1) Sye Raa takes it own sweet time to really get started, which can make the first half hour of the film tiring. We’ve seen most of these scenes before in older movies about the fight for freedom. The set-up is ordinary and the issues addressed to explain the conflict with the British (the issue is taxation…again) feel far too repetitive to really register.
2) Even Chiranjeevi’s introduction is a bit ‘watered down’. We see him literally underwater — meditating — even though he gets several scenes later to amp things up.
3) Sye Raa‘s actual hero intro scene reminded me of Prabhas’ in the second Baahubali. If it was an elephant running amok in that, here, dozens of poisoned bulls do the job. But, the elaborate sequence isn’t as effective as it ought to be.
4) The actors playing the British, for once, have done a decent job. There’s an actor looking distractingly like Christian Bale who dominates much of the first half. The main villain too is quite effective, usually a big problem in films like these.
5) The scale and the hugeness of the film doesn’t always come from the CGI alone. The massive crowds, the huge palaces, the horses and some of the explosions look very real. Of course, there’s a hawk, a random black panther and a group of angry bulls that could only have been CGI. There may be many things wrong with the film, but look and scale isn’t one of them.
6) Both Tamannaah and Nayanthara might appear like they have very little to do through most of the film, but their characters come back strongly later to make an impact that actually makes sense in the larger scheme of things. The film also uses other major actors such as Vijay Sethupathi and Sudeep really well, even though Bachchan’s role might not feel like enough.
7) Things might take time to really get started, but there’s no stopping the film once the actions begins. Call it great action choreography or technological advancement, but it’s amazing how convincing Chiranjeevi is during the action scenes. He’s quick, nimble and as good looking during hand-to-hand combat as he is with the sword on horseback.
8) The first half culminates in another elaborate action scene where Narasimha Reddy has to protect his fort. These are easily the best 30 minutes of the film, and they end in a badass call for war.
9) But, as we move on, we realise the connective tissue between these large action blocks is not as interesting as it is should be. The film tries hard to create drama and twists, with sub-plots and smaller characters. But, these don’t come together to deliver the punches, especially towards the end. At times, it feels like we’re only waiting for the next major action or war sequence to get started.
10) The thing is, the action block and the scene immediately following it are consistently good. And, in these movies, a lot of what we’re looking at is how well the major punch moments play out. One would have liked it better had the drama worked out as well, but it’s a film you can watch again…just for the medieval asskicking.