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'Sye Raa', 'Tiger Nageswara Rao' prove you can't trust Tollywood


The 2018 film 'Sye Raa' depicted the life of India's first freedom fighter, Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy. However, its narrative appeared to align more with the genre of a rural rebellion against the oppressive feudal system. Chiranjeevi's character was fashioned to feel like a Communist insurgent fighting against the exploitation imposed by the feudal elite, rather than portraying the conventional image of a freedom fighter strategizing for the expulsion of the British colonial rule to emancipate his motherland.

'Tiger Nageswara Rao' is the biopic of "India's biggest thief". If 'Sye Raa' was made as a biographical action drama, 'TNR' has been made as a biographical action thriller in keeping with Ravi Teja's image. If 'Sye Raa' adopted the 'Evil Zamindar vs poor farmer' template, 'TNR' adopted the 'Evil state vs marginalized community' template to dial up emotions.

'TNR' is generic. It is not even a Robin Hood-style film but a known 'Maoist vs state' story in the second half.

Our filmmakers write the infamous 'aavu katha' over and over. The topic can be the Aeroplane, Skill Development Scam or World Cup, but our filmmakers write only about the cow, its utility and its physical attributes after the first para. Our filmmakers know only one story.

While watching 'TNR', nowhere in the second half do you feel that you are watching the story of a real-life thief. Yes, Nageswara Rao was adventurous but he was not superhuman. Yes, he did help people but he was not an altruist who lived for the uplift of his community every second. He was not a martyr, for God's sake!

After 'Sye Raa' and 'TNR', we would do well to be skeptical about Telugu cinema's ability to churn out authentic, dramatized, novel biopics. Our filmmakers simply use the names of real-life personalities to tell the same old stories. Unless proven otherwise, expect all Telugu biopics to be immature.