Starring  N. T. Rama Rao Jr. , Ram Charan

Written & Directed by S S Rajamouli

Rating: ****

There is nothing in RRR that is not  massively massy. Rajamouli’s  eye for  spectacle is  as unerring as the arrows that Ram Charan playing a character called , you guessed it, Ram shoots dressed up as, yes that’s right,  Lord Rama.

But that’s a good  2 hours and 45 minutes after the film’s wondrous whirligig has  started.

RRR is three hours of non-stop  hecticity.  Rajamouli wants  every frame to  exhale  a breath of  flushed  air. It’s all about size. And those who think otherwise  are not familiar with the Rajamouli  school of  thought.His cinematic vision is  many sizes larger than what an average blockbuster builder of Bollywood imagines to be epic in scope.

There are  many extraordinary action sequences  in RRR. Come to think of it , RRR is   short of  drama and emotions. Except for a potentially heartrending sequence at the preamble when a  little  tribal girl is  snatched  away  by  a villainous British  couple who, according to the  sporadic voiceover which comes and goes lazily,think they can take whatever  catches their fancy.

Barring a pretty  lass named Jenny(Olivia  Morris)  who takes a fancy to one of the heroes,  all the Britishers are  potential  hellraisers and fiends with one  of them barking about the  “Brown rubbish”.

Well, it takes white trash  to recognize  rubbish.

Miraculously the girl Malli survives  all the  brutal  hijinks and the torrent  of  high drama.  .Rajamouli unleashes a brutal sensory  assault.Hundreds  of junior artistes(goodlooking  ones, let me hasten to add)  participate  in the  pitched battles where the  Gora Log behave as though they have just seen the unedited version of  The Kashmir Files  and have  taken tips on racial brutality.

The Governor’s wife (played  by  someone named Alison Doody)  is specially vile . “Where is the blood? I want more blood,” she bellows when  Bheema(NTR Jr) is  tied and  whipped by  Ram(Rama Charan).How  and why things have come to  such a  sorry pass, I will not  reveal. Partly because my mind  was numbed by the onslaught of opulent truculence.

Bullets  and arrows fly from all directions while our two heroes  do a Jai and Veeru from Sholay including of course a  dosti song. Ram Charan has   the more  curvaceous  character to play while NTR is  the innocent wide eyed one.Their bonding makes for a  perfect  love story. What was the  need to bring in a female love interest  for  both of them when  the heroes  love each other to death?

When  they fight another they  are  super-driven. When they  join  forces to fight the common enemy they are deliriously impassioned. But when they  dance together, they  are something else.

Oh, there is a third hero . No, not Ajay Devgan. But Cinematographer  K K Senthil Kumar who has the  knack to make  every  frame  look like pop poetry.

RRR is loads of fun to watch. But  it  is  bereft of an emotional bedrock. In this  conspicuous absence, the narrative chooses the path of choreographed action as  the  only panacea to  kill  the looming  sense  of lopsidedness  in the plot. The women including Alia Bhatt are  just  faint sketches while the even  the minor male characters(like Bheem’s  comrade in arms) are given a prominent  place in the  plot.

The  action sequences are  to die for.  Comparable with their counterparts  from   any part  of the world.  When it comes to filming crowds and spectacles S S Rajamouli is next to only Sanjay Bhansali. What is  missing is character-driven drama and a more controlled narrative  pitch. These  absences  do not  dampen the  spirit  of  the  endeavour.  RRR knocks the socks off all probing and evaluation. It is  what it  is. A  big epic fantasy with heroes  so valorous they make you gasp  even as you suppress a giggle.