Pop quiz: What are the three R’s?
They’re not reduce, reuse, recycle — one of the hottest topics this awards season is fast becoming the Telugu Indian action spectacle “RRR,” or “Rise, Roar, Rebel,” which garnered an Oscar nomination on Tuesday Best Song Award.
The film stars two of India’s most beloved actors – Ram Charan and Ramalao Jr. — Set in Derry in the early 1920s, the story follows two patriotic but philosophically opposed men who team up to rescue a kidnapped girl (Winker) from British colonial officials (Alison Doody and Ray Stevenson) Sharma).
The film was already a worldwide box office success when it was released in March – and it’s directed by one of India’s most successful filmmakers, SS Rajamuliwith a whopping $72 million budget, grossed $65 million in its opening weekend.
But now, thanks to a word-of-mouth social media frenzy and an unusual theatrical re-release strategy, it has become a rare Indian hit, attracting American audiences beyond the Indian diaspora.
Originally distributed by Sarigama Cinemas, the film initially opened to 1,200 screens nationwide in March and began streaming on Netflix in late May — Dylan Marchetti, president of distributor Variance Films, is watching The film saw its potential crossover appeal repeatedly with enthusiastic audiences.
So Variance got in touch with Sarigama, and they took the rare step of re-released the film – sold to moviegoers as “encoRRRe” – which led to its US breakthrough.
In August, Cristina Cacioppo, who produced “RRR” at Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Prospect Park, said it attracted moviegoers in the 20s and 30s, mostly from outside the Indian diaspora. area.
“There was a lot of joy throughout,” Cacioppo told The Times. “You could feel the whole room smiling, jaw dropping.” (Over three hours of Charan and Rao wrestling a tiger; conducting a daring bridge rescue involving motorcycles, horses and burning train cars; Party Brits can do it by dancing in perfect sync while wearing matching suspenders.)
Josh Hurtado, a consultant at the independently run Potentate Films, which teamed up with Sarigama and Marchetti to run the theatrical revival of “RRR” for just one night in June, told The Times that many attendees praised it. The film has the same reasons as before that dissuaded them from watching new Indian films: “The length of the film, the amount of song and dance and the ridiculous action,” he said. “People came out and said they wished the three-hour film had been longer.”
The film has also enjoyed a strong afterlife on TikTok thanks to Charan and Rama Rao’s playful syncopated dance moves and infectious vocals, with its refreshingly syncopated dance number “Naatu Naatu” (in Telugu). meaning “Native Native”) went viral. (Lyrics by Chandrabose, music by MM Keeravani.)
After winning Best Original Song at the Golden Globes, Best Foreign Language Film at the Critics’ Choice Awards and Best Director at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards earlier this month, the film has its sights set on blockbusters: Charan and NTR Jr. .’s gleeful extravaganza of shoulder rolls, arm pumps and hook steps won an Oscar for Best Song.