By the intermission of the first screening of the movie, the verdict was out via the fans' raucous chanting. SriRamadasu, a devotional movie based on the life of the builder of the temple of Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh, promises to blast the box office this summer. The tremendous success potential of the movie was known even before the release of the movie with the audio sales dominating the top ten charts. Keeravani's music, set to the original Sri Ramadasu kirtanas, has resulted in soul soothing songs. Forget the joy of the middle aged bill payers and senior citizens, the teenagers were whistling and clapping at the start of each song. And the women folk could be seen getting choked with their own gush of muted emotion in tandem with the emotion on the screen, throughout the movie.
The fact is: People are suckers for religion and movies based on organized religion sell big time. The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur in the past and The Passion of Christ in the recent years have proven this on a macro level whereas Danaveera Sura Karna, Kuruskhetra and Annamayya have proven it on a micro level. Lofted high by melodious songs, commendable acting and sensible direction, Sri Ramadasu is set to prove it again.
We have never seen Moses or Zudah Benhur for real but whenever we think of these legends, Charlton Heston would come in to the mental picture. Nagarjuna has been able to etch a picture of himself as a 'spiritually longing devotee' in the minds of the viewers with his performances in Annamaya and SriRamadasu. In future, any reference to these two great characters, Annamaya and Sri Ramadasu, the image of Nagarjuna would be conjured up automatically.
Other than the theatrical get-up of the some of the characters that made them look like drama actors, direction by K. Raghavendra Rao leaves very little to comment upon. The torture scene of Sri Ramadasu in the Golconda forts seems to have been inspired by The Passion of Christ torture scenes. When such a mega project is underway some minor lapses are inevitable. The direction is sensible and thankfully Raghavendra Rao didn't commit any hara-kiri to nullify the positives of a good plot and divinity inspiring songs. Rather the experienced auteur uses creative license in putting Kabir and Sri Ramadasu in the same generation who are at least 200 years apart from each other in history. Here Kabir is the great grandson of the original Kabir who being a muslim worshipped Lord Ram and saw no differences in religions. The choice of Akkineni Nageshwar Rao as Kabir Das as well as the choice of other actors has been spot on.
Sneha personifies the role of a telugu wife to perfection. Deeply rooted in telugu culture, divine love as well as human trials and tribulations this movie is going to pull people out of their homes. 19 melodious songs, a few romantic moments, enjoyable comedy and a taste of divinity are bound to make Sri Ramadasu a hit movie of the year. And the retirees, the busy family raisers, women that are always ready to shed a tear drop or two in the theatres as well as students with endless holidays, they all have something to watch this summer, again and again may be. The best part is they all can watch it together without getting embarrassed.