The Telugu-language Indian blockbuster
RRR has become a huge crossover hit in 2022, but audiences may wonder if its historical tale is based on truth. Combining the complicated antagonist/protagonist friendships of action movies like
Point Break with both Hindu mythology and historical stories of real-life personalities, writer and director S. S. Rajamouli creates a thrilling action epic. Rajamouli says (via
Deccan Chronicle) that the film is about the ”
imaginary friendship between two superheroes,” and the extraordinary stunt sequences in
RRR earn their hype easily stand alongside anything from the current crop of Western superhero movies.,The two superheroes are Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (N. T. Rama Rao Jr.), an imperial police officer and an Indian freedom fighter, respectively, who begin as enemies but swiftly become great friends. Bheem is sent to Delhi to rescue Malli from the villainous English Governor Buxton (Ray Stevenson), who has purchased the girl as a gift for his wife.
RRR‘s plot is influenced by the ancient Sanskrit epic
Ramayana but also has a basis in real-life.,RELATED: Is Netflix’s Hustle A True Story?,Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem were real-life Indian freedom fighters, albeit ones who lived decades apart and never actually met.
RRR is therefore a fictionalized account of both men’s lives, imagining their commonalities and what they could have achieved had they met. This true-life aspect of
RRR , along with its titular thematic meaning, adds an edge to the movie’s strong anti-imperialist message and has particular political relevance for the India of today.,Born in 1897 in the Coastal city of Visakhapatnam,
Raju is still an inspirational figure for the Telugus. Following the death of his father, Raju traveled the country as a teenager, witnessing the oppression of the British Empire and the resultant socio-economic conditions first-hand. This is a less explosive origin than the one given in RRR, which sees his father sacrifice his life for his village, aided by a young Raju, armed with a British rifle. However, despite this creative liberty, it’s true that both the real Alluri Seetharama Raju and RRR‘s Alluri Sitarama Raju resolved to oppose the cruelty of British rule.,As in the movie, the real Raju redirected British weapons to revolutionary forces. Rather than go undercover within the police force as in
RRR, Raju organized raids on police stations when he realized that the traditional bow and arrow could not stand up against the might of the British Empire. The first raid, which attracted the attention and ire of the empire took place in 1922, two years before Raju’s death in 1924. This two-year period of clashes with the British is known as the “Rampa Rebellion,” in reference to the contested region oppressed by the exploitative Madras Forest Act. Following these heroic clashes over colonialism, Raju was caught and martyred on May 7, 1924, leading to further violence and oppression against his followers. Despite Raju’s important role in Indian history, there are still gaps in his life story, which allowed S. S. Rajamouli to take some creative liberties with the character.,Komaram Bheem was born a few years later than Raju, in 1900, and, as in the film he originated from the Gond community in the Southern-Indian village of Sankepalli. An Adivasi/tribal leader, Bheem also witnessed the oppression of the British empire from a young age. In real-life, it was Bheem, rather than Raju, whose father was killed in a clash with British forces. Forest officials killed Bheem’s father for opposing their exploitative and oppressive regulations on crops and land. Rather than
RRR‘s flaming motorbikes and wild animals, Komaram Bheem took on the British empire with a printing press. Taken in by a publisher who opposed both the British and the royal Nizams who ruled the Hyderabad region, Bheem learned English, Hindu, and Urdu.,RELATED: Operation Mincemeat True Story: How Much Really Happened,After this education, he went on to work in the Assam tea plantations, where he protested for better workers’ rights, for which he was arrested. It is said that it was in Assam that Bheem heard of
Alluri Seetharama Raju‘s struggles against the British, inspiring his own battles for autonomy. So while both men never met, Raju still had an inspirational impact on Bheem as he does in
RRR. As with the siege scenes that bring Bheem into contact with Raju’s fiancée, Sita, armed police tracked down and killed the freedom fighter and many of his supporters after three years of resistance. It’s a more tragic ending than the victorious one in
RRR, but S. S. Rajamouli’s stirring conclusion succeeds in celebrating the hugely important work of these two revolutionaries.,Aside from their convergent timelines and convenient gaps in their life stories, there was another reason for pairing the freedom fighters in
RRR. S. S. Rajamouli was also inspired to fictionalize a meeting between Komaram Bheem and
Raju by real-life events from recent history. Rajamouli’s home state, Andhra Pradesh, was split into two separate states — Telangana and Andhra Pradesh — by an act of the Indian Parliament back in 2014. Given the origins of both Bheem and Raju, Rajamouli felt that he could discuss the commonality between these newly created states, addressing the animosity between them in the process.,Rajamouli told
I had this thought that Komaram Bheem is from the Telangana region and Alluri Sitarama Raju is from the Andhra region. So, if I can bring those two heroes together, it’s my way of saying we are one, we are not separate.” So, while
RRR is a heavily fictionalized version of real-life Indian history, it has present-day significance for audiences in India. As for the wider world,
RRR‘s portrayal of the racism and oppression of colonialism makes it vital viewing for Western audiences that are interrogating their own countries’ troubling colonial pasts.,NEXT: Stranger Things’ Dungeons & Dragons Panic True Story Explained
Is RRR Based On A True Story?
The Telugu-language Indian blockbuster