Rajanna: The ballad of a rebel

August 15th, 1947, the day India received its independence from the sufferings it received for 200 years in the British rule.

August 15th, 1947, the day India announced to itself and to the outside world, that it was ready to rule itself.

August 15th, 1947, the day India as a nation announced to its citizens that it promises them an independent life, free of oppression, free from slavery, free from any taxation of life.

But did August 15th, 1947 really proved to be an Independence day for many of its citizens? Did India’s promise of providing Independence include those people who are under real oppression and those who are treated as animals by those who enjoy power? 

Well, when the promise of Indenpendence falls on deaf ears of those who have scant regard for India itself, then it is the perfect time for a rebellion to be brought by a real Rebel, who has the ability to rouse even a 5 year old with the help of his songs.

That is the story of “Rajanna” or else the story of the rebellion brought in by Rajanna. The latest periodical movie which has hit the turnstiles promised to dare the risk laden path which is not trodden before and did it deliver the promise it had? Let’s see what it had to offer?

It is the first decade of the post independence era and the village of Nelakondapalli in Adilabad district has not yet woken to the idea of independence as it still crumbles of the Dorasani (Shweta Menon) who is the zamindar of the village. The village trembles with her walk and everyone bows their head in front of her.

Oblivious to the schemes and atrocities of Dorasani is 8 year old Mallamma (baby Annie). She loves the nature, she talks with her goats, she sings songs in the fields and is the most loved in the village. She does not know about her parents and Sambaiah, her caretaker, does not want to reveal it to anyone as Mallamma is none other than the daughter of Rajanna (Nagarjuna) who is like a demi-god for the village.

On a day of earning her permission to study, Mallamma sings a song in the house of Dorasani and immediately invites the wrath of the landlady who whiplashes her. The music teacher Kulkarni (Nasser) then tells her that there is none in the village who can put a stop to Dorasani. But only Pandit Nehru who is the Prime Minister can put an end to her atrocities. Mallamma then decides to approach him and tell him of the travails of her village.

In the process of reaching to Pandit Nehru, Mallamma learns of the importance of never accepting defeat for which her own father’s life was a testimony. She learns through Kulkarni of how her father brought in rebellion with his songs and inspired a region to revolt against atrocities and oppression.

Will Mallamma be able to meet Pandit Nehru? How will the story of Rajanna inspire the 8 year old into achieving a dream? The answers for these have to be found on the big screen itself.

A big thanks has to be said to Akkineni Nagarjuna for doing this “Rajanna.” He not only acted in this film but also produced this brilliant movie. Not only his performance was top notch but his acumen as a producer, to put money where it is needed, is brilliant too. He deserves 10/10 in both his roles. A great thing for Rajanna is that Nag did not allow the star in him precede over the actor in himself. He does not appear on screen till the interval and when he does, he sets the screen on fire. His performance as the revolutionary balladeer should rank right up there with “Annamayya.”

Next in line comes the 8 year olf Annie who has shouldered the entire first half on her tender shoulders. It is her vulnerability and pain which makes the audience not notice the absence of the hero. A brilliant job by the kid.

Sneha does her part of the better half of Rajanna in the role of Lachuvamma. Nasser, Mukesh Rishi and Ravi Kale did their part properly in playing the mean guys. Shweta Menon as the Dorasani portrays the evil role with aplomb. The actor who played the role of Sambaiah has been given enough screen time and he balances his chemistry with Annie takes the cake.

Other than Nagarjuna, there is another hero for “Rajanna.” He is none other than Music Director MM Keeravani who provides the soul for this film. The revolutionary in Rajanna rises with songs and MM Keeravani did his best to provide that soul to the lead character. His background score really thumps the hearts and the lullabies really move the heart. Standout songs happen to be “Gijigadu”, “Lachuvamma” “melukove Chitti talli” “Veyyi Veyyi” and “Rari rorela.” A hats-off to this genius composer.

Finally coming to the director of the film, V Vijayendra Prasad who also happens to be the writer of this film. A good job in writing the story and also a great job in directing, though with more than helping hand from prodigal son SS Rajamoli. All said and done, one felt that the screenplay of the movie should have been a bit different.

Though the original idea of the film is to showcase the revolution brought in by Rajanna during the Razakar movement, the film opens as a story of Mallamma. Hence it should end as the story of the fight of Mallamma to put an end to the evil rule of the Dorasani. But by making the entire second half the story of Rajanna, the director has faltered in bringing in that kind of thrust to the climax which should have melted hearts. Had the flashback been put at a different place earlier itself, rather than starting at the exact interval point, the impact would have been much different. That is the only genuine complaint over the otherwise brilliant film.

The idea of Mallamma walking to Delhi to meet the Prime Minister reminds one of “My Name is Khan” but still is novel to the telugus.

Rajanna is a significant landmark of Telugu Cinema. It put a stop to the hero-dominated storylines in which the rest of the cast do nothing. Instead it puts focus on a historical facts and throws light to the events which have repercussions even today.

Go to Rajanna, and drench yourself with the emotional treat offered.

Krishna Chaitanya.

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About krshychait

A working individual who has a great passion towards arts of India. The literary and cinema field have captured my imagination like no other.

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