NEW YORK – Indian film-maker S.S. Rajamouli has become a 2023 awards season standout, with his three-hour action film RRR (2022) earning glowing reviews and sparking a campaign to have it nominated for an Academy Award in the best film category.
RRR is based on two real-life Indian revolutionaries, Alluri Sitarama Raju (played by Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (played by N.T. Rama Rao), who form a friendship and fight against the colonialist British crown in the 1920s.
The title RRR is short for “Rise Roar Revolt”, as it chronicles the Indian freedom struggle from the British and the Nizam of Hyderabad, which is the title of the monarch of the sovereign state, Hyderabad, in India.
The cast of RRR features big Bollywood names such as Ajay Devgn and Alia Bhatt, and showcases Telugu-language stars like Rama Rao and Charan.
“When we initially set out to make the film, we didn’t have the critical acclaim in mind. We set out to make the movie for the audience, for them to love it, for them to experience the movie,” Rajamouli, 49, told Reuters.
He said that receiving critical acclaim is something extra that gives the cast and crew a pat on the back.
Some critics say the film is exactly what the world needs right now, which Rajamouli considers the best compliment.
Film critic Siddhant Adlakha from review website IndieWire described RRR as “a dazzling work of historical fiction”.
“Plenty of recent releases have been hailed as ‘the return of cinema’ post-pandemic, but RRR stands apart as an unabashed return to everything that makes the cinematic experience great, all at once,” he wrote.
“I need to make them come out of the theatre completely refreshed and get back into their lives,” Rajamouli added.
RRR, streaming on Netflix, is also nominated for two Golden Globe Awards – Best Non-English Language Film and Best Original Song (Naatu Naatu).
The Golden Globes – long known as Hollywood’s favourite party, but rocked by recent scandals – will attempt to stage a celebrity-filled comeback on Tuesday night (US time), as films such as Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans and the Top Gun and Avatar sequels compete for top honours.
The Globes traditionally play a key role in kick-starting the movie awards season, but were taken off air in 2022 amid controversy over ethical lapses and a lack of diversity in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which organises the Beverly Hills gala.
This year, following efforts to reform the HFPA – which previously had no black members – NBC will broadcast the 80th Golden Globe Awards on a one-off basis, and invitations have been dispatched to Tinseltown’s brightest stars.
A-listers expected in the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton include Spielberg, whose semi-autobiographical film is the favourite to win best drama, and actor Eddie Murphy, who will receive a career achievement award.
Comedian Jerrod Carmichael will host the ceremony, and director Quentin Tarantino is among the night’s presenters.
But many top nominees have not yet confirmed their attendance, and Deadline awards columnist Pete Hammond expects this year’s Globes to be “different” from the glitzy, hard-partying, champagne-soaked bashes seen before the pandemic and industry boycotts interrupted the merrymaking.
“They are going to be muted. There’s no after-parties to go to. There’s none of that. They’re not spending big bucks, the studios, on all of this,” Hammond said. REUTERS, AFP
- The 80th Golden Globe Awards will air live on meWATCH and Channel 5 on Wednesday at 9am, with a same-day encore at 10.30pm.