Mallamma (Annie) is the daughter of Rajanna (Nagarjuna) who dies while fighting against feudalism in Nelakondapally (a village in Nizam area when it was still under the rule of Nizams even after India got independence). An oldman rescues Mallamma after her mother was killed. He brings her up without letting the village know that Mallamma is the daughter of Rajanna who has been outcast by landlady. Mallamma is fond of singing and she is banned by the landlady to sing songs. When landlady finds out that Mallamma continues to sing, she sets fire on the hut of Mallamma. The rest of the story is all about how she gets inspired by the tale of her father Rajanna and how Mallamma meets Nehru to save her village from clutches of landlady.
Nagarjuna: A story of this nature requires a big star to make it reach wider range of audiences. It is great that Nagarjuna has come forward to act and produce a film like Rajanna which would have never been made in Telugu otherwise. A movie titled on the character played by Nagarjuna would make the people sit up and notice. Nagarjuna is very good as a singing revolutionary who lives and dies for the villages he fights for.
Others: It is Annie who is the star of the film. She is superb as a girl who goes through a lot of suffering and still fights against the system with a strong will. Sneha is good and earthly in the role of Rajanna’s wife. Nassar plays the role of girl’s teacher. The lady who has done the landlord is good. Mukesh Rushi, Pradeep Rawat, Ajay, Supreet, Hema, Shravan and Telangana Sakuntala are fine. All other actors are appropriately cast.
Story - screenplay - direction: This is the story of human triumph. And narrates how a small girl goes against all odds to achieve something. Vijayendra Prasad who has provided stories for most of SS Rajamouli’s blockbusters is wielding megaphone for his second film after a gap of a few years. The director has used song as the tool to motivate and achieve for Rajanna and Mallamma. He has succeeded in setting up the mood to the entire film with the initial scenes. As the film is about the girl and songs, he has made sure that the scenes involving girl are heart touching and most of the film is narrated with the help of songs. Direction is intense in few scenes. The screenplay which takes off in an arresting manner becomes predictable as the movie progresses. Since this film is about struggle and pain, the director has used certain uncomfortable incidents and violent action sequences to narrate the story. A few sequences (girl going out of village and amma avani song) are truly heart touching.
Other departments: The action sequences canned by SS Rajamouli are beautifully integrated into narration. The fight in which an old woman and a small kid are encouraged to revolt are well shot by Rajamouli. Music by MM Keeravani is the lifeline to the film. His songs, bit songs and background music is excellent. Cinematography by 4 cinematographers (majorly done by Shyam K Naidu and Anil Bandari) is very good. Popular art director Ravinder (Magadheera fame) has worked as the production designer (not to be confused with production manager) for the first time for a Telugu film. Production designer takes care of sets, make-up, costumes, locations and visual feel of the movie. He has done a tremendous job to make the film look authentic. Dialogues which mostly written in Telangana dialect are good. The production values by Annapurna studios are good.
Analysis: This is not a kind of movie where we dissect first half and second half. It is the story of a small girl who goes through the pain to achieve something for her and for her village. Nagarjuna’s image will help the movie to attract the crowds. But it is the girl who steals your heart. The lifeline of the movie is Annie’s characterization and MM Keeravani’s music. Action sequenced directed by Rajamouli are good. On the flip side, a tight screenplay would have made the movie more gripping. Rajanna is surely going to win awards for the performances and for the conviction at which the movie was made.
reviews of previous 5 films
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