More Movies To Watch If You Loved RRR

Currently available on Netflix (albeit only in Hindi) is S.S. Rajamouli's "RRR," a high-octane, operatic, 182-minute Telugu action-and-dance spectacular about the fictional team-up between two real-life 1920s Indian freedom fighters Komaram Bheem (N.T. Rama Rao Jr.) and Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan).

The setup is fairly simple: A 13-year-old girl (Twinkle Sharma) has been kidnapped from Bheem's remote village by an evil British colonizer (Ray Stevenson) and his bloodthirsty wife (Alison Doody from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"). Bheem travels to Delhi to find her with the ultra-capable badass super-cop Raju on his tail. The two men do find each other in the big city, but — not knowing who the other is — become fast friends. The adventure that follows will involve a daring bridge rescue, a dance-off at a stuffy English party, a frontal assault with feral animals, an extended flashback to a bloody shootout, and an eventual superhero-like team-up wherein arrows are fired, grenades are exploded, motorcycles are thrown, and the colonialists get what's coming to them. 

While "RRR" is hardly the only Telugu cinematic spectacular of this stripe — or even the only one to come from director Rajamouli — its enormous action, gigantic emotions, and confident musculature has been snagging the eyes of many American audiences this year who are falling in love with its maximalism. American superhero films are now rounding the 180-minute mark more regularly ("Avengers: Endgame" and "The Batman," for example), but they are only just beginning to understand the glory of what Indian cinema has been providing for decades. 

If you were keen on the glories of "RRR" (and they are exhilarating), the following is a list of films you should also check out.

Baahubali: The Beginning & Baahubali 2: The Conclusion

Rajamouli made his directorial debut in 2001, and — with "RRR" — now has 12 credits to his name. "RRR's" screenwriter is V. Vijayendra Prasad, Rajamouli's father. Exploring their shared filmography, then, should be your next step. In 2015 and 2017, Rajamouli and Prasad made a pair of historical action pictures called "Baahubali," which told the story of a fictional historical badass Sivudu (Indian superstar Prabhas) as he rescued the kidnapped queen of Mahishmati from the clutches of the evil King Bhallaladeva. The film was the highest-grossing South Indian film at the time, but was eventually surpassed at the box office by its sequel (but with flashbacks, so also a prequel) called "Baahubali 2: The Conclusion," now the highest-grossing film in Indian history. In terms of cash, "RRR" is right on its tail. 

The "Baahubali" movies are historical fiction packed with action and humor, giant battle sequences, and — like "RRR" — a mythic tone; the characters emerge as unstoppable folk heroes of the modern age. Like superheroes, but without that obnoxious sheen of commercialism. Plus there's a lot of it. The Baahubali films are, together, about five and a half hours long. 

Both "Baahubali" films are currently on Netflix.


If you're fond of the energetic, over-the-top action of Telugu or Tamil cinema, but prefer sci-fi to historical epics, then "Enthiran" (2010) will have you covered. 

One may recall the climax of "Enthiran," aka "Robot," making the rounds in the meme-verse a few years ago, wherein hundreds of identical robot men (made in the likeness of actor Rajinikanth) formed their bodies into a giant death sphere and gunned down encroaching, masked S.W.A.T. guys. The mayhem is like something from "The Matrix," only a lot more fun. The story of "Enthiran" followed a robotics engineer who creates a robot in his own image, only to have the robot be struck by lightning — "Short Circuit" style — imbuing it with emotions. It soon falls in love with Aishwarya Rai (as the world already has). The film is worth it for the wild, silvery aesthetic, and that awesome climax. 

"Enthiran" has a more comedic tone than Rajamouli's movies, and presents as lighter and sillier than the bold, attractive earnestness of "RRR," but it is certainly another fine example of Tamil action as its finest.

"Enthiran" is currently available to stream on the Indian on-demand service Sun NXT which, if you want to more deeply explore modern Indian cinema, is definitely worth the subscription price.

Infernal Affairs & The Departed

If "RRR's" rivals-have-to-reconcile-one-another's-identities plot is what emerged as its most appeal aspect, then perhaps you would enjoy Andrew Lau's and Alan Mak's popular Hong Kong cop drama "Infernal Affairs" from 2002. In that film, a cop (Tony Leung) has to go deep undercover as a Triad crook, while a Triad guy (Andy Lau) has spent years hiding out as a cop to give his compatriots an edge in committing crimes. Eventually, it will become clear to both of them that their respective organizations each has a mole, and they will spend the film trying to track one another down. It's a taut, exciting cop drama with a clever twist that will constantly have one asking who is on whose side. The film ended up spawning two sequels

"Infernal Affairs" became popular in the United States in 2006 when Martin Scorsese remade it as "The Departed" with Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon in the cop and crook roles respectively. Both films are quite good, although Scorsese expanded the narrative considerably ("Infernal Affairs" is 101 minutes, "The Departed" is 151 minutes). The cop/crook characters don't become friends as they do in "RRR," but they certainly have a notable regard for one another. 

"Infernal Affairs" can be rented on Apple TV. "The Departed" is on Netflix and on HBO Max.

Les Misérables (1998)

Watching "RRR's" folk tale rendition of a perceived criminal on the run, pursued by an ultra-determined cop evokes none other than Victor Hugo's towering novel "Les Misérables," about a desperate man arrested for stealing bread, only to flee prison and become a saintly, fatherly fugitive. The cop on his tail is obsessed to the point of ruination, and his pursuit lasts for years. "RRR" plays like the "Les Misérables" story if Jean Valjean and Javert had become friends, and teamed up to take down the aristocracy. Both stories also feature a backdrop of revolution (although the French Revolution and Colonial India are certainly very different animals). 

There are plenty of film adaptations of "Les Misérables" to choose from, but for today, Bille August's 1998 English-language version comes recommended. Liam Neeson is the ideal Valjean, and Geoffrey Rush plays a fine, gnashing Javert. Plus, one doesn't have to listen to Russell Crowe singing in this version. "Les Misérables" is not rife with crazy action, but, like "Infernal Affairs" tells a great story of the relationship between pursuer and pursued. 

The 1998 version "Les Misérables" is on HBO Max.