Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy Review (No Spoilers): This is How You Use a Large Cast to Tell a Large Story

Well, that was a super fun movie! I missed the first twenty minutes and stayed for the next show, and I was tempted to just stay and watch the whole thing over again. It’s not a brilliant great amazing movie, but boy is it fun to see in a theater on the big screen!

This movie isn’t for everybody. If you don’t like big dance numbers, fancy period costumes, and dramatic speeches from Sudeep, than you can skip it. But if you do like those things, check it out! Especially because the underlying patriotic message is so refreshingly harmless.

Image result for sye raa narasimha reddy poster

This is a movie about many people coming together to create something bigger than they each are individually. It’s about lower caste Tamil fighters and Muslim urban fighters and old landed Telugu families and poor Telugu farmers and even female tribal fighters all working together. And female dancers who give the propaganda that drives the fighters on. The whole message of the film is that strength comes from unity, from accepting our differences and reaching across them. That the British defeated India by dividing the people, and the way to be a strong country is to come together. It’s like a breath of fresh air after all the “one strong man can save us” and “unity through religion” messages.

It’s not just that the film explicitly gives that message, the very way the film is structured gives that message. It brings together 3 film industries, Hindi with Amitabh Bachchan, Tamil with Vijay Sethupathi, and Telugu with the other actors. And while Chiranjeevi is very much the Star of the film, he gives space for those other actors to breath. Sudeep almost steals the film from him, Amitabh is there for Wise Words, even the heroines Tamannah and Nayanthara get their interesting moments. None of this is revolutionary, but it’s something a lot of filmmakers seem to have forgotten, that a star can’t carry the whole film. You need to cast actors and write characters to support the star and make the film as a whole stronger. Chiranjeevi doesn’t really do much for me as an actor, but that doesn’t matter, because there is Sudeep and Amitabh and everyone else around for me to watch in addition to him. And I can appreciate the heroism of his character that much more by watching it contrasted with the folks around him.

This is just a well-made film. There are epic size songs that are interesting and well-coordinated, fight scenes that I can follow and understand, and all the costumes and sets and so on that are international quality. It’s not perfect of course. The plot kind of goes hither and yon and back again, but is entertaining all the time. The British characters do that thing where they always speak the local language even while alone with each other. The Tamannah plotline is kind of hurried (although I love where it ended up). The Saintly Wife is an extremely irritatingly Saintly Wife kind of character. Vijay Sethupathi only gets like 3 lines of dialogue (WHY?!!?!?!?). Sudeep is not onscreen every minute of every scene as he should be always (Eega is the perfect movie). It’s not going to be an all-time repeat viewing favorite for me, or make it to one of my “best ever” lists, but it is a heck of a lot better made than it could be and it is very entertaining.

12 thoughts on “Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy Review (No Spoilers): This is How You Use a Large Cast to Tell a Large Story

  1. Sudeep is most well known for being part of the Kannada industry in India. He practically is an unknown in the Telugu industry. He brings in the Kannada fans to this movie

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  2. I’m happy you liked the movie, because I was one of the people who told you to go and see it, and deep inside I was worried it will be next Manikarnika.

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    • I was too! But I was watching it thinking “this is what Manikarnika should have been”. An interesting balanced story that centers on a hero but has space for the other characters too. Not sure if you would like it or not, the romances really get short shrift, and so does Vijay Sethupathi. How committed are you to watching Sudeep in guyliner?

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  3. I read Baradwaj Rangan’s review which said to the effect that Chiranjeevi is the center and everything in this movie and others are really just minor orbits around him. His description of Nayantara’s character arc(Look pretty,get married,get pregnant) particularly cracked me up. I know different reviewers may see things differently but did the movie really have space for this big a cast? I thought it was all token representation of every industry(they tried to get Prithviraj from Malayalam too) to get the maximum audience in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was impressed by how well it juggled the cast. Even Vijay only got a few lines, but he had a motivation that made sense and a cool intro scene, a cool fight scene, and a good (SPOILERS) death scene. Obviously it is a Chiranjeevi movie, and it is a Great Man story, so yes he is the center of it all. But for me the film did right by the other actors and other characters. I also didn’t feel like there was extraneous Chiranjeevi stuff. It’s a Great Man story, so it’s part of the plot to have his heroic childhood and big moments of his life and stuff. But there wasn’t a moment that felt like boring actor indulgence versus something that was planned to actually entertain the audience.

      Basically, it avoided all the problems of Manikarnika. No actors/characters were cut in order to make the hero look good, and no scenes were added just to work out the Star’s personal issues. And the action scenes and song scenes and everything were actually really good.

      Nayanthara’s character really is poorly served, but she’s the only supporting character that I felt that way about and, honestly, she’s the sacrificial wife character, what else is she supposed to do? Tamannah’s character ended up going in a really interesting direction, and Sudeep is essentially in the heroine/co-lead role and gets a really interesting and well-done arch too.

      Felt the same to me as Saaho, or Urumi, or any of those complicated hero driven movies, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

      On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 9:18 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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  4. I found this news:

    “”
    NAME – SYE RAA NARASIMHA REDDY (Hindi)
    THEATER RELEASE DATE – 02 October 2019
    BUYER – Amazon Prime Video
    DIGITAL PREMIERE DATE (Hindi) – 06 December 2019
    DIGITAL PREMIERE DATE ( Other Languages ) – 21 November 2019 ( Confirmed )

    “”

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    • Woo-hoo!!!!! Hopefully this applies to all markets, but I won’t get my hopes up.

      On Tue, Nov 19, 2019 at 1:53 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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