I first took notice of S.S.Rajamouli’s hardwork in Magadheera. Sure he had delivered lot of strong box office hits including Yamadonga – providing the much needed hit for Jr. NTR, Vikramarkudu and Simhadri. But when these films came out first, they failed to impress me and I never cared enough to watch them in theaters. But it all changed when I watched Magadheera – Chiranjeevi was making a coming back in it – for the first time.
Working with a story provided by his father – like he does in most films, Rajamouli made an epic reincarnation based drama-esque love story. It worked with the masses and classes alike; hell it even took the whole nation by a mild surprise – people as far as from Haryana and Sikkim (True!) have gone on to name the movie when I told them I’m a Telugu. Only Maniratnam’s southern films (most of them dubbed) reached so many people.
I loved the powerful title sequence with the now cult Srihari’s voice counting to Keeravani’s BGM and the references to Chiru (everyone did, however stale they were!) in the first half. The love story though didn’t work for me and neither did the songs. And then the interval card came – In 10 minutes, I went back 400 years. The rest was epic and it was mindblowing. Rajamouli (not Charan) was talk of the town. Everywhere people (so I heard!) discussed in hot debates his audacity to make a movie on such a grand scale and deliver an all time blockbuster.
I came back from the theater contemplating and over the next year re-watched most of Rajamouli’s films barring some parts of Chatrapati and Maryada Ramanna. While some parts definitely blew me away, I concluded most of Rajamouli’s films were heavy duty revenge sagas packaged neatly. Most of his stories were trite and barring Maryada Ramanna and Magadheera (to an extent) he treated his actresses as item girls. Maryada Ramanna was clean stuff, nothing over the top usual Rajamouli stuff and the heroine actually had a solid character.
Nevertheless one couldn’t deny the hard work that Rajamouli puts in his films, I wouldn’t doubt his conviction. So when Eega was announced – however outrageous the idea was – I was eager to see what he would do with something so different yet so fundamentally familiar – a revenge saga yet again. Soon enough the plot was released and it felt like he could make it work, but of course a lot of it depended on the CGI.
Working with an idea from his father again, this time Rajamouli worked on the plot – a boy dies in the hands of an evil man for his love and is reborn as an Eega ( housefly ) to avenge his death – well enough to make you sit for 140 odd minutes.
Nani is in unrequited love with Bindhu (Samantha) and he’s been following her for 2 years as she indulges herself in micro art (how apt!) and NGOs. Sudeep, the evil womaniser kind, meets Bindhu when she comes to see him for a donation and falls for her. When he realizes Bindhu might also be falling for Nani, he decides to eliminate Nani to get closer. Nani dies and is reborn as Eega who swears by revenge. In the next 20 odd days, Eega tortures Sudeep in ways unbeknownst to the film-junta finally killing him.
Rajamouli uses just about enough time to set up the primary love story. Banking on Nani to exude the charm, which he does, Rajamouli uses most of his songs in the first few minutes and covers lot of ground and slows down only when Nani dies and is reborn as Eega. Sudeep starts of as a cool, suave business man and slowly transforms into a monster before Eega milks enough comedy out of him.
There are a lot of riveting sequences but the ones that come to mind are the wonderfully shot Sudeep’s accident and the climax. Lot of money has been spent on the CGI and rightfully so. Eega has been designed pretty well and when the camera zooms in on it – which it often does – it doesn’t feel weird. I was worried about this, but this is great stuff.
I haven’t watched much of Sudeep – I have seen him Rakta Charitra where he was nothing great – but over here he’s really good. I know that Rajamouli had enacted almost all of the scenes providing a base for Sudeep but one can’t take away the credit of working with an imaginary fly and looking believable. He’s got a great voice and here he uses it to a great effect. Samantha, on her part, looks pretty and acts pretty. Nani does great with his comic timing and his impish charm that works too well for the character and the film. Others don’t have much to do.
MM Keeravani has worked with Rajamouli in all his films and they share a great camaraderie but it has never translated to something memorable. None of Rajamouli’s films have good songs except Maryada Ramanna. Rajamouli’s need to make massy songs is probably the reason for this. But here MMK has been given a free hand, I suppose, and he comes up with some good songs that help build the love story. But the best of him comes in this film’s background score – he lets his imagination run wild : mildly operatic here, modern synth bgm there to suit Eega escaping and the violin bits to squeeze out the emotion – quite possibly his best effort.
Rajamouli working with an adept technical team lead by Senthil,the DOP and the graphics team, never loses grip of his main story or breaks for a couple of cheap gags. In the end all of it pays off and this is a commendable effort from Rajamouli.