Audiences around the world have been sharing the excitement over RRR (Rise! Roar! Revolt!), an out-of-this-world epic that has been a smashing hit since its release in India earlier this year.
The Telugu-language movie, directed by S. S. Rajamouli, is an exhilarating, action-packed spectacular mythologizing two real-life freedom fighters who helped lead India’s fight for independence from the British Raj, Komaram Bheem (N.T Rama Rao Jr., aka Jr NTR) and Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan). According to the film’s official synopsis, the movie is set in the 1920s before their fight for India’s independence began and “imagines a fictional meeting between the two, set into motion when a young Gond girl is stolen from her village by British soldiers.”
Think Tollywood, not Bollywood
Telugu cinema, often called “Tollywood,” refers to Indian cinema created and produced in its namesake language. Moviegoers may find certain similarities between Hindi and Telugu films, thanks to their vivid colors, mind-blowing musical numbers, and operatic narrative, but it also shares characteristics similar to Hong Kong and American action films. Unfortunately, the version of RRR on Netflix has been dubbed into Hindi, which only adds to the confusion, but RRR is a magnificent example of what Tollywood has to offer.
A Box Office Hit
With a budget of $72 million, RRR is the most expensive Indian film ever made but its box office success has proven that it was money well spent. In India, the epic story smashed box office records, and it had the best opening day for a local film ever. So far the film has grossed more than $14 million in North America and over $140 million all over the globe. In the US, the film was released on March 24 on 1,000 screens, a wide premiere for an Indian film, and it returned to the screens on June 1, but the RRR Encore caused such an uproar online that Variance Films, the movie’s distributor in North America, extended its run in NYC, LA, and Austin.
Netflix released the film on May 20, a full week ahead of its original release date, and it became the first Indian film to trend at #1 for three consecutive weeks in the Non-English Films category.
Two Major Stars at Its Center
The actors at the center of the film N. T. Rama Rao Jr. (Jr. NTR) and Ram Charan, are major stars. Writer Ritesh Babu published a newsletter talking about the historic pairing, given that both performers come from renowned Tollywood legacies. “[B]arring very rare exceptions,” Babu writes, “these heroes do not star in films with one another or team-up.”
For those interested in incredible dance sequences, epic stories, and incredible action, RRR is a must-watch. The film is available now on Netflix.