A good movie has people glued to their seats. The impact on people is profound and lasts for a long time. The pan Indian movie RRR (Rise, Roar, Revolt) directed by Telegu Director S.S Rajamouli is one such movie. I watched the movie yesterday evening and I took away many lessons from the movie. He had a few years ago directed the epic blockbuster movie Bahubali.
Masterful storytelling, great background and soul-searching music, unrivalled technical excellence, authentic acting and outstanding editing was evidence Rajamouli has set the new world standard for film making. The standards of film making has been elevated to a considerable level that he can be placed on par with some of the world’s greats such as Satyajit Ray, K. Balachander, Bong Joon – Ho, Sir Richard Attenborough, Steven Spielberg, Cecil B. DeMille, Franci Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, George Lucas amongst many others. Will the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences consider him for an Oscar?
He has perfected the art of using cinema to communicate his messages powerfully with a social voice. Cinema must communicate and engineer social change. For change to be sustainable, it must impact and improve humanity. Rajamouli may be criticised for creating a fictional story in reimagining the lives of two real-life revolutionaries who stand up against the unspeakable injustice of the British colonial rulers, but the message cannot be dismissed.
Injustice and pain caused by slavery, racism, casteism and religious bigotry is never permanent and can never be sustained forever. Neither are generalisations of an entire set of people fair. There are people who abide by great values. A trusting and non-judgemental attitude builds strong relationships. The trigger to rise, roar and revolt among people for their basic rights is often a small one but one that often accelerates into a life struggle leading to change. The examples of the Palestinian and South African struggles amongst many other Independence movements are testimony to this fact. The Jallianwala or Amritsar massacre of thousands of innocent people ordered by British Brigadier R.E.H Dyer was often considered by historians as the first decisive step to end British rule in India. As the quote goes: Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Rajamouli communicates this message in a tantalising cinema spectacle.
For a long time, most of the world has been guided by Western values due to the enormous codification of the Western work. It is indeed refreshing to see non-Western work being codified and movies like RRR set the standards now for Western film makers to try and catch up. Director Rajamouli demonstrates the fact that Excellence is a minority and being average is a majority.