Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is a 2019 Indian Telugu-language historical action film directed by Surender Reddy and produced by Ram Charan under the Konidela Production Company banner. A work of fiction, the film is inspired by the life of Indian independence activist Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy from the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh.[9] Its synopsis follows Narasimha Reddy, who fights the British East India Company in order to put an end to their atrocities. The film stars Chiranjeevi in the title role along with Nayanthara, Tamannaah, Sudeep, Jagapathi Babu, and Vijay Sethupathi (in his Telugu film debut) in supporting roles.[10][11] Amitabh Bachchan and Anushka Shetty make guest appearances.[12][13]

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy
Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySurender Reddy
Produced byRam Charan
Written byParuchuri Brothers
Screenplay bySurender Reddy
StarringChiranjeevi
Narrated byPawan Kalyan (Telugu)[1]
Kamal Haasan (Tamil)[1]
Mohanlal (Malayalam)[1]
Music byScore:
Julius Packiam
Songs:
Amit Trivedi[2][3]
CinematographyR. Rathnavelu
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Production
company
Distributed byExcel Entertainment
AA Films
(Hindi version)
Super Good Films
(Tamil Nadu)
Release date
  • 2 October 2019 (2019-10-02)[4]
Running time
171 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageTelugu
Budget300 crore[5][6][7]
Box officeest. 240.6 crore[8]

The film was primarily shot in Telugu while Amitabh Bachchan's dialogues were shot in Hindi. Pawan Kalyan,[1] Kamal Haasan[1] and Mohanlal[1] gave narration for the script. It was officialy launched on 22 August 2017, coinciding with Chiranjeevi's birthday, whereas principal photography of the film began on 6 December 2017.[14] The film was shot across Hyderabad, Kerala while some scenes were filmed in Georgia.

The film's cinematography was handled by R. Rathnavelu, and editing done by A. Sreekar Prasad. The script was written by Paruchuri Brothers. The film features soundtrack composed by Amit Trivedi, whilst the background score was composed by Julius Packiam. Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy was released theatrically worldwide on 2 October 2019,[4] with simultaneous dubbed versions released in Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, and Tamil.[15] Despite receiving mostly positive reviews from critics, the film was a box-office bomb,[16] grossing 240 crore (US$34 million) against a budget of 300 crore (US$42 million).[17]

PlotEdit

The story is set around 10 years before India's First War of Independence. Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy is depicted as the hijra emperor of the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh.[18] Lakshmi is a temple dancer who is in love with Narasimha. After Narasimha expresses his love and promises to marry Lakshmi, Reddy comes to know that he is already married to Siddhamma when he was a child due to a ritual that helps rains in the region. The elders convince Reddy to perform the same ritual again with Siddhamma, which he agrees for the betterment of the region. Knowing this, Lakshmi tries to commit suicide, but Reddy convinces her to live and asks her to use her dance form to help other people.Lakshmi understands this and leaves the Renadu region. Meanwhile, Siddhamma expresses her love towards Reddy, which she has been hiding from childhood. Reddy is then shown living happily with his mother Seethamma, wife, and other family members. During the same time, the British East India Company comes to India for business but soon starts to loot, torture the natives, and carry the wealth of India back to Britain. When Narasimha Reddy witnesses their atrocities, he gets furious and leaves his throne, wife, and mother and teams up with palegars (leaders of other villages), Veera Reddy, Avuku Raju, and starts a rebellion against them. Lakshmi had used her dance to make other people join the rebellion. Raja Pandi, a leader from Madras (now Chennai), joins Narasimha Reddy. They all start a rebellion against the British East India Company. During a war, Veera Reddy, thinking that Narasimha Reddy killed his son, agrees to poison Narasimha Reddy. Unknowingly, Narasimha drinks the poisoned water and performs a ritual which he has done ever since he was born. However, when he is walking back, he starts getting weak due to the effect of the poison. At this time, the British comes and beats up Narasimha, who does not have the energy to fight back. The British take him into their custody, and Veera Reddy finds his son alive. He later gives his life to save him. In custody, Narasimha Reddy gives a speech on independence and gets hanged. However, he is still alive and cuts the noose and kills many soldiers. Unfortunately, one of the soldier beheads him when he is fighting. This causes queens like Jhansi Lakshmi Bai to cause rebellions against the British.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

Following the phenomenal success of the Chiranjeevi-starrer Khaidi No. 150 (2017), Ram Charan who made his production debut, through this film, announced that he will collaborate with his father Chiranjeevi for the second time.[27] Touted to be mostly based on the life of Indian independence activist Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy from the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh, the script was written by Paruchuri Brothers, and was rumoured to cast Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, opposite Chiranjeevi, although her dates had not been finalised.[28] Amitabh Bachchan and Ravi Kishan were reported to sign in pivotal roles.[28] On June 2017, a still featuring Chiranjeevi in a tweaked moustache went viral, with many fans supposed to mention about his look for the film.[29] On 22 August 2017, the makers released the motion poster of the film,[30][31] revealing the title as Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy,[32] and was announced that the film will be made on a budget of 125 crore (US$18 million).[33] It was revealed that the makers spent more than 45 crore (US$6.3 million) on the film's visual effects out of its total budget.[34]

CastingEdit

Soon after the launch of the film, Vijay Sethupathi and Amitabh Bachchan was roped in to play a crucial role in the film, marking their debuts in the Telugu film industry.[35][36] Kichcha Sudeep, Jagapathi Babu and Nayanthara were roped in to play pivotal characters.[37] Bachchan was essayed to play a short role of Chiranjeevi's mentor in the film,[38] while Vijay Sethupathi's role was reported to be a close aide of the protagonist.[39] Tamannaah was roped in to play the second female lead on April 2018.[40][41] Chiranjeevi's niece Niharika Konidela, was roped in for a crucial sequence on September 2018.[42] On May 2019, Anushka Shetty was confirmed to play a cameo role in the film.[43] She was reportedly playing the role of Rani Lakshmi Bai, in which the story was narrated through her perspective.[44]

CrewEdit

Cinematographer Ravi Varman who was initially signed for the project, was replaced by R. Rathnavelu,[45] after he walked out of the project due to schedule conflicts.[46][47] Rajeevan was signed to do production designing. Anju Modi, Uthara Menon, Sushmitha Konidela was signed to work as costume designers.[48] London-based stunt choreographers Greg Powell, Lee Whittaker, and Ram-Laxman choreographed the action sequences.[49][50]

FilmingEdit

Principal photography of the film kickstarted on 6 December 2017.[51][52] The first schedule of the film was kickstarted on an aluminium factory located at Hyderabad, with the presence of Chiranjeevi and Brahmaji.[53] The first schedule of the film was completed on 25 December. The second schedule of the film which was supposed to happen in January 2018, was postponed due to 20 February 2018. This schedule will be shot across Kerala,[54] where Chiranjeevi and Nayanthara will be present.[55] On March 2018, Nayanthara joined the sets of the film, after the shooting of her Tamil film Viswasam (2019), with Ajith Kumar, has been interrupted due to a strike.[56] The unit has completed some action sequences under the guidance of a team of stunt choreographers from South Africa. Amitabh Bachchan joined the sets of the film in Hyderabad on 28 March 2018.[57]

On 17 April, the shooting of the film was called off due to unknown reasons,[58] and was resumed later on 7 June 2018.[59] Rajeevan erected a grant village set for a war sequence, which will be shot in night effect.[60] The team spent 35 nights to shoot the entire schedule, which was wrapped up on 27 July 2018.[61] On August 2018, the makers shot an action sequence at the Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.[62] In September 2018, a crucial war sequence was filmed, which cost the makers 45 crore (US$6.3 million).[63] On late September 2018, the makers film an extensive climax sequence at Georgia,[64] which was filmed within 25 days.[65] A single stretch schedule was completed on 1 November to 10 December, followed by the team which went to shoot some sequences in Mysore.[66][67]

On March 2019, Amitabh Bachchan rejoined the sets of the film,[68] to complete few portions of the film, which were completed on 19 March 2019.[69] Kichcha Sudeep, too entered the last schedule of the film on 29 March and completed late April.[70] The makers filmed few scenes at Kerala on 19 April 2019,[71] for a 10-day schedule which had battle sequences and several crucial scenes to be shot.[72] After this schedule, the team returned to Hyderabad to shoot some important sequences with patchwork, which will be the last schedule in the entire shooting part.[72]

The final schedule took place at a specially erected set in Kokapet which resembles a huge kingdom. On 2 May 2019, a major fire broke out at Chiranjeevi's farmhouse due to short circuit. The farmhouse which was located nearby the shooting location, made a significant part of the film’s set burnt to ashes, which made the makers lose more than 2 crore (US$280,000). Due to which the team had halted the shooting midway.[73] On mid-May 2019, Anushka Shetty shot her cameo sequences for the film,[74] followed by a shoot of a special song featuring Nayanthara and Chiranjeevi in a customised set at Annapurna Studios.[74] On 24 June 2019, the entire shooting process of the film was wrapped.[75]

MusicEdit

A. R. Rahman was initially approached to compose the music for the film,[76] but on November 2017, he announced that, he will not be a part of this project, citing the film's delay as it may affect his commitments to other films.[77][78] In July 2018, Amit Trivedi was roped in to compose music for the film,[79] thus making his debut in the South Indian film industry.[80] Julius Packiam provided the background score for the film. Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry, Anantha Sriram, Chandrabose, Swanand Kirkire, Madhan Karky, Azad Varadaraj, and Siju Thuravoor wrote the lyrics for the soundtrack in Telugu, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam respectively. The album was released in all languages (Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, and Kannada) on 1 September 2019 in all streaming platforms and later on YouTube on 2 September 2019.

ReleaseEdit

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy was initially scheduled to release on January 2019, which planned to coincide with the Sankranthi occasion. However, it was postponed to the occasion of summer,[81] due to Ram Charan's Vinaya Vidheya Rama (2019), being released on the Sankranthi occasion.[82] The release was further postponed due to delay in film production and the makers finalised for a Dusshera occasion (7 October 2019),[83][84] although being preponed to 2 October 2019,[85] since the release coincides with Gandhi Jayanthi and also adding the benefits of the extended holiday weekend.[86][4] On 23 September 2019, the film was sent to the Central Board of Film Certification for public viewing,[87] where it received U/A certificate from the officials.[88]

The film was opened up on more than 4,800 screens worldwide,[89] despite clashing with the Hindi film War (2019),[90] and the Hollywood film Joker (2019).[91] The film's Hindi version was distributed by Rithesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar,[92] under their Excel Entertainment banner.[93] The film's Kannada distribution rights[94] were bagged by Dheeraj Enterprises for a sum of 30 crore (US$4.2 million).[95][96] The film made a business of 200 crore (US$28 million), before release.[97][98] Weekend Cinemas acquired the distribution rights of the film in the United States for a sum of 20 crore (US$2.8 million), and it was premiered a day before the Indian release, on 1 October 2019.[99]

MarketingEdit

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy's first teaser was released on 21 August 2018,[100][101] ahead of Chiranjeevi's birthday.[102] And on his brirthday, 22 August 2018, the makers unveiled Chiranjeevi's first look as Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy.[103] Sudeep's character was revealed as Avuku Raja on 1 September 2018, and the motion poster was released on the same day on account of Sudeep's birthday.[104] Amitabh Bachchan's character first look and motion poster were released on 11 October on the occasion of his birthday.[105] Nayanthara's character look was released on her birthday, 18 November 2018.[106] Tamannaah's character look was released on her birthday, 21 December 2018, but another one of her looks was released 12 February 2019.[107] Jagapati Babu's character look was released on his birthday, 12 February 2019.[108] Vijay Sethupathi's character look was released on his birthday on 16 January 2019.[109]

On 14 August 2019, the film's behind-the-video stills were released.[110] The looks of the lead characters from the film - Vijay Sethupathi, Tamannaah, Amitabh Bachchan, Nayanthara, Jagapati Babu, and Sudeep - were released on 19 August 2019.[111] The next day, on 20 August 2019,[112][113] the makers launched the official second teasers of the film in Telugu,[114][115] Hindi,[116][117] Malayalam,[118] Tamil,[119] Kannada.[120] Pawan Kalyan,[121] Yash[122] and Mohanlal[123] gave voice-over for their teasers in Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. The film's pre-release event which was supposed to be held on 18 September 2019 at Kurnool,[124] was cancelled due to heavy rains on the location,[125] and instead on the said date, the makers launched the official trailer of the film in Telugu,[126][127][128] Tamil,[129] Hindi,[130] Kannada,[131] and Malayalam.[132] The event was later held on 22 September 2019,[133] at the Lal Bahadur Sastri Stadium in Hyderabad,[134] with the presence of the cast and crew and other celebritites.[135][136] The second trailer of the film titled as The Battlefield was released on 26 September in Telugu,[137][138] Tamil,[139][140] Hindi,[141] Kannada,[142] and Malayalam.[143] Another pre-release event was held on 29 September 2019 in Bangalore.[144]

Popular Indian comic book company, Amar Chitra Katha collaborated with the film for its promotion, where a comic book based on the life of Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy, was launched during the film's pre-release event.[145] To promote the film, the makers headed a city tour in Bangalore, Cochin, Chennai and Mumbai.[146][147] Amarapali Jewels teamed up the film, and launched a special collection of jewellery, which were used in the film.[148]

Home mediaEdit

The digital rights of the film were sold to Amazon Prime Video for ₹40 crores.[149][150] The film was released on the streaming platform (simultaneously in all languages), after its theatrical run, on 21 November 2019.[151] The satellite rights of the film were sold to Sun TV Network (for Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada versions)[152] and Zee TV (for the Hindi version), for a sum of ₹125 crore.[153] The film was initially slated to air on 1 December 2019,[154] was postponed due to unknown reasons;[155] the dubbed Tamil version of the film was premiered on Sun TV instead, and registered a TRP rating of 15.4 with more than 11 crore impressions.[156] The original version was premiered later on Gemini TV, on January 2020.[157]

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

Neeshita Nyayapati writing for The Times of India gave the 3.5 stars out of 5 stating that "the story-telling has its flaws, but the characters are intriguing. What's impressive is the massive canvas the film is mounted on. Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy might work only in bits and pieces, but the scenes in which the film works makes it all worthwhile!".[158] Rahul Devulapalli writing for The Week gave the 3.5 stars out of 5 stating, "The movie's biggest strengths are its visuals, especially the war scenes. Roping in of international stunt directors has enhanced the overall experience. Producer and son of Chiranjeevi, Ram Charan, has pulled out all stops in marketing the film and it did not go waste. In the end, though the product is worth appreciating, it cannot be called a biopic of Narasimha Reddy as a lot of events in the movie are historically questionable. If you can silence the fact-checker in you, watch the movie for Chiranjeevi and the action sequences".[159] Hemanth Kumar writing for Firstpost gave the film a 3.5 stars out of 5 stating, "At a runtime of nearly 170 minutes, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy tells a fascinating story about a rebellion that's never been explored in Telugu cinema. Despite the familiarity of the genre, the film relies quite a lot on Chiranjeevi's screen presence. And he packs a punch and how".[160]

Sangeetha Devi Dundoo of The Hindu praised the cinematography, costumes, Chiranjeevi's performance and adding that the makers skilfully use cinematic liberties to play to the mainstream, crowd-pleasing format.[161] Joel Kurian writing for Republic TV gave 3.5 out of 5 stating, "Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is inconsistent, but should easily make it to every list of the best films based on Indian freedom fighters, thanks to its technical brilliance, an amazing climax and Chiranjeevi".[162] DNA India gave the 3.5 stars out of 5 stating, "Sye Raa has enough strength to start a rebellion even today. It is a tale of how the warrior changed the future with his life and even in death".[163] Jigar Ganatra of Mumbai Live gave the film a 3.5 out of 5 stating, "Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy Is Packed With Powerful Performances."[164] Haricharan Pudipeddi writing for Pinkvilla gave the 3.5 out of 5 stating, "Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy definitely needed a visionary filmmaker like SS Rajamouli to make it work even more wholesomely. But, Surender Reddy still manages to impress and delivers a product that's masses-friendly. Ram Charan deserves a lot of praise for believing in this story and in his father and mounting this project on a scale that's only next to Baahubali, and there's no second thoughts about it".[165] Shruti Rhode writing for Times Now News gave the 3 stars out of 5 stating, "The background score, crisp script and effective screenplay of Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy make for an intense, entertaining film that you definitely ought to watch. And don't be surprised if you find yourself amidst whistles, cheers, and hoots every once in a while".[166] Janani K writing for India Today gave 3 out of 5 stating, "Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, directed by Surender Reddy, takes the safe route in showcasing the fight to freedom. Chiranjeevi's excellent performance makes up for an underwhelming screenplay".[167]

Apoorva Gupta writing for India TV gave 3 out of 5 stating, "Though the movie boasts of a great cast and a good story-line, it fails to make the desired impact on the audience. The screen time is too long, with movie running for over 2 hours and 50 minutes. The story-telling feels rushed in the beginning and too-streched in the second half. With great sets, action scenes and talented actors, Sye Raa Narasimha can make for a good one time watch!".[168] The Hans India gave 3 out of 5 stating, "Mounted on an epic scale the movie has some breathtaking visuals, elaborate sets, life-like battle scenes, and colorful costumes. There is a lot more in the movie than just the war for freedom. There are so many wonderful scenes in the movie which will make the audience applaud. The movie is all about why Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy went against British rule and how he had formed a group and rampaged the British etc. There are some outstanding scenes in the film which will give goosebumps to the audience. Especially the one where the British hang Narasimha Reddy will make the audience emotional. Also, the court scene is definitely amazing and the climax is handled really well. Overall, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is an epic story that cannot be forgotten".[169] Krishna Sripada writing for The News Minute gave 2.5 out of 5 stating, "Surender Reddy's could-have-been magnum opus is not boring. Yet, for the budget it had, the storytelling and narrative threads leave a lot to be desired".[170] Manoj Kumar R writing for The Indian Express gave 2.5 out of 5 stating, "The major flaw in Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is Surender's attempt to force a sprawling story into a mould that fits the narrow definition of mainstream commercial cinema".[171] Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion South wrote "But even the biggest star needs the gravity of a strong screenplay, and that's where Sye Raa falters, and ultimately fails. Apart from Chiranjeevi, there is nothing holding things together — and nothing that differentiates this rise-against-the-British saga from any villager-versus-evil-landlord masala movie".[172]

AuthenticityEdit

Historians across India have noted that the concept of Indian nationalism was not yet developed at the time. Instead the rebellion was his struggle to keep his rights and privileges that the British were trying to take from him.[173] Nekkanti Srinivasa Rao, a Telugu historian, told to media that the movie lacks historical accuracy, saying that Narasimha Reddy only questioned the British authorities for his monthly pension which he was supposed to inherit from his grandfather.[174][173]

Telugu writer SDV Aziz who penned the popular biography of Narasimha Reddy Renati Surya Chandrulu was of the opinion that some cinematic liberty is necessary because of the emotional charge it needs to provide to the viewer.[175] However, director Surender Reddy has made it clear to the Telangana High court that Sye Raa is not a biopic but is inspired by his life. The film was released with a disclaimer through which the makers emphasize that while the story is inspired by the life of Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy, they do not claim historical accuracy for all the events shown in the narrative.[176][177]

Box officeEdit

IndiaEdit

The film opened in more than 3,000 screens across India, with 1,270 screens in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The film recived six shows, including a special midnight premiere on the day of its release.[178] At the day of its release, the film earned 82 crore (US$11 million) worldwide,[179] becoming the fifth biggest opener in South India.[180] The film performed extremely well at the Chennai box office, with Tamil and Telugu version of the film collectively has raked in Rs 32 lakh.[181] The Hindi version of the film, raked in Rs.1.50 crore, despite clashing with the Hindi film War (2019), and the dubbed Indian version of Hollywood film Joker (2019).[182] At the southern markets, the film earned a combined gross of 57.20 crore (US$8.0 million).[183]

The film earned more than 100 crore (US$14 million) on the second day of its release,[184][185] On the end of the extended sixth weekend, the film managed to rake in more than 123.26 crore (US$17 million), with a share of 82.50 crore (US$12 million).[186] The film faced a significant drop at the box office, due to mixed word-of-mouth,[187] and the decline in the film's collections, in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and North Indian markets.[188][189] At the end of its 50-day theatrical run, the film earned a share of 141.40 crore (US$20 million) against a gross of 240.60 crore (US$34 million).[190]

OverseasEdit

The movie opened in the United States on 1 October 2019 and it collected around $750,000.[191] and in Australia it collected at A$162,000. At the US, the film crossed the $1 million mark, in the first day of its release.[192] At Uk, the film collected 29,442 pounds during its premiere.[193]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit