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Syeraa Narasimha Reddy Review

Syeraa Narasimha Reddy
Josh / fullhyd.com
EDITOR RATING
6.0
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
7.0
4.0
7.0
7.0
Suggestions
Can watch again
No
Good for kids
No
Good for dates
No
Wait to rent it
Yes
Majjari Narasimha Reddy was a Polygar, one among over sixty Polygars in the districts ceded to the British by the Nizam. The Polygars were like Zamindars who owned some villages and were the contact point of the Nizam for the tax collection of those villages. When the British, the new overlords, implemented the Ryotwari system, wherein the land tiller was directly approached to pay his taxes, the Polygars faced a loss of purpose (and income) and had to eke it out on the pension the British gave them.

Even though the Ryotwari system did away with the middlemen, the peasants were in fact worse off due to excessive and relentless taxation, even in the face of drought. Narasimha Reddy, too, was particularly humiliated when his measly pension of eleven rupees was discontinued because of an inheritance clause. In this context, as the people too came together to oppose the British, he became the figurehead of revolt. (It's a more complicated system with Kattubadi Inams among others, but do you really enjoy a pedantic review?)

With a 5,000-strong force, Narasimha Reddy attacked the treasury of Koyilkuntla, killed a forest ranger and a Tahsildar in various skirmishes, rescued his wife and son from the clutches of the British, and lived many a day in the forests fighting the British with everything he had. But eventually he got brutally executed in front of a crowd of thousands. His head was hung there for thirty years to serve as an example to any potential rebels. Fittingly, though, his example inspired many in the coming years. Including Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi.

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is a film which is apparently based on the earlier mentioned Polygar turned rebel. The 'apparently' is because if, by some fantastic temporal telepathy, we show a muted version of this film to the actual Majjari Narasimha Reddy, he would never recognise it as his own story. This film is about a man who can hold his breath underwater for record-breaking durations. It's about a man who can pull heads off bodies like they were corks off champagne bottles. It's about a man who can jump out of the very throes of death and continue to fight like it was a mere scratch.

This film here, it's about Chiranjeevi.

Chiranjeevi made his day in the sun with his infectious comedic charm, his wondrous flexibility in dance movement, and his relatability to the working class masses. But Sye Raa has no use for his comic talent, because Narasimha Reddy is a serious guy. Nor does the movie utilise his dancing talent, because it's just not that kind of movie. And he's clearly playing a version of a feudal lord - so relatibility with the working class masses can go take a hike.

The film, then, is aimed at the fan. The fan, you'll remember, is willing to forgive and forget anything and everything as long as their star is delivered unto them. And Sye Raa delivers the star. He is actively mythologised. He is a ready deliverer of justice (sometimes too ready - he's always around the corner to save the day). He jumps, swerves, and kills with cutting edge world class wire-fu stunts. And being the good actor that he is, he makes you feel a lump in the throat whenever the film asks him of it. Sye Raa is the best Chiranjeevi vehicle since Tagore. Remember? That was 16 years ago. If you haven't lost interest in him in 16 years, then you will find Sye Raa a total hoot.

You may also find the film to your satisfaction if you enjoy your frequent dose of 70mm nationalism. Sye Raa is replete with pronouncements on love for the country and duty for the nation and Bharat Maata ki Jais. It doesn't matter that the very notion of Bharat Maata came up in a play by Bankim Chandra Chattarjee in 1874, some 30 years after Reddy's death. The heart wants what it wants. Particularly when the heart wants to see a bunch of white people in red coats being impaled by desi swords.

Now, then, if you are neither too nostalgic about our lead actor nor too keen on tripping on anachronistic patriotism, you might be interested in the aspects of filmmaking and see why we feel sorry for the director.

Surender Reddy who was happily making attractive potboilers should have ideally gone on to follow up Kick 2 with Kick 3, or Race Gurram with Betting Kodi. For a man who fills his films with masala staples like logicless twists and unhinged comedy, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is practically Attenborough's Gandhi. And Surender Reddy struggles to make it work.

We are not saying he's incompetent. We enjoyed Race Gurram as much as the next guy. We're only remarking on how Surender Reddy's best credentials lie in making a film incredibly entertaining and holding you to your seat at whatever cost it takes. If you remember Posani gasping in Race Gurram "Elaa avuthaavu raaja policeu, logic lekunda?", you'll see logic is the high cost Reddy pays for making a film entertaining.

And now he's hired to make this film which has no duets, no comedy tracks, no tremendous twists, not even basic light-heartedness. The film is an inevitable tragedy, unless you decide to make a Tarantinoesque change of history where Chiranjeevi's character kills all the British and rules all Telugu People forever (oh, the dream). This seriousness and tragic ending is evidently uncharted territory for Surender Reddy. So he does the diligent directorial duty but barely manages to get his own madness into the film.

Reddy gets good work done with Rathnavelu's visuals (sometimes enhanced and sometimes ruined by sticky CGI) and Rajeevan Nambiar's spellbinding production design. Julius Packiam's score aims at the higher notes too frequently but Amit Trivedi's songs are rousing. Above all, there is that crazy action choreography by Greg Powell, Lee Whittaker and Ram-Laxman.

With all that diligence, he does put together some great moments reminding us that he has got craft after all. You are moved by Rohini's scene where you learn about her kid stealing. Jagapathi Babu gets a nice tracking shot after he leaves his son for dead. Tamannaah gets the best of these moments in her aesthetically shot final scene. There is always the next slo-mo Chiranjeevi shot round the corner. So every now and then you have something to be interested in, but Surender Reddy is at a loss for how to put it all together as one piece.

He gets his writers (Sai Madhav Burra and Paruchuri brothers) to throw in sub-plot after sub-plot. Some work and some don't. Even if they all worked independently, these disparate sub-plots still needed a weave at least as lovely as Chiranjeevi's wavy wig. But no, the sub-plots sit next to each other like strangers in a crowded city bus. The film, even at 171 minutes, is indeed crowded, and Sreekar Prasad seems almost unaware. The editing is so weird that there's a strange shot where Amitabh Bachchan simply materialises in a frame out of the damn blue.

The dislaimers loudly and lengthily declare that this film is not a biopic. Did Surender Reddy ever wonder, then, why he had to dig up a forgotten rebel and then bury him under fresh fiction? Did he wonder why his gut tells him to make people laugh but he's working so hard to make people cry? At some point in his association with this strange project, we wonder if he stared into a mirror and mumbled, "Why raa, Surender Reddy?"
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SYERAA NARASIMHA REDDY SNAPSHOT
Syeraa Narasimha Reddy (telugu) reviews
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TOP COMMENT
Raj on 4th Oct 2019, 12:15am | Permalink
Not at all, my friend.

Chiranjeevi is one of the greatest actors and a performer of Tollywood and a megastar, where telugu cinema had only two of them.. NTR, until early 1980's and then its all Chiranjeevi since 1983. Whoever has seen his movies in 80s would always appreciate him. He is a great actor. But then later, after reaching a demi god status.. he forgot to pick up really good stories and none can debate that he pulled out hits in 90s just by his star status and not content (study and speak). In 2000s.. all his hits were remakes. Still, he is great actor and performer, than a star (I strongly emphasize).

Here, I felt truly sorry for picking up this story and more so for picking up a stunt choreographer-DND movies director for this huge venture.

Ram Charan is one other person in Tollywood I respect, just for cool and no airs. He knows his limits and merits. Doesnt bother for unnecessary popularity. He made a clear identity as a nice person here. Even though a megastar kid.. he never miused it (may be, he used like any one does initially). But he made a wrong decision again with this story and more so with picking up this stunt choreographer-DND movies director for such a huge budget movie.

Now.. you may have understood by now that my real problem is.. content, execution and direction. I am not a star or heroes fan. I have said all that for the poor director. See all surender reddy's movies since his first movie at some 15 years and then analyse my point. Is he any worth a director to be entrusted this high profile and high budget movie?

The answer came when before the movie was released.. inviting SS Rajamouli to edit or cut and crisp or.. do what after the movie was finished shooting?? It was clear.

Thats why, I say and stand by my words about surender reddy.. he's a stunt choreographer and a DND movie enforcer but not a good director at all.

A movie is not just for entertainment.. it must have some kind of sense, within its story premise. Else.. its a waste of an effort.
7
0
SYERAA NARASIMHA REDDY USER REVIEWS
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USER RATING
2.0
2 USERS
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
NA
NA
NA
NA
Can watch again - NA
Good for kids - NA
Good for dates - NA
Wait to rent it - NA
Sriram on 8th Oct 2019, 1:35am | Permalink
Oh josh... your wit is inimitable dude :-) "Why raa, Surender Reddy?" ... I literally fell out of my chair LOL for this :-D, also I read/imagined this dialogue more like the "tamilian speaking telugu" Aandavale style and it felt even hilarious :-)

I am in a far off land, could not see the movie so I have no comment to offer about the movie as such, but in general WOM I heard was a bit better than the review may be because people got connected to missing page of history than the actual movie itself.

BTW Don't you think you should plan to do some standup? :) Let me know I would definitely visit you there...:)

Cheers
Sriram
Josh on 8th Oct 2019, 12:57pm | Permalink
Thanks, Sriram :) I'll remember to inform here if I venture into Standup someday.

I think Syeraa is a hit for the similar reasons as Joker. Both are bad films which sell on the strength of people's admiration for the star and the character the star plays. More of the former with Syeraa and more of the latter with Joker. Same cocktail but different proportions.
Danny on 9th Oct 2019, 1:14am | Permalink
Hmm.. josh.. you are a star reviewer, so are you living like these superstar actors or else? Why dont you acknowledge unless your name is mentioned or you are praised? Thats what is fandom and stardom.. haha. But you are an excellent reviewer.
Josh on 9th Oct 2019, 8:06pm | Permalink
Oh boy, Danny.

If you are talking about my not taking part in the lengthy debate in this comments thread, that's because I found it surreal that both people were called Raj. I really didn't know how to refer to them independently. I found it funny to have to call them Raj1 and Raj2. Worse, I kept getting silly jokes involving Raj Raj Raj Chola :D So I decided I'll keep out of it.

Glad you are liking the reviews :)
Kanye on 6th Oct 2019, 7:04pm | Permalink
There is already a Pandem Kodi btw lol.

I thought the movie was good. Just good. The one thing that really bothered me was why they made this dude an invincible, celestial being. Rajamouli's reasoning for the demigod strength of the characters in Baahubali was that Mahishmati was a kingdom set in the time period of the Mahabharata. But where's the reasoning for why this dude is an Indian samurai idk.

Chiranjeevi did his thing well. Amitabh Bachchan sir was grossly underused. As was Nayantara, Vijay Sethupathi, and 95% of the cast. The only standout roles were Kicha Sudeep and Tamannaah. It took me by surprise that their characters had an arc and development because it just seemed to be a star vehicle at first.

But what's up with the EDITING? It was TERRIBLE.
RamV on 3rd Oct 2019, 10:35pm | Permalink
Josh,
I have been enjoying your reviews for a while, and this one is a whopper. You have an artful turn of phrase, and a talent for metaphors.
As for the movie, I found it to be the (unfortunately) all too common vehicle for deifying the "hero", whipping up fan fervor and raking in the moolah.
Keep writing! Hopefully, you will find the fame and success you well deserve.
Ram
RATING
2
Josh on 4th Oct 2019, 11:23am | Permalink
Thanks so much, Ram :)
Raj on 3rd Oct 2019, 2:53pm | Permalink
Hahaha... excellent review Josh.
After seeing only one film "Ashok", I did understand that the highly-talented Surender Reddy, is more a stunt choreographer than a director. What I could never understand is.. how Ram charan trusted this director for such a huge budget film which however has no proper story (this director doesnt bother much about the story at all but a master of DND movies).

The outcome is an utter flop but we will see all the people from all the Indianwoods telling us that this is indeed the greatest film in Chiranjeevi's life and praising everyone associated with this movie and specially the hero, producer and the DND brand movies director.

Well scripted and aptly executed content is the main protagonist of a movie and not stars or stunts or CGI or huge sets or simply big budget buzz or .... hmm. Yet, they will not learn.

Note: Just in case, if anyone doesnt know the acronym of DND, mark it please 'Dimaag Nikaalke Dekh'.. lol.
Raj on 3rd Oct 2019, 4:45pm | Permalink
"Outcome is an utter flop?" I am neither a die hard fan nor i would take sides. Movies are for entertainment and we should leave them at that. This comment clearly shows your hatred for "the hero, producer and the DND brand movies director "as you put. I guess you were waiting for THIS review (by JOSH) to vent out.
Raj on 4th Oct 2019, 12:15am | Permalink
Not at all, my friend.

Chiranjeevi is one of the greatest actors and a performer of Tollywood and a megastar, where telugu cinema had only two of them.. NTR, until early 1980's and then its all Chiranjeevi since 1983. Whoever has seen his movies in 80s would always appreciate him. He is a great actor. But then later, after reaching a demi god status.. he forgot to pick up really good stories and none can debate that he pulled out hits in 90s just by his star status and not content (study and speak). In 2000s.. all his hits were remakes. Still, he is great actor and performer, than a star (I strongly emphasize).

Here, I felt truly sorry for picking up this story and more so for picking up a stunt choreographer-DND movies director for this huge venture.

Ram Charan is one other person in Tollywood I respect, just for cool and no airs. He knows his limits and merits. Doesnt bother for unnecessary popularity. He made a clear identity as a nice person here. Even though a megastar kid.. he never miused it (may be, he used like any one does initially). But he made a wrong decision again with this story and more so with picking up this stunt choreographer-DND movies director for such a huge budget movie.

Now.. you may have understood by now that my real problem is.. content, execution and direction. I am not a star or heroes fan. I have said all that for the poor director. See all surender reddy's movies since his first movie at some 15 years and then analyse my point. Is he any worth a director to be entrusted this high profile and high budget movie?

The answer came when before the movie was released.. inviting SS Rajamouli to edit or cut and crisp or.. do what after the movie was finished shooting?? It was clear.

Thats why, I say and stand by my words about surender reddy.. he's a stunt choreographer and a DND movie enforcer but not a good director at all.

A movie is not just for entertainment.. it must have some kind of sense, within its story premise. Else.. its a waste of an effort.
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