After doing a lot of research and facing several hiccups during its production, filmmaker Gunasekhar finally released "Rudhramadevi" (Rudramadevi), a brilliant docu-drama with a few drawbacks.
"Rudhramadevi" is based on the life of Rudrama Devi, the queen of the Kakatiya Dynasty, who ruled from Orugallu, (today known as Warangal) circa 1259- 1289. She was a brave ruler with good administrative skills and brought several changes to the kingdom with her revolutionary rule.
Gunasekhar has done extensive research on the life of Rudrama Devi and created a wonderful story, making every Telugu-speaking person proud. In a bid to make it dramatic, the director has added some fictitious incidents and commercial elements like romance, glamour, and comedy to the screenplay. Some of the stuff appear to be forced in parts and make the film tedious.
The first half of the film is about how Emperor Ganapatideva (Krishnam Raju) is worried over other kings not accepting his daughter as his successor and how he hides her identity and brings her up as a son at a secret place in a remote forest on the advice of his Prime Minister, Shivadeviah (Prakash Raj).
The first half of the movie is crisp, fast-paced and very entertaining and the director has really done a brilliant job. He has taken the help of Megastar Chiranjeevi's voice-over and the character of renowned trader and traveller, Marco Polo, who accelerate the narration of the story. He is successful in holding the attention of viewers for over one hour.
But he fails in the next hour. The second half of the film is slow and dragging. Some elements, which he has used to intensify the emotional quotient fall flat and make the narration tedious, though it does not kill the viewers' interest. Gunasekhar manages to keep their curiosity alive till the end of the film.
Anushka Shetty has played the title role in "Rudhramadevi" and has done a brilliant performance. Her action and glamour are the big assets of the film. Allu Arjun plays her childhood friend Gona Ganna Reddy and his entry is enough to drive the Mega fans towards theatres.
Through it is a female-centric film, some scenes make you feel that it is all about the heroism of Bunny, who steals the show with his action and comic quotient that arises from his accent. He overshadows Anushka in some parts. During his scenes, Anushka looks dumb, which appears to be awkward and it could have been better if the director had avoided such situations.
Thirdly, the performance of Prakash Raj, who plays the Prime Minister, is big highlight of the film. He appears to be wiser than the King and has completely overshadowed Krishnam Raju. Gunasekhar has wasted talented actors like Rana Daggbati, Krishnam Raju, Nithya Menon and a few others by not giving them enough screen space. There is no justification for Rana and Nithya's roles, which end abruptly without having any proper conclusion.
Vikramjeet Virk, Suman, Adithya Menon, Aditi Chengappa, Catherine Tresa, Hamsa Nandini, Ajay, Baba Sehgal and Raza Murad are in the supporting cast of "Rudhramadevi". All of them have done justice to their roles.
"Rudhramadevi" has brilliant production values that are made on par with the Hollywood standards. It won't be an exaggeration to say that few of these elements are even better that of SS Rajamouli's "Baahubali: the Beginning".
Ilaiayaraja's music, Ajayan Vincent's camera work, VFX work, Tota Tharani's brilliant art direction, Neeta Lulla's costume designs and 3D effects in some parts are among the main attractions of the film. The war scenes of "Rudhramadevi" have been choreographed very well. Especially, the eagle and snake attacks, which have been created through the special effects, are amazing.
The movie has several shortcomings in its production due to its limited budget. A historical film of this nature needs a larger budget, but Gunasekhar has tried his best to tap out fantastic work from both the cast and crew. What he has achieved in a limited budget looks really great.
Verdict: Words cannot describe the experience of watching this action extravaganza. The film stands taller when compared to the standards of other Tollywood productions. In fact, It looks better than "Baahubali the Beginning" in some aspects. So it should be watched and enjoyed on the screen, especially in 3D.