapu and Ramana....Thanks to Ramana who made it in his end of the life...Otherwise we would have missed this oppertunity....Great job by Nayanatara.. Don't miss this movie.
platso_588 on 18th Nov 2011, 3:03pm | Permalink
Excellent Movie to watch
rao_55 on 18th Nov 2011, 1:02pm | Permalink
outstanding movie
Prithvi on 18th Nov 2011, 4:27am | Permalink
A masterpiece in every which way. People are going to watch it again and again. Kudos to Bapu-Ramana, Nayanataara, VFX team and Ilayaraja. Ilayaraja's music transport you into a different world altogether. This film has THE best background score we have every heard in an Indian film. Really wish Ilayaraja has composed for all such films in the recent past (Annamaya, SriRamadasu). This is by far the perfect film to come out from TFI in the last few decades.

Pros: Music, Screenplay, VFX, performances
Cons: None!
Phani Kumar C on 17th Nov 2011, 10:07pm | Permalink
Great Movie! Excellent work by the whole team involved in making the movie. We need more of such movies. Hope the young generation watches the movie in more numbers.

Pros: Screen play, Music, acting, special effects
Cons: None
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