What a delightful movie this is! I am so excited to force all my friends to go see it with me! It’s totally ridiculous and happy and silly and entertaining.
Whole Plot in Two Paragraphs:
A little girl is kidnapped from a tribal group in order to entertain the Governor’s wife with her singing and hand paining. To return her, NTR Jr. goes undercover in Delhi as a Muslim mechanic (he is supposed to be the real historical figure Komaram Bheem, who fought for the rights of the Gond tribe and remains a symbol today). Meanwhile, a brave British Indian Police Officer Ram Charan (also playing a real historical figure, Alluri Sitarama Raju) is desperate for promotion after being passed over many times and sees his chance in finding and arresting Jr NTR, the mysterious tribal warned to be looking to get the child back. The two men meet while Ram Charan is in plainclothes and Jr NTR is in disguise in the city. They become best friends and Ram Charan even helps Jr NTR woo a young British woman (part of his plan to get into the Governor’s house). Ram Charan almost dies of a snake bite and Jr NTR saves him. The next day, Jr NTR completes his plan by releasing wild animals into the governor’s house and then fighting to free the little girl. Ram Charan shows up to stop and arrest him, betraying their friendship.
But then we get a flashback explaining things. Ram Charan’s father was revolutionary Ajay Devgan who taught him how to shoot. His father and mother died when the British attacked, and Ram Charan learned the importance of having enough guns and bullets to go around. He is undercover in the police trying to get a promotion so he can get charge of the armory and steal guns for the revolution. He arrested Jr NTR in order to serve the greater good but is all torn up about it. He reconsiders after seeing how Jr NTR inspires the crowd when he is whipped, thinking Jr NTR but be more important than guns for the revolution. He plots to help Jr NTR escape during his hanging, but through a misunderstanding, Jr NTR doesn’t realize he is helping. Ram Charan is arrested for treason and put in jail, and Jr NTR and his group go into hiding. Where they meet Alia Bhatt, Ram Charan’s fiancee, who helps them and then tells her story, which is when Jr NTR learns what was really happening. He determines to help Ram Charan escape and breaks him out of jail, taking to the forest. They defeat commandos in the forest (using arrows and a bow Ram Charan took from a Ram temple), then blow up the armory and finally get the guns. Happy Ending! Both return to their own groups, and no one ever knows this whole thing happened or that these two historical figures ever met.
I skipped a whole bunch of explosions and songs and craziness in that summary, so you should absolutely watch the movie to get the full effect! All you really need to know is two revolutionaries in disguise become best friends, misunderstand each other, and then make-up. And there’s a dance off, and they take turns carrying each other and there’s lots of riding horses and motorcycles.
There are some interesting things. Rajamouli continues his thing with elements, Jr NTR is constantly evoked as water, while Ram Charan is fire. The historical person Jr NTR is playing had a slogan of “Water, Forest, Land” so that is another little touch.
There is also a Ram-Seeta-Hanuman feel to the story which I find a little bit irritating. Jr NTR is playing a tribal and Ram Charan is playing an aristocrat. Which is of course one of the interpretations of the Ram-Hanuman relationship, that the historic figure of a prince of an urban area met and became friends with a tribal on his travels. They are supposed to be friends, but ultimately Jr NTR is in service of his Ram’s story. Since Jr NTR is playing a tribal character, and someone who was historically tribal, I do not love the whole “he can’t see the big picture, he has to help Ram Charan on his journey” which plays into all kinds of stereotypes. And then, the worst bit, Ram Charan apparently gave him the slogan of “Water Forest Land”. Our historical tribal isn’t even allowed to keep possession of his own slogan.
Speaking of stereotypes, I LOVED the Evil British characters! There is a line where the British cross over to being so incredibly ridiculous that it doesn’t feel like it is making fun of real people at all. The flighty white girl who has sex and breaks your heart, or is just there to be lied to and bedded, that I do not appreciate. But the super evil white lady demanding harsher whipping of the “natives”, that I do appreciate. And also, the ridiculously nice young woman who seemingly falls in love with Jr NTR at first sight. This is my kind of white people! The ones so unrealistic that they cannot possibly be related to reality.
Setting aside the tribal/educated issue, I really have no other problems! Just a lovely fun funny over the top film.
Oh, and help me out on this, I think the casting of Ram Charan and Jr NTR also plays into the upper/lower class/caste dynamic? If I am remembering correctly, they are both from Telugu film dynasty families. But while Ram Charan was the spoiled polo playing son of topstar Chiranjeevi, Jr NTR was not fully acknowledged by his father’s family, being the son of a second wife. Jr NTR made his way in his career with comedy and charm and hard work, while Ram Charan was trained and launched and got everything he wanted. So we have another way the shining star is contrasted with the lowly one.
Okay, what did you think? And should Ajay Devgan just always show up and be an awesome person for a few minutes in a movie? Is that the best way to use him?