Cast: Anushka, Allu Arjun, Rana, Prakash Raj, Krishnam Raju, Nithya Menon and Suman
Rating: 3.5 stars
The much awaited Rudhramadevi finally released on Friday, and it was worth the wait. Kind of. The film is a period drama based on the early life and times of Rani Rudhramadevi, who ruled the Kakatiya Dynasty based in Warangal. The starcast includes Anushka, Rana, Krishnam Raju and a special appearance by Allu Arjun. Gunasekhar has directed and produced the film while Ilaiyaraaja has given the music.
The Kakatiya empire is ruling by Ganapathi Deva (Krishnam Raju) with the help of his minister Shivadevayya (Prakash Raj). It is, however, a tenacious rule as neighbouring kings and Ganapathi Deva’s brothers are looking for an opportunity to take over the kingdom. As time passes, the king is blessed with a baby girl. Fearing his enemies, Ganapathi Deva declares that he has been blessed with a son and raises the girl as a man, and names her Rudhradeva. The minister trains her like a man and she is brought up as a warrior. All is well till she is 25, but a spy, Madanika (Hamsa Nandini) sent by Mahadeva Naidu (Vikramjeet), finds out the secret.
Ganapathi Deva’s brothers then team up with Mahadev Naidu to remove Rudhramadevi and grab the empire. Meanwhile the bandit Gona Gannareddy (Allu Arjun) is also creating problems in the empire as he robs the rich and serves the poor. How Rudhramadevi overcomes these challenges and becomes queen of the Kakatiya Empire is the crux of the story.
Gunasekhar deserves applause for coming up with a historic film like Rudhramadevi. The director sat on the project for years and finally released it. However, trying to stay true to facts, one feels that Gunasekhar has missed out on a lot of emotional content and the film bores at times.
The director has chosen to narrate most of the story with a voice over by Chiranjeevi. When it comes to the performances, Anushka and Allu Arjun steal the show. Anushka perfectly fits the role of the warrior queen and her performance is laudable. She has played both shades of her character, that of a man and a woman, perfectly and carries the film on her shoulders. With Rudhramadevi, she has once again proved that she is the only actress in the industry who can pull off these kind of characters.
Allu Arjun as Gona Gannareddy is an asset for the film. His Telangana accent is great. And though it is a special role, whenever comes on screen, he takes over. This is definitely one of his best performances. The other highlight is Prakash Raj as the minister. He shows his prowess once again and proves why he is one of the best actors in the industry. Veteran actor Krishnam Raju, who is known for these kind of characters, does his job well and Suman too has portrayed his character with ease.
Rana, who plays Anushka’s love interest, does not have a lengthy role, but he has still managed to deliver. Vikramjeet and Ajay’s roles are prominent while Nithya Menon appears in a cameo. The cinematography by Ajayan Vincent is excellent and Ilaiyaraaja’s music is as usual good, particularly the background score. The action scenes have come out nicely. Neeta Lulla’s costumes should get a special mention. The film, however, is a bit slow and lacks drama and emotion. The director has concentrated more on establishing Rudhramadevi’s character but does not delve into her emotions much. The computer graphics too are not up to the mark. Watch Rudhramadevi for a glimpse into Telugu history and culture and how a woman struggled to regain power and cement her place in history.