Epic Drama Rudhrama Devi is one of the most awaited movies of the year. With Baahubali turning out to be a historical hit, Rudhrama Devi is expected to create similar sensation at the box office. Gunasekhar has invested all his hard earned money and more than three years of time in this historical drama that has a stellar star cast. Did Rudhrama Devi live up to the hype and expectations? Let's analyze.
What is it about?
Ganapatideva Chakravarthi (Krishnam Raju) fears the end of Kakatiya dynasty when a girl child is born. He hides the fact that she is a girl and brings her up as a boy Rudra Deva (Anushka). Rudrama Devi's identity is finally revealed when she is all set to be crowned as the queen. Taking this as an opportunity Ganapathideva's step brothers (Suman, Aditya) tries to take over the kingdom. At the same time an enemy invades Orugallu and Rudrama Devi valiantly fights him along with Gonaganna Reddy (Allu Arjun) and Chalukya Veerabhadra (Rana).
Anushka: This is tailor made role for Anushka who has done films like Arundhati and Baahubali in the past. She has put up a brilliant show as Rudra Deva and Rudrama Devi. She looks like a warrior queen and does justice to the duties bestowed upon her.
Allu Arjun: He steals the show as Gona Gannareddy. He has a very limited role but lifts the spirits in each and every scene. Allu Arjun tried Telangana accent for the first time in his career and it is music to ears. He provides the much needed entertainment with his one liners and daredevil attitude. Very few actors could match his persona and performance as Gona Gannareddy.
Rana Daggubati: Rana too has a limited role in the film. He plays the love interest of Rudrama Devi and mostly seen as a romantic than as a warrior prince. He is good within his limitations.
Others: Krishnam Raju is good as the old king. Prakash Raj's character is impressive and the veteran actor is at ease as the farsighted and intelligent minister. Suman and Aditya Menon are okay. Nitya Menen doesn't have much scope but does her bit. Catherine Tresa is glamorous and so is Hamsa Nandini. All the other actors are decent in their respective roles.
Gunasekhar's passion cannot be questioned. No one would dare to risk everything on a movie until or unless he is so passionate about it. However he didn't write a convincing script based on the history. Everything great about Rudrama Devi is just told in dialogues and the movie focuses a lot on the trivial issues which makes it a boring fare. There is nothing spectacular about his imagination too. The movie looks plain ordinary on the visual front.
Ilayaraja's music is a letdown. Cinematography is good to some extent. Editing is bad. Dialogues written for Allu Arjun are good. Visual effects are amateurish. Rudrama Devi fails to enthrall technically despite having big names associated with it.
Most of the Telugus must be aware of the heroics of Queen Rudrama Devi and the stories about the Kakatiya Dynasty. Guna Sekhar attempts to bring her story to life with this film. He did a fair bit of research to let the people know many details about Rudrama Devi and the other prominent people of her time. Guna Sekhar confessed that he has made few changes to the history and added a bit of drama to make it an engaging movie. So let's not dig into the historical errors that are seen in the film.
One would expect a film on Rudrama Devi to highlight her special skills and heroics but surprisingly Gunasekhar downplayed those aspects and focused on her gender identity. So much time is spent on this topic that doesn't add any value to the film or the character. The romantic part is another hiccup that dilutes the drama. Rudrama Devi character is not elevated at all except for the sword fight where she singlehandedly kills hundreds of men.
In fact Gona Gannareddy looks like a hero and will be the most remembered after coming out of the theaters. As Gunasekhar said there is so much â€˜story' in the film but the flawed screenplay will leave you exhausted. First half is decent to some extent but the second half is a total let down. One would expect at least decent visual effects in such a film but Rudhrama Devi looks cartoonish in this department. Budget constraints can be understood but they should have tried to give the best output when visual effects are so crucial for the film.
Rudhrama Devi can still be watched once despite all the flaws because of the story and the insights it gives about the characters of the great Telugu kingdom. Guna Sekhar should have come up with a far more engrossing product as he repeatedly said that it was his dream to make a movie on the warrior queen. Don't expect wonders or an everlasting cinematic experience with this film. Guna has announced a movie on Pratapa Rudra, The Last Emperor. Hope he comes up with better product learning from his mistakes.
Verdict: Great Effort, Poor Execution.