First things first. When was the last time you heard a Telugu film song and got goosebumps? If it has been quite sometime, just listen to the number Veyi Veyi, debbaku debba… in Rajanna and hear Nagarjuna (playback by Revanth) sing with anger and passion and dance to the beats of a dappu and your whole body is sure to be filled with a compelling urge emotion to revolt. In For Rajanna, music by M.M. Keeravani is a big asset, along with . The other notable factor in the movie is the performance of the little orphan girl Mallamma (played by Annie).
The story is set during 1947 when India attained its independence but the princely state of Hyderabad was still under the rule of had the Nizam’s rule and `razakars’ and the mighty ‘doras’ or zamindars, who controlled the poor villagers. One such village is Nelakondapalli where Mallamma grows up, ignorant of oblivious to the fact that she is the daughter of Rajanna, (Nagarjuna plays the character inspired by Suddala Hanumanthu ) a freedom fighter who had inspired people to revolt against their oppressors with his songs.
Mallamma is brought up by a villager and once when she accompanies him to the house of the ‘dorasani’ (Shweta Menon), her spontaneous singing invites the wrath of the dorasani. The music teacher (played by Nasser) tells her that it is only Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who can bring about a change in their lives. The determined girl, with a bag in her hand, sets off to Delhi on by foot. She reaches Delhi and is set to participate in a music competition. Here, the movie steps back in time and goes on a flashback mode to introduce us to Rajanna, the balladeer and a freedom fighter and his four friends.
The scenes hover around the atrocities committed by the ‘doras’ and how Rajanna inspires the people to revolt. Some scenes are beautifully etched and look like a canvas of colours (especially the songs). The cinematography (Shyam K Naidu and Anil Bhandari) is splendid and Rajamouli leaves puts his distinctive stamp on the action scenes. Out of the performances, Nagarjuna fits into the role of a balladeer with ease and Sneha makes her presence felt in the second half.
All the other actors have put up a good performance and Annie will be the child actor to watch out for. Be it her confident expressions, her innocence, or her determination… there is hardly a scene where the little girl does not make has not made a mark. For a the generation next constantly fed on with sugar candy movies, Rajanna will definitely be a different film to watch. It is a moving tale of the atrocities committed by the feudal lords and a reminder of the sacrifices made by Indians for its freedom.
The movie is an honest attempt, so go with the pace (which is little slow) and watch reality unfold on the big screen.