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RRR (film)

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RRR
RRR Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byS. S. Rajamouli
Screenplay byS. S. Rajamouli
Story byV. Vijayendra Prasad
Dialogue by
Produced byD. V. V. Danayya
Starring
CinematographyK. K. Senthil Kumar
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Music byM. M. Keeravani
Production
company
Distributed by
Release date
  • 25 March 2022 (2022-03-25)
Running time
182 minutes[1][2]
CountryIndia
LanguageTelugu
Budget550 crore (US$72 million)[3]
Box officeest. 1,132 crore (US$150 million)[4]

RRR[note 1] is a 2022 Indian Telugu-language epic action drama film directed by S. S. Rajamouli who wrote the film with V. Vijayendra Prasad. It is produced by D. V. V. Danayya of DVV Entertainment. The film stars N. T. Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Shriya Saran, Samuthirakani, Ray Stevenson, Alison Doody, and Olivia Morris. It is a fictional story about two Indian revolutionaries, Alluri Sitarama Raju (Charan) and Komaram Bheem (Rama Rao), and their fight against the British Raj. Set in 1920, the plot explores the undocumented period in their lives when both the revolutionaries chose to go into oblivion before they began the fight for their country.

Rajamouli came across stories about the lives of Rama Raju and Bheem and connected the coincidences between them, imagining what would have happened had they met, and been friends. The film was formally announced in March 2018. Principal photography of the film began in November 2018 in Hyderabad which went on until August 2021, owing to the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was shot extensively across India, with a few sequences in Ukraine and Bulgaria. The film's soundtrack and background score is composed by M. M. Keeravani with cinematography by K. K. Senthil Kumar and editing by A. Sreekar Prasad. Sabu Cyril is the film's production designer whilst V. Srinivas Mohan supervised the visual effects.

Made on a budget of 550 crore (US$72 million), RRR was initially scheduled for theatrical release on 30 July 2020, which has been deferred multiple times due to production delays and followed by the pandemic. The film was released theatrically on 25 March 2022, and opened to positive reviews from the critics with praise for the performances and screenplay. With 240 crore (US$31 million) worldwide on its first day, RRR broke the record for the highest opening-day collection earned by an Indian film. The film grossed over 1,132 crore (US$150 million) worldwide, setting several box office records for an Indian film, including the second highest-grossing film in India and the third highest-grossing Indian film during its theatrical run.

Plot

In 1920, British Governor Scott and his wife Catherine visit a forest in Adilabad and forcefully take away Malli, a young girl with a gift for singing, from the Gond tribe. The tribe's protector Komaram Bheem tracks her down to Delhi, disguising himself as Akhtar, a Muslim with the help of a family in search of her. The Nizamate of Hyderabad warns Scott's office about Bheem's mission. Police officer A. Rama Raju volunteers to catch Bheem in order to get a promotion. He attends a meeting of independence activists and proposes to assassinate Scott. Bheem's aide Lachhu asks Ram to join them. However, he flees after realising that Ram is a police officer.

Ram and Bheem coincidentally meet, working together to save a boy caught in a train crash. They bond with each other while hiding their original identity. Ram helps Bheem to get close to Scott's niece Jenny. Bheem visits the governor's palace on Jenny's invitation, where he silently meets Malli and assures her rescue. Ram captures Lachhu, torturing him in vain to find information about Bheem. Lachhu gets hold of a banded krait snake and throws it onto Ram. Lacchu warns Ram that its bite will quickly kill him without antivenom, known only to the Gond people. Ram finds his way to Bheem, who treats him and confesses his true identity and mission to him. Bheem and his men break into the palace with a truck full of wild animals. Ram arrives as an officer and confronts Bheem who fights him off and attempts to rescue Malli. Ram stops him while Scott holds Malli hostage at point-blank range, forcing Bheem to surrender.

In a flashback, Ram's father, Venkata Ramaraju, is shown to be a rebel who sacrificed his life fighting the British. Ram promised a dying Venkata that he would deliver guns to everyone taking part in the rebellion, and then infiltrated the colonial police in an attempt to secure those weapons. Ram is promoted for capturing Bheem, who is sentenced to death via public execution. During a brutal public flogging session conducted by Ram, Scott offers Bheem mercy if he kneels and recants his crimes but Bheem refuses despite being heavily injured. He sings a defiant song that inspires a popular uprising. Ram is informed that he will be placed in charge of a large arms shipment, granting him the opportunity to steal a large amount of British guns. However, Ram feels guilty and decides to use the opportunity to save Bheem and Malli instead. He asks Scott to execute Bheem on the outskirts of the city, during which he stages an ambush. Scott recognises this ploy and injures Ram. Bheem frees himself and fights the remaining guards while Ram shoots and kills a guard menacing Malli. Misinterpreting this to be an attack, Bheem knocks out Ram and escapes with Malli.

A few months later, Bheem and his men are hiding in Hathras. When British soldiers arrive looking for Bheem, Sita, Ram's cousin and fiancée, senses the danger and drives away the British by telling them that the building is housing smallpox patients. She tells Bheem that Ram now faces a death sentence for saving his best friend. Bheem regrets his actions and promises Sita that he will rescue Ram. Bheem sneaks into the barracks with the help of blueprints given by Jenny. He frees Ram from the prison, mounting him on his shoulders to transport him. Together, they fight the police and escape. As Bheem treats Ram in the woods, they are ambushed by police and special forces soldiers. Ram takes a bow and arrows from a shrine of Lord Rama and retaliates. Bheem joins him with a spear. They fight off the soldiers and head towards the palace, eventually destroying the building by blasting a motorcycle into a room full of TNT. Bheem retrieves a massive cache of guns and delivers them to Ram. Catherine is killed in the chaos while Scott is killed by Ram and Bheem. They reunite with Sita, Jenny, and their allies. Ram promises to educate Bheem. Ram returns to his village and delivers the weapons, fulfilling his promise, while Bheem returns to his hamlet, reuniting Malli with her mother.

Cast

Production

Development

In October 2017, in an interview with Variety, S. S. Rajamouli announced two projects after Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017) with producers D. V. V. Danayya of DVV Entertainment and K. L. Narayana. Rajamouli prioritised his work on the former, which was touted to be a social drama film, and which would be followed by Narayana's production with actor Mahesh Babu.[5] In November 2017, Rajamouli shared a picture with N. T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan through his social media handles, hinting their inclusion in the film.[6]

The film was officially announced in March 2018,[7] with the tentative title RRR, an abbreviation for Rajamouli, Ram Charan, and Rama Rao.[8] The tentative title RRR was later confirmed to be the film's official title as Rajamouli felt that a universal title across the languages was essential for a film of such scale.[9][10] Rajamouli's father V. Vijayendra Prasad gave the original story and Rajamouli scripted the film, which he worked on for six months.[11] In September 2018, writer Sai Madhav Burra was signed for the dialogues for the film in the primary language (Telugu),[12] whereas dialogues in other versions were written by Madhan Karky (Tamil),[13] Varadaraju Chikkaballapura (Kannada), Mamkombu Gopalakrishnan (Malayalam) and Riya Mukherjee (Hindi).[14][failed verification] Rajamouli retained several technicians from his previous projects. The crew consists of M. M. Keeravani as the music director, K. K. Senthil Kumar as the director of photography, A. Sreekar Prasad as the film editor, Sabu Cyril as the production designer, V. Srinivas Mohan handling the visual effects supervision, and Rama Rajamouli as the costume designer.[15] Nick Powell was the stunt director for the film, and handled the choreography for the climax action sequences in the film.[16]

Prior to the start of film production, both Rama Rao and Charan had attended a special workshop in mid-November 2018, in order to train physically and intensively for their roles in the film.[17][18] In March 2019, Rajamouli revealed that the film's core idea came from The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), saying that he was fascinated by "how a character named Che transforms into a revolutionary called Guevara and have structured the characters of my protagonists around a common point, on similar lines". Charan plays Alluri Sitarama Raju and Rama Rao plays Komaram Bheem. The plot explores their stay in Delhi of the 1920s before they begin the fight for their country; however, the story is entirely fictitious.[19] He added that there had a coincidence between the two Telugu tribal leaders and the events surrounding over them.[20]

When I read about Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem, it was exciting to know that their story is similar. They never met each other. What if they had met? What if they had got inspired by each other? That is what RRR is about. It is completely fictitious. The film is mounted on a very large scale. We had to do a lot of research for it. To know costumes, their dialect, their way of living and that is why it took so much time for us to get this together.

— S. S. Rajamouli[21]

Casting

Alia Bhatt (top), Ray Stevenson (middle) and Ajay Devgn (bottom) have made their debut in Telugu cinema (Tollywood) through the film.

In March 2019, Rajamouli finalized the cast. The film marks the Telugu debut[citation needed] of Ajay Devgn and Alia Bhatt.[22][23] Bhatt was paired opposite Charan in the role of Sita, while Devgn would have an extended cameo.[24] Tamil actor Samuthirakani was roped in to play a crucial role.[23] British actress Daisy Edgar-Jones was signed to be paired opposite Rama Rao,[23] however, she left the project in April 2019 citing personal reasons.[25] Olivia Morris was cast as her replacement in November 2019. The same month, Hollywood actor Ray Stevenson of Thor fame, was cast as the lead antagonist Scott, with Alison Doody roped in to play Lady Scott.[26] Chakri, Varun Buddhadev and Spandan Chaturvedi were the child artists for the film.[27]

In an interview with Deadline Hollywood, Rama Rao said that they had carried out major research to portray their characters on screen. He was put on an 18-month training programme to get the right physical appearance.[28] The Hans India reported in March 2019 that Devgn will appear in the second half of the film during the flashback episodes, with his screen time being around 40 minutes.[29] In June 2020, a report in Mumbai Mirror claimed that Devgn will be playing the role of a nationalist and a guru (transl. mentor) of Komaram Bheem and Alluri Sitarama Raju.[30] Reports claimed that Keerthy Suresh and Priyamani were approached for a role in the film,[31][32] before Shriya Saran confirmed her role opposite Devgn in June 2020.[33] Rahul Ramakrishna,[34] Chatrapathi Sekhar[35] and Rajeev Kanakala are cast in other supporting roles.[36][better source needed]

In June 2020, Bhatt was trolled by the netizens following the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, where she was accused of nepotism. A few fans also called to replace Bhatt in RRR.[37][38] However, Bhatt denied the news of her leaving the film and being replaced by Priyanka Chopra,[39] and joined the sets in December 2020.[40] She learnt to speak Telugu for the film.[41][42]

Design

Sabu Cyril served as the production designer for RRR.[15] Prior to starting the first shooting schedule, the team had constructed a set at an aluminium factory located in Hyderabad, for filming an action sequence.[43][44] A manduva house was constructed for the film actors and technicians. A 5-minute walk away from the film's shooting location, a building was deciphered as Rajamouli's new office, allotting individual rooms for the cast members and a huge discussion space at the centre of the house. Separate blocks were dedicated for music sittings, editing, story discussions, training rooms and costumes, with mini-warehouses for storing properties and equipment.[copyright violation?][45] The Aluminium factory set designed was considered the major filming location[citation needed] where the first schedule of the film's shooting was held.[43] In June 2020, it was reported that 180 million (US$2.4 million) was spent for a set replicating an entire village in Gandipet, where the team planned to film the sequences in this location post-COVID-19 lockdown.[46] A set resembling the 20th-century Delhi was recreated at the Ramoji Film City,[40] where the team had undergone an extensive action schedule for 50 days, which involved night shoots.[47] Another huge set was constructed by the art direction crew for a song shoot featuring Charan and Bhatt.[48] The song was reported to replicate the 1920s period and had a historical touch.[citation needed] The promotional music video for the film titled "Dosti"[citation needed] was filmed in July 2021, at a specially constructed set at the Annapurna Studios designed by Sabu Cyril and photographed by Dinesh Krishnan.[citation needed][49][50]

Principal photography

The film's launch event with a puja ceremony was held on 11 November 2018, which saw the attendance of noted personalities from the Telugu film industry,[51] including Prabhas and Rana Daggubati, whom had worked with Rajamouli in the Baahubali franchise.[52][53] Principal photography of the film commenced on 19 November 2018 in Hyderabad at a specially erected set at an Aluminium factory in the location.[43][44] It is the first Indian film to be shot on Arri Alexa LF and Arri Signature Prime lens.[54] The filming schedule was completed on 6 December 2018.[55] The team took a brief break before commencing the film's second schedule on 21 January 2019 at Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.[56] An action sequence consisting of 1000 artists was filmed during February 2019.[57] An extensive schedule was filmed in Vadodara for 10 days in March 2019.[58] Another schedule was planned in Pune, Maharashtra, however, it was called off following Charan's injury on the sets.[59] Rama Rao too faced a minor injury on the sets,[60] resulting the team to take a break during the schedule.[61]

Araku Valley, where the parts of the film were shot, including the opening scenes

After their recovery, an action sequence featuring Charan, Rama Rao and 2000 junior artists was shot, reportedly at a cost more than 450 million (US$5.9 million).[62] Introductory sequences of Rama Rao and Charan costed the production upwards of 400 million (US$5.2 million), a sum considered higher than the total budget of many small Indian films.[63] In August 2019, the production headed to Bulgaria to film the second schedule where the crew shot crucial scenes featuring Rama Rao.[64] The shoot was stalled during October 2019 as Rajamouli had to attend a screening of Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) at the Royal Albert Hall in London.[65]

In November 2019, two key sequences[citation needed] and a song featuring Rama Rao and Charan were filmed at the Ramoji Film City.[66] The film's official social media handle tweeted that 70% of the film's shoot had been wrapped as of November.[67] Rama Rao headed to the Modakondamma Temple forest area in the PaderuAraku road to film a 5-day sequence in December 2019.[68][69][needs copy edit] In January 2020, Charan began shooting for the film at the Vikarabad forest region, where an extensive night shoot was filmed for a week.[69] Ajay Devgn joined the film's shooting schedule on 21 January 2020 and wrapped his portions during February.[citation needed][70] The film was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.[71] After the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana granted permission to resume film shooting during June 2020,[72] a 2-day trial shoot was planned, but it was halted following the spike in COVID-19 cases in Hyderabad.[73] The filming was resumed in early October 2020 following the ease of the COVID-19 lockdown in India,[74] and Rajamouli shot for the promotional teaser for the film, titled "Ramaraju for Bheem", during this schedule.[75] Abiding to social restrictions related to the pandemic, the production unit was accommodated in a hotel in Madhapur and were barred from coming into contact with outsiders not belonging to the production.[74]

In late-October, the team canned night shoots for the film and stills were revealed by the official social media handles for the film under the tagline #RRRDiaries.[76][77][78] The action sequences, which took place for 50 days, were completed within November 2020,[47] and the production moved to Mahabaleshwar to film a brief schedule in November 2020,[79] and completed within 5 days.[80] Alia Bhatt began filming her portions in December 2020,[81] and key scenes were filmed in Hyderabad during the same month. The filming of the climax scenes began in January 2021.[82][83] Action director Nick Powell choreographed a few climax war-sequences in March 2021.[84] A special song shoot was held during March 2021, which featured Charan and Bhatt.[48] Though the filming was halted again due to the second wave of COVID-19,[85] it was resumed in June 2021.[86] In June 2021, the makers announced that except for two songs, the filming was completed and Charan and Rama Rao had completed their dubbing work in two languages,[87] and had completed the talkie portions for the film.[88] In August 2021, the final schedule of the film took place in Ukraine.[89] The song "Naatu Naatu" was shot during the schedule at Kyiv.[90] Barring a few shots, the entire shoot was completed on 26 August 2021.[91] In an article published in March 2022, by News18, it was reported that at least 3000 technicians have worked on RRR, while nine co-directors also contributed to the film. It took over 300 days to complete the shooting of the film. About 75 days had been allotted to film the action sequences, and 40 fighters from other countries took part in the film. At least 2500 crew people were also hired from London. Overseas locations including Netherlands was also used for shooting some important sequences.[92]

RRR began with a budget of between 3.5 billion (US$49.7 million) and 4 billion (US$56.8 million) in 2019.[93] However, the budget was overrun by around 1.5 billion (US$20 million) due to the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the film's final budget estimated to be 5.5 billion (US$72 million).[94][3] In March 2022, according to the producer's application to the Government of Andhra Pradesh for ticket price hikes, the film's budget was 3.36 billion (US$44 million) excluding the Goods and Services Tax and the remunerations of the director and star cast.[95]

Post-production

Post-production of the film began simultaneously with the wrapping-up and continuation of film production. The dubbing process began during April 2020, with Rama Rao and Charan dubbing their portions for the film from their homes, and thus being the first persons to do so.[96][97] Both actors gave voiceovers for each other's introduction teasers.[98][99] In June 2021, the film producers reported that both actors had completed dubbing for the film.[100] On 26 August 2021, after filming was completed, the film entered into an extensive post-production phase.[101] With three years already invested in the film, Rajamouli's decision to spend less time in post-production compared to his other films was due to future commitments, rising production costs, and filming postponements caused by COVID-19 restrictions.[102] The dubbing works were completed by late October 2021.[103] Both Rama Rao and Charan dubbed their lines for four languages for the film, namely, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Kannada.[104]

Srinivas Mohan is the visual effects supervisor of the film, along with Framestore and the Moving Picture Company (MPC), the film's principal visual effects studio.[105] Alzahra VFX, NY VFXWaala, Redefine, Knack Studios, Makuta VFX, Digital Domain, Rhythm and Hues Studios, Method Studios, Rodeo FX, Technicolor VFX, Legend3D, The Third Floor, Inc, Clear Angle Studios, Halon Entertainment, 4DMax, and Cinesite, among others, are responsible for some of the other visual effects in the film. In an interview, Mohan discussed the utilization of pre-visualization, gammage[definition needed], lidar scanning, and light stage technology in the film.[106] Extensive visual effects work took place for more than six months during the post-production process.[11]

The final copy of the film was ready by late November 2021, and was submitted to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) that month.[107] On 9 December 2021, the film received a U/A certificate from the Censor Board, with a finalized runtime of 187 minutes.[108]

Themes and influences

RRR is about an "imaginary friendship between two superheroes," according to Rajamouli.[109] He has said that the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, his home state, also had an impact in the conception of the film. "I had this thought that Komaram Bheem is from the Telangana region and Alluri Sitarama Raju is from the Andhra region. So, if I can bring those two heroes together, it’s my way of saying we are one, we are not separate," Rajamouli told Variety following the film's release.[110]

RRR borrows from the India's two major Hindu mythological epics — Ramayana and Mahabharata. Alluri Sitarama Raju shares the qualities of supple and skilled Rama of Ramayana while Komaram Bheem is equivalent to muscular and immovable Bhima of Mahabharata. Like Rama Raju and Komaram Bheem, Rama and Bhima never met in mythology. The abduction of Sita, which is the central theme of Ramayana plays out in reverse in RRR, with Rama Raju being captured following a series of events. Komaram Bheem (who is also modeled after Hanuman), carries a message from Sita, and saves Rama Raju.[111]

The Indian Express's Manoj Kumar wrote that unlike other Rajamouli's films, RRR addresses worldly matters such as "racism, shared history of freedom struggle among different communities and the need for interfaith brotherhood."[112] An article was published by The Times of India in April 2022 writing about how pan-Indian films such as RRR are promoting violence. Speaking about the issue, writer V. Vijayendra Prasad told that "The aggression for righteousness is not violence and I can only talk for my movies such as ‘RRR’, not for cinema made by other filmmakers. If British people were violating the fundamental rights of Indians, obviously people should have fought for their rights. You can't call this violence. If you find an unarmed person is getting hurt then you may call it violence. The numbers that these films manage prove that action is a must for pan-India movies. A producer is not publishing a book here, he is investing crores of rupees in making a movie, he’ll think of the ingredients that will bring back his money. Therefore, what we have shown in ‘RRR’ is action, not violence. And our movies are only a reflection of those days and its society. If all my stories are set in the period action genre, it’s just a coincidence".[113]

Katie Rife of Polygon in her review of the film, felt that — betrayal, loyalty and legacy are the major themes of the film. Also, she opined that "RRR is relatively light on music and romance, devoting much of its screen time to visual spectacle, gonzo action, and patriotic zeal. The dynamic between Bheem and Raju has shades of the macho bromance of John Woo’s 1980s movies, until the film transforms into a superhero team-up".[114] MensXP in their article praising Rajamouli, opined that strong representation of heroism in the film was one of the key reasons for the film's success. The author of the article further wrote that "heroism was one aspect that Bollywood used to own back in the ‘70s & ‘80s. However, in the ‘90s, and post ‘00s, Hindi cinema started looking towards the west for inspiration & that’s when Telugu cinema came and conquered that market. And that momentum was led by SS Rajamouli".[115]

Music

Rajamouli's regular collaborator M. M. Keeravani is composing the score and the soundtrack of the film.[116] The audio rights of the film were purchased for 250 million (US$3.3 million), by Lahari Music and T-Series, which was a record price for a South Indian album.[117] Lahari Music distributed the soundtrack in all of the South Indian languages, whereas the Hindi soundtrack is marketed by T-Series.[118]

Marketing

Left to right: Rajamouli, Charan, Bhatt, Rama Rao and Danayya at the trailer launch event of the film's Tamil version in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

The filmmakers invited fans to enter a naming contest by submitting their suggestions for the title of RRR in various languages.[119][120] On 25 March 2020, the titles for RRR were revealed: Raudraṁ Raṇaṁ Rudhiraṁ in Telugu,[121] Rattam Raṇam Rauttiram in Tamil,[122] Raudra Raṇa Rudhira in Kannada, Rudhiram Raṇam Raudhram in Malayalam (all of which translate to 'Rage, War, Blood') and Rise Roar Revolt in Hindi.[123]

The official social media handle for the film was launched during the film's announcement.[124][125] During the second wave of COVID-19, the movie crew converted the official handle into a COVID-19 helpline offering information regarding the availability of emergency services in Telugu-speaking states as well as safety tips.[126] In August 2021, the team announced that Rama Rao would manage the official Instagram handle for the film.[127] In October 2021, PVR Cinemas announced that more than 850 of its screens would be re-branded as "PVRRR" until the release and run of the film. That same month, Rajamouli and the PVR team unveiled the company's re-branded logo.[128][129] After the song "Naatu Naatu" was released in November 2021,[130] the hook step choreographed by Prem Rakshith and performed by Charan and Rama Rao in the music video went viral.[131] Many have recreated the hook step by recording themselves dancing to the song and posting their videos on social media.[132]

On 22 October 2020 a teaser trailer was released, titled "Ramaraju for Bheem", coinciding with Komaram Bheem's 119th birth anniversary.[133] A controversy was sparked over portrayal of Bheem's character.[134][135] In the video, Rama Rao was seen wearing a skull cap, applying kohl on to his eyes and appearing dressed as a Muslim man.[136] Members from the tribal community of Adilabad and a few netizens have opposed this representation of an Adivasi leader from the Gond tribe, as a Muslim man.[137][138] In November 2020, during a by-election campaign at Dubbaka, Bharatiya Janata Party's Telangana president Bandi Sanjay Kumar warned Rajamouli,[139] and threatened that his cadre will vandalize the theatres and his properties, if he intended to hurt the sentiments of Hindus.[140][141] Later, in an interview with Film Companion's Anupama Chopra in July 2021, writer Vijayendra Prasad clarified about the Bheem's appearance in the film, saying, "He is being [hunted] by the Nizam of Hyderabad. So, he is trying to escape the people from Nizam police. So, what is the best camouflage? Simple. He is playing a Muslim boy in that time so that he won't be [caught]."[142]

The official trailer was initially scheduled to be released on 3 December 2021,[143] but was postponed and released on 8 December 2021 in five languages, including Telugu.[144][145] Trailer launch events were held for the five versions of the film in Mumbai (Hindi),[146] Chennai (Tamil and Malayalam),[147] Bengaluru (Kannada)[148] and Hyderabad (Telugu).[149] On 19 December 2021, a pre-release event was held at Gurukul Ground near Film City in Mumbai to promote the film's Hindi version.[150] Hosted by Karan Johar, the team invited Salman Khan as the chief guest.[150] The television streaming rights for the event were acquired by Zee Network. It was telecasted on Zee TV, Zee Cinema and Zee Cinemalu on 31 December 2021.[151] The next day, it was made available on YouTube. To promote the film's Tamil version, a pre-release event was held on 27 December 2021 at Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai.[152][153] Udhayanidhi Stalin and Sivakarthikeyan were the chief guests of the event.[154] On 29 December 2021, the team took part in the Malayalam version's pre-release event held at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.[155] Tovino Thomas was the chief guest of the event.[156][157] Soon after, the film's release and promotional activities were postponed. The film producers faced a loss of between 180 million (US$2.4 million) and 200 million (US$2.6 million) in promotions, as the film's release was delayed again due to COVID-19.[158][159]

After the film's final release date was announced in late-January 2022, promotions and marketing of the film were restarted. At first, a music video "Etthara Jenda" (in Telugu) was released as RRR Celebration Anthem on 14 March 2022. The song featured Rama Rao, Ram Charan and Alia Bhatt prasing the freedom fighters from various regions of India.[160][161] According to The Times of India, Bhuvan Bam was hired to be part of film's promotions in late 2021.[162] Later, in March 2022 a video was released on Bhuvan Bam's Youtube channel, in which he interviewed Rajamouli, Rama Rao and Ram Charan as part of his show Titu Talks.[163]

Soon after, the team has planned a promotional tour across nine cities on six days starting from 18 March 2022 to 23 March 2022.[164] On the first day of the tour, the team incluidng Rajamouli, Rama Rao and Ram Charan headed to Dubai to participate in an event held at the Dubai Exhibition Centre in Indian Pavilon (as part of the Expo 2020).[165][166] The next day, the team returned to India and attended a press conference in Bangalore.[167][168] On the same day, to promote the Telugu and Kannada versions of the film, a pre-release event was held at Agalagurki in Chikkaballapura district of Karnataka.[169][170] It was organised by the film's Karnataka distribution company KVN Productions.[171] Chief minister of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommai was the chief guest of the event. The other guests of the event were Shiva Rajkumar, Kanyaboyina Sudhakar (MLA of Chikballapur and Health minister of Karnataka).[172] Suma Kanakala and Anushree have hosted the event. The following day, the team toured Baroda and Delhi.[173] At first, the team visited Statue of Unity making it the first film to visitfor promotions.[174] The same day, an event was held by film's Hindi distrubutor Jayantilal Gada, at the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi where the cast and crew interacted with the media and fans. Aamir Khan was the chief guest of the event.[175] On the fifth day, the team toured Kolkata and Varanasi.[176][177] The team visited the Howrah Bridge in Kolkata and interacted with the local media to promote their film in the region,[178][179] followed by performing the Ganga aarti in Varanasi.[180][181]

Release

Theatrical

RRR was scheduled to have special premieres across India and the United States on 24 March 2022[182][183] before its worldwide theatrical release on 25 March.[184][185] Earlier, it was scheduled to be theatrically released on 30 July 2020.[186] However, in February 2020,[187] the release date was revised to 8 January 2021, a week prior to the Sankranthi festival (14 January 2021).[188][189] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, which led to production disruption, the film's release was put on hold.[190] Rajamouli said that the new release date would be confirmed after the completion of shooting.[191] On the eve of Republic Day (25 January 2021), a 13 October 2021 release date, coinciding with the eve of Dusshera weekend, was announced[192][193] The release date was again deferred, citing theatrical restrictions across the world due to the second wave of COVID-19 and its aftermath.[194][195]

In early October 2021, the theatrical release date was changed to 7 January 2022, ahead of the Sankranthi festival.[196] However, a week before the release, the film producers announced that the film's release would be postponed indefinitely due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, fuelled by the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant.[197][198] In mid-January, two tentative release dates were announced pending the pandemic situation: 18 March 2022 and 28 April 2022.[199][200] Later, the producers finalized a 25 March 2022 release date.[201] The film was intended to be released in Telugu along with the dubbed versions in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and other Indian and foreign languages in 2D, 3D and IMAX formats.[202][203] It is the first Indian film to be released in Dolby Cinema format.[204]

In January 2022, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Telangana High Court to restrain the film for being released, alleging that the film distorts history of Alluri Sita Rama Raju and Komaram Bheem.[205] The High Court quashed the petition in March, observing that film did not tarnish the reputation of two revolutionaries as claimed.[206]

Following political and film industry backlash after reducing ticket prices last year, Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy issued a ticket price hike in Andhra Pradesh in mid-March 2022.[207][208] Per Cinematography Minister Perni Venkataramaiah, the filmmakers received government approval to increase ticket prices by 75 (98¢ US) during the first ten days after the film's 25 March release.[209]

Screenings and statistics

In November 2021, The Times of India reported that RRR would premiere on over 10,000 screens worldwide, the "highest for an Indian film".[210] In India, the film was estimated to show on over 2,300 screens, with the Telugu version premiering on over 1,000 screens.[211] The Hindi version was reported to showcase on over 793 screens and the Tamil version on over 291 screens.[211] The Kannada and Malayalam-dubbed versions were scheduled for 66 and 62 screens, respectively.[211] The film was set to show on over 1,000 screens in the United Kingdom, including BFI IMAX, the largest cinema screen in the United Kingdom.[212] The film was slated to screen at over 1,150 locations in the United States in around 3,000 theatres and 1,000-odd multiplexes across the country, which was claimed to be a record for an Indian film.[213][214]

The film was planned to be released in IMAX, 3D and Dolby Cinema.[215][216] According to trade sources, the film would screen in over 21 IMAX screens in India and over 100 IMAX theatres overseas, a first for an Indian film.[183] RRR is also the first Indian film to be released in Dolby Cinema in overseas theatres.[216] Sarigama Cinemas, which distributed the film in the United States, planned the film's premiere in large-format resolution DCP at Cinemark XD, also a first for an Indian film.[217]

Distribution

Originally, the film made a pre-release earning of 400 crore (US$52 million),[218][219] but the revised pre-release deal was later revealed to be 890 crore (US$120 million), the highest for any Indian film to date.[220][221] The domestic theatrical rights in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana regions were reported to be under 165 crore (US$22 million).[222] In February 2021,[223] Lyca Productions acquired the film's theatrical distribution rights from Tamil Nadu for 48 crore (US$6.3 million).[224][225] The following month, Pen Studios acquired the theatrical rights for North India under the Pen Marudhar Entertainment banner, in addition to electronic, satellite and digital rights for all language versions.[226][227] The deal for the North Indian theatrical release rights were reported to be under 140 crore (US$18 million).[228] The Kerala theatrical rights were acquired by Shibu Thameens, with Riya Shibu presenting the film under the HR Studios banner. Thameens bought the film's distribution rights for 15 crore (US$2.0 million).[229] The Karnataka theatrical rights were purchased by KVN Entertainment for 45 crore (US$5.9 million).[220] The overseas rights were sold to Phars Films for 70 crore (US$9.2 million).[230][231]

Home media

In May 2021, Pen Studios announced that the film's digital rights for Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada versions are acquired by ZEE5[232] while Hindi, English, Portuguese, Korean, Turkish and Spanish versions are acquired by Netflix.[233] Zee Network acquired the satellite rights of the Hindi version and Star India Network acquired the satellite rights of the film's Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada versions.[234][235] The combined deal of post-theatrical streaming and satellite rights were reported to be in the region of 325 crore (US$43 million).[236] The film is scheduled to stream on ZEE5 on 20 May 2022 in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada languages.[237]

Critical reception

RRR opened to positive reviews from the critics, praising the performances and screenplay by Rajamouli.[238] On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 86% based on 21 reviews, with an average score of 7.40 out of 10.[239]

India

Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave the film a rating of 4/5 termed RRR a solid entertainer that "doesn't make you restless, despite a marathon run time. The screenplay is wonderfully constructed, the twists and turns are attention grabbing and the nail-biting episodes as well as superbly executed action."[240] Roktim Rajpal of Deccan Herald gave the film a rating of 4/5 and wrote "The action-packed climax again hits the right notes as the visuals do the talking, the hallmark of good storytelling".[241] Neeshita Nyayapati of The Times of India gave the film a rating of 3.5/5 and wrote "RRR is not perfection by any means (despite Rajamouli’s best efforts) because after the way he pulls off certain scenes, you wonder if he could’ve done a better job in certain others. But watch this one this weekend if you’ve been pining for a good action packed drama".[242]

Himesh Mankad of Pinkvilla gave the film a rating of 3.5/5 and wrote "RRR has the best action sequences to offer in an Indian film with an unimaginable interval block and a roaring finale".[243] Janani K of India Today gave the film a rating of 3.5/5 and wrote "RRR is a terrific film with brilliant performances and amazing set-pieces".[244] A reviewer from Deccan Chronicle gave the film a rating of 3.5/5and wrote "RRR is a fantastic film that’s meant for the big screen".[245] Latha Srinivasan of Firstpost gave the film a rating of 3.5/5 and wrote "Ram Charan and Jr NTR's offscreen friendship and camaraderie seep into their onscreen performances, and the organic transformation from strangers to brothers-in-arms has been captured beautifully".[246] Sowmya Rajendran of The News Minute gave the film a rating of 3.5/5 and wrote "RRR is just the kind of visual treat that will bring people back to theatres".[247] Bharathi Pradhan of Lehren gave the film a rating of 3.5/5 and wrote "SSR rescues his adventure with a smorgasbord of skilfully choreographed, shot and performed action pieces that have you cheering lustily, the temporary boredom soon forgotten".[248]

Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gave the film a rating of 3.5/5 and wrote "The film casts not just one super-star, but two of them – Jr NTR and Ram Charan. The biggest super-star among them all is SS Rajamouli and the audience also saved the loudest ‘taalis’ (claps) for him".[249] Prateek Sur of Outlook India gave the film a rating of 3.5/5 and wrote "The film’s grand representation is what makes this a Must Watch".[250] Stutee Ghosh of The Quint gave the film a rating of 3/5 and wrote "Parts of RRR seem Ridiculous and Reductive it's also absolutely Ravishing and for that it deserves to be seen and enjoyed".[251] Rahul Devulapalli of The Week gave the film a rating of 3/5 and wrote "Visually stunning action sequences, exceptionally synchronised dance moves stand out".[252]

Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave the film a rating of 2/5 and wrote "The film rings hollow because it never pauses for breath and does not grant its two male protagonists anything akin to recognizable human qualities although they do constantly harp on love and longing".[253] Sukanya Verna of Rediff gave the film a rating of 2/5 and wrote "A copious amount of blood, beating, crying, saving, sacrificing, nationalism fills up its staggering three hours running time. Emotions run sky high, but you feel nothing.[254] Monika Rawal Kukreja of Hindustan Times stated "SS Rajamouli gets so much right in his latest film starring Jr NTR and Ram Charan".[255]

International

Calling RRR "bigger than Ben-Hur," Deadline Hollywood's Stephanie Bunbury wrote: "RRR is one action crescendo after another, never dull but not exhausting either."[256] In her review for Polygon, Katie Rife stated: "RRR is a busy movie, full of kinetic camerawork, bustling crowd scenes, elaborate set design, expensive-looking CGI, and loud sound effects."[257] Siddhant Adlakha of IndieWire praised Rajamouli's work, M. M. Keeravani's music and acting performances of lead actors. He further wrote that RRR outshines even the director's previous venture Baahubali.[258]

Reviewing the film for The Austin Chronicle, Josh Hurtado called RRR a "bromantic action nirvana." Hurtado stated that Rajamouli turned a "patriotic fantasy" into an "incredibly entertaining reality for fans of big action, big emotions, and big laughs."[259] Joe Leydon in his review for Variety felt RRR was "bigger-than-life and bolder-than-mainstream action-adventure epic."[260] Nicolas Rapold of The New York Times stated: "Rajamouli shoots the film’s action with hallucinogenic fervor, supercharging scenes with a shimmering brand of extended slow-motion and C.G.I. that feels less “generated” than unleashed."[261] Screen International's Tara Judah wrote that RRR was "big, bold and bombastic," feeling the film was "big screen entertainment at its best."[262]

Box office

As of 5 May 2021, RRR grossed 1,127 crore (US$150 million) worldwide, with around 406 crore (US$53 million) coming from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.[263] It is the fourth highest-grossing Indian film,[264] the third highest-grossing film in India,[265] the second highest-grossing Telugu film,[266] and the highest-grossing film in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.[267]

Taran Adarsh reported that the film had a worldwide gross of 223 crore (US$29 million) on its opening day.[268][269] The Times of India mentioned that the film collected 240 crore (US$31 million) on its opening day worldwide, setting the record for the highest first day total earned by an Indian film. This record was previously held by Rajamouli's Baahubali 2.[270] After the two days of run, the total worldwide gross stood at around 370 crore (US$49 million).[271]

In its opening weekend, it grossed between 450 crore (US$59 million) and 485 crore (US$64 million) worldwide, making it the second biggest opening weekend for an Indian film after Baahubali 2.[272][273] RRR also stood as the top grosser at the global box office during the weekend of 25–27 March 2022.[274] According to data from Screen Australia, the film collected A$2.43 million in its debut week from 133 centers. ABC Australia reported that it is a big debut at the Aussie box office for an Indian film and a non-English language film.[275] RRR's Hindi version domestic weekend collected a net of 74.5 crore (US$9.8 million), slightly lower than the post-pandemic record held by Sooryavanshi in the Hindi film market.[276]

In its first week, RRR grossed 710 crore (US$93 million) worldwide, of which 280 crore (US$37 million) is grossed in its home territory of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.[277] The film grossed 900 crore (US$120 million) worldwide in 10 days.[278][279] The same day, the film entered into profit zone with a distributors' share of 497 crore (US$65 million) by reaching its break even point of 453 crore (US$59 million).[278] In 10 days, RRR became the highest-grossing film in its home territory of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with a gross of over 300 crore (US$39 million), surpassing Baahubali 2.[280] RRR also became the first film to collect a distributor share over 100 crore (US$13 million) in the Nizam territory (Telangana).[281] RRR's Hindi dubbed version netted over 200 crore (US$26 million) in India in 13 days, making the second dubbed film to do so after Baahubali 2.[282]

RRR reached the 1,000 crore (US$130 million) gross mark in 16 days of its run, becoming the third highest-grossing Indian film after Dangal and Baahubali 2.[283] During this period, RRR grossed 382 crore (US$50 million) in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In the United States, the film grossed over US$13 million, becoming the second highest-grossing Indian film in US after Baahubali 2.[284] RRR also emerged as the highest-grossing Indian film in Australia with a gross of over AU$3.36 million.[285][286] By 22 April 2022, the film grossed US$4.30 million and US$2.30 million in the Middle East and Europe (including United Kingdom).[287] RRR also holds the record for the highest collection in a single screen for any Telugu film, grossing over ₹5 crore in Sudarshan 35 mm, Hyderabad.[288]

Future

Before the film's release, Rajamouli said that he had no intentions of making a sequel for RRR nor turning it into a franchise.[289] However, writer Vijayendra Prasad said that they started exploring the idea of sequel, and "If God is willing, it may happen sometime later."[290] Speaking with Variety, Rama Rao expressed his hope that the world of RRR would be continued as a franchise.[291]

Notes

  1. ^ The title's expanded form is Raudraṁ Raṇaṁ Rudhiraṁ in Telugu and Rise Roar Revolt in English, but it is commonly referred to as RRR.

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