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A young woman becomes embroiled in a financial and political conspiracy while studying in Spain, as she meets a young musician with a somewhat dark past unfolded through the pages of his lover's diary.
When A heroine oriented historical epic is announced in an otherwise sexist industry like Tollywood, all heads were bound to turn, and the only question was would Gunasekhar (the director) be able to pull off such a spectacle while the audience were still swooning over Bahubali. The answer is Yes, he did manage to pull it off with an excellent casting and a water tight screenplay making RUDRAMADEVI, one of the best heroine oriented movies to be filmed down south.
The advantage Gunasekhar had was that very little is known about this warrior queen apart from the fact that she was a great ruler, fighter and brought out innovative methods of agriculture and is also considered to be the pioneer of the rain water harvesting system we have today. This gave the director enough material and also a good cinematic liberty to weave a fantastic tale of epic proportions.
King Ganapathi Deva (KrishnamRaju) is faced with a difficult situation when is wife goes into labor. Those were the days when females where not expected to be heirs to the throne and enemies of the empire were waiting eagerly for the news of the newborn. People pray to the gods that the new born child should be a male and the enemies hope that it should be a female so that they can wage a war against a kingdom without a heir.
As luck would have it, a female child is born and on the advice of the wise minister Siva Devaih (Prakash Raj) announces that a male child is born and brings the child as a male child naming her Rudradeva.
Rudradeva becomes aware of her sexuality when she attains puberty but chooses to remain a male child to protect the kingdom. Moogambika (Nithya Menon) falls in love with Rudradeva (Anushka Shetty) and the emperor announces a marriage to lay any doubts to rest about his daughter's secret.
Rudradeva on one hand has to deal with outside enemies like Mahadeva Nayakudu (Vikramjeet Virk) as well as her cousins (suman and Anoop Menon) lusting after the throne. To make matters worse a new nemesis approaches in the form of her childhood friend Gona Gana Reddy (Allu Arjun) a dethroned prince turned robin-hood craving for the royal blood as he feels the emperor is directly responsible for siding with his father's killers.
To make matters worse Chalukya Veerabhadra, (Rana Daggupati) Rudradeva's best friend and brother in arms, chances to see Rudradeva in her feminine form and falls in love with her.
Soon things take a turn when the royal secrets are brought out of the closet all at a time and all hell breaks loose.
Anushka Shetty is at her best, be it as the sword yielding disguised prince or as the ravishing princess. Her performance is top notch especially in the battle scenes..
Allu Arjun as Gona Ganna Reddy chews the scenery and he manages to shift the attention from Anushka to himself in all the scenes he is present. The telangana dialect plus his poker faced approach to the role make it one of the best roles he has ever played.
Rana Daggupati holds his own among the ensemble cast, but he has very little to do what with Anushka and Allu Arjun hogging most of the limelight.
The surprise package is Prakash Raj as Shiva Deviah, with a very subdued performance but hitting the mark whenever necessary.
Nithya Menon is at her comic and emotional best, especially during the pre-nuptial scenes and the scene where she discovers her "husband"'s secret.
Background score of Ilyaraja takes the movie to all new level and often reminds us of the score of Hollywood greats like BenHur and Ten Commandments. The less said about the songs the better.
Voice over by Chirranjeevi lends the special touch and propels the movie forward.
Ajayan Vincent's cinematography is what makes this movie a cinematic wonder, the visuals are so good, and the actresses are captured in all their glory.
The biggest letdown are the visual effects which are like as if they have been borrowed from a bad sci-fi channel movie, but the performance of the cast, lets us forgive the herculean blunder.
Screenplay and Direction by Guna Sekhar are excellent, trying to make a movie on queen revered as a goddess in most parts of telangana is very risky effort especially when themes like sexuality, and same sex marriage are involved and at the same time making it reach out to a family audience. Kudos to the filmmaker for achieving the impossible and forgiving him for the dumb visual effects, we just need to give him a pat on the back for braving all odds to make and bring a Heroine Oriented war Epic.
I would recommend it to anyone looking out for a different fare in tollywood.
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