Who would have expected it? When the erotic thriller “365 Days” became a worldwide hit on Netflix in 2020, it was a big surprise. Now the year 2022 may have found its surprise hit for Netflix. “RRR” or as the film is also called “Rise, Roar, Revolt” is a first-class action blockbuster and is currently number 8 in the German top 10 (as of May 31). The crazy thing is: The film is only available in Hindi and in no other language – of course there are still subtitles. But what is “RRR”? The action festival, which (roughly summarized) revolves around Indian resistance against British occupiers – raised on the basis of a kidnapping – has already garnered enthusiastic reviews in the USA.

The title “RRR” does not only refer to “Rise, Roar, Revolt” but also to the three main actors of the film: Director S.S. Rajamouli and the two actors Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan. They are the most important people in South Indian cinema, which is also called “Tollywood” because of the local Telugu language. The completely over-the-top film, based on Marvel cinema, has a serious background. The two main characters actually existed in Indian history and it is just as exciting as the film itself.

Just to recap how wild the $27 million budget action film really is, Alluri Sitarama Raju (Charan), known here simply as Ram, single-handedly beats up a large group of protesters in an early scene of the film, just to get one man who threw a rock at a police station. Komaram Bheem (Rama Rao Jr.) intimidates a tiger by roaring at it. Both develop superpowers in the course of the film – perhaps not a bad idea in times of superhero cinema.

Both men really existed. Kamaram Bheem belongs to the Gond tribe, a central and southern Indian ethnic group. In the 1920s he formed his own rebel army to fight against the British colonialists. Even his father protested against the land grabs by the occupiers – Bheem was inspired by this. In 1940 he was killed by British police officers during protests. For the Gond today he is considered a kind of deity.

Raju shares a similar fate as Bheem. He fought for Indian independence, his resistance starting with the Madras Forest Act, which from 1882 practically denied the Indian population access to their own forests and farmland. His resistance culminated in the Rampa Rebellion of 1922, which he led – this ended in 1924 when Raju was captured and executed. He is also revered today as a downright messianic figure, and the British government later recognized his important role in the Indian struggle for independence. Although it would have been possible, the two revolutionaries probably never met. But that doesn’t detract from the Indian action spectacle “RRR”.

“RRR” is available on Netflix.

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The original for this post “RRR: The Netflix surprise of the year has a serious background” comes from TV Spielfilm.