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Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy Looks Like Kranti 2…Or Is It Mard Reloaded?

If I were  a Britisher I’d  take very strong exception to  the way  the ex-colonists are  portrayed  in Indian cinema. Barking caricatures, they  look  and behave like louts on a savage spree in tight red uniforms. In  Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, whose ambitious trailer  was  out this week, a Gora is  seen  hurling a  brown kid into  a fire.Tch tch.

 As  per  the  formula ,the Britishers as  the traditional formulistic foes, snarling  shouting and torturing the poor desh bhakts, until the  messianic  super-hero rises  from the ashes , emerges  from the smoke to  teach those gora goondas—how dare they behave like cheap  villains?—a  lesson they wouldn’t forget.

 This, in summation, is the  backdrop and  frontal  aspirations of  Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy. Chiranjeevi plays  the  title role.He  jumps,  fights,  threatens  and  offers  ultimatums  to  the Gora Log.

“Get  Out Of  my Motherland.”

 This is something Indians in the US get to hear a lot these days. Trump has found an unlikely ally in  the  year 1827. To his credit Chiranvjeevi seems to have  fun with his part. He reminds me more of Robin Hood than  Mangal Pandey which is not a bad thing in a film that  reduces  the  pitfalls of  colonization to  a revenge  formula.

Amitabh Bachchan’s voiceover is  as usual, very  impressive. Decades  ago in Manmohan Desai’s Mard he has done what Chiranjeevi is seen doing . Mard  the Bachchan took on the  Gora Log, represented  by one Caucasian actor  named  Bob Cristo(actor Sanjay Khan’s bodyguard) who always played the evil  white character  in Hindi films about pre-Partition hijinks like Manoj Kumar’s Kranti and Desai’s Mard.

And  if  they needed a British  officer with  more class, it was Tom Alter. I am  not sure  of where the British baddies in Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy come from. But their accents seem  suspiciously  Hyderabadi.Maybe after  the  foreign actors shot, the  producers ran  out of  budget and got locals to dub.

From the  dazzle and oomph (two lovely ladies Tammannah and  Nayanthara lusting after our  freedom-fighting super-hero)  it seems  unlikely that Sye Raa Narasimha Rao means serious business .This  is more about history than  hysteria,more Baahubali than Junoon. Which is a good. Who remembers Shyam Benegal’s Junoon?

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