Mr. Pink’s Review: Sri Rama Rajyam

I watched Lavakusha and many other movies about Ramayana numerous times but only when I was a kid. I don’t remember watching any of them in the past 10 years. So, most of my views on those movies are based on perceptions of my memories or memories of my perceptions.

“Sri Rama Rajyam” is an inept title for the movie because the movie doesn’t give any details about the kingdom of Rama or about how Rama ruled his kingdom. It doesn’t depict the greatness of Rama (as most other movies of its kind did) or his conflicting morals (as NTR Sr. would have loved to make). It doesn’t even give a comprehensive account of Lava and Kusha (as did Lavakusha). Then what is this movie about? It is only about the plight of Seetha. The makers make their intentions clear by not giving enough footage to the famous heroics of Lava and Kusha at the end. 

Though, their story lines are same, Sri Rama Rajyam shouldn’t be compared to Lava Kusha. Lava Kusha is Samudrala Raghavaiah’s take on Utthara Kanda of Ramayana and Sri Rama Rajyam is Bapu-Ramana’s take on the movie “Lava Kusha”. Lava Kusha is not the sibling of Sri Rama Rajyam. It is the mother of it. The movie doesn’t try to narrate the story afresh. It assumes that you know the story already and tries to show what you expect along with what it wants you to know. If you hadn’t watched Lava Kusha, you don’t even understand the significance of some scenes (Ex: the pooja that Seeta performs at the end).

I feel that, though it is not such a brilliance, Sri Rama Rajyam is no less an attempt than the great Mayabazaar. I make this comparison not in terms of the creative content or the actor’s performances or the final output but in terms of the social circumstances in which they are made, the confidence that the crew has put in them and, more than all, the honesty of the subject. But the former falls short of the intended output (not audience’s expectations).

I think that Bapu and Ramana are feminists and I know that they are great devotees of Rama. Sri Rama Rajyam is a bi-product of their sympathy for Seetha and their faith in Rama. They tried to answer some of your moral dilemmas that the movie Lava Kusha left about Rama abandoning Seetha, partially succeeded in their attempt but raised a few questions, which are more because of the changing views of people across generations. They either didn’t take a solid stance about the moral issues or their old-fashioned movie making couldn’t convince the new generation to the full about their stance.

The movie doesn’t have a tight screen play and it rushes at the end. Bala Krishna has nothing much to act, since most of the story revolves around Seetha. Old actors looked too old for their characters and young actors too young. There is nothing the makers could do about it, since there aren’t any other adept actors available to cast. The only fit and perfect cast is for, obviously, the protagonist and soul of the movie, Seetha. Nayanatara is mind blowing in the movie. Her beauty has got the divinity that Seetha’s character demands. Looks wise, probably she is the best Seetha ever. Her acting is good enough to evoke tears in a couple of scenes. The movie has grand visuals and great music. All the scenes between Rama and Seetha are etched beautifully. Especially “Sri Rama lera” song, which shows Rama romancing Seetha, is simply superb and I doubt whether any other director can make it so sensible.

Bala Krishna should be appreciated for accepting to act in the movie. It might not have been possible to make such a technically rich movie with such an “unconventional” subject, if the producers were not sure about its commercial potential, which was assured by the presence of a star like Bala Krishna.

Finally, it is a decent watch for all Telugu audience and a must watch for those who like movies and those who like mythology.

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