Eega: Metaphor of our Times

(Update: As expected, this film titled Makkhi is available to audiences across India in Hindi releasing October 12, 2012)

This post is an invitation to all who read this, regardless of your familiarity with Telugu or Tamil, the two languages in which the film is released, to go and watch S.S. Rajamouli's new Telugu movie Eega / Naan Ee. This animation aided fantasy has everything going for it to become a national phenomenon. It is the story of how a fly takes revenge. Do not be surprised if midway through the film you find yourself clapping and cheering – for a fly.


I have seen only one of director Rajamouli’s earlier films, Magadheera, and I am puzzled to date why that didn’t turn into a national phenomenon. I hardly speak any Telugu, and I understand less of it than a preschooler does. Further, though I had been waiting for this film impatiently, the fact that I have not watched any of Rajamouli’s other films (and I know that they are not only contemporary cinematic landmarks but also pack in a massive social punch) should give readers a sense of my objectivity.


A quick look at my understanding of the story of the film before I start lisping, stuttering and drooling. Boy loves girl who does micro art and social work. Girl plays appropriately hard to get. Big bad business tycoon sees girl and has to have her. He tries to win her over with money for her social work. In the meantime, boy’s attempts to win girl seem to be paying off. Big bad business tycoon notices and gets really mad. Girl finally acknowledges her feelings just as big bad tycoon decides to kill boy for being a hurdle in his path. Boy dies. He is reborn as a fly. He takes revenge with the help of girl. More or less end of story.

Now on to the film. Make sure you are in early so that you get the context of the story and the context of the closing titles at the end of the film. They rock. The first part of the film is a standard love story with a villain thrown in. Though I was aware of what the movie was all about, the turn it took from the death of the boy who becomes Eega (fly) in his next reincarnation left me gasping for breath. First off, the computer generated imagery and the visual effects are world class and blend in seamlessly with the real life characters, shots and scenes. The innovative David-Goliath storyline and the familiarity of the setting (who has not been annoyed “to death” by a persistent buzzing fly!) break the mental barrier that one has about an animated character interfacing with real life characters.

The screenplay is the second reason that I strongly recommend this film. It is not like the animation is better than anything you might have seen elsewhere, but it is the script that draws you so relentlessly into the story that you do not have time to reflect on the fact that you are watching an animated fantasy. From the very moment that the animated fly comes into being, the film is a roller coaster of innovation and humor. The fly has no dialog but comes into being as the protagonist without effort, and the script makes you a participant as you actively start listening to the dialog that doesn’t exist. In addition, the opening sequence and the burglar sequence halfway into the film are neatly brought to a closure at the end of the film. There is action and there is a bit of gore, but it doesn’t intrude and you actually enjoy it since it is the victory of the fly that you are celebrating. The film sticks to the formula action thriller format even at the cost of being just a little too long, and yes, the end of the story is a little wanting. But these are very minor blips in an otherwise superb production.

The humor is brilliantly balanced between the cerebral and the slapstick. The filmmaker tips the hat to many great moments from south Indian cinema, through dialogs, incidental clips, and music. The acting is great, especially when you consider that they were filming it with the most important character, the fly, not being really present. Sudeep, the villain, and Samantha, the girl whose boyfriend became a fly, work wonders, bringing the animated Eega to life with their realistic portrayals. Nani plays his namesake Nani, the fly in his previous incarnation, and is refreshingly real and charming. The supporting cast does what it is meant to do, and leaves the three main characters free to tell their story. M.M. Keeravani’s music is subtle and enhances the magic of the Eega character.


The third and perhaps the most important reason that this film should be seen by all is the unusual telling of an oft-repeated story. It is the story of the underdog, a small, helpless and insignificant individual who is seeking something that lies halfway between vengeance and justice. Most of us will easily be able to identify with this situation. How the fly manages to triumph against the mighty Sudeep’s high tech attempts to prevent him from achieving his goal will have you nodding your head to yourself. Even the vengeance angle becomes an ethical compulsion as you start identifying with Eega. When the film reaches its intermission with Eega writing out “I will kill you” on Sudeep’s windshield, you can actually feel the auditorium going, “Go, get the bugger, we are with you.”

To say anything more would end up diluting your viewing pleasure, and there are more than just a few clappable moments in the film, along with some amazing special effects. The scene with the glass shards and Eega flying at Sudeep is a masterpiece. Here is a film where two unlikely aspects of a superhero have worked a miracle together – first, it is an animated character, and second, it is a puny fly. It is a film that closely mirrors the state of the world today, with an arrogant system convinced that the individual is incapable of harming it in any way. It is a film about the ultimate victory of good and love over the powerful evil.

Go watch Eega. It is a beautiful and uplifting experience that will restore your faith in love and goodness.

Here is a glimpse of what is in store - the official movie trailer.

50 comments:

  1. That's a beautiful review......And I never knew people watch and appreciate telugu movies so much...I love Rajamouli's movies a lot....I haven't seen the movie...Sadly :(...Will surely see it by this weekend...

    And thanks for the visit to my blog and lovely comment :)

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    1. thanks, valli. after this, even i am planning to catch up on rajamouli's work, especially yamadonga.

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  2. I'm really looking forward to experience this film. Hats off to S.S. Rajamouli for giving a twist to what appears to be a standard love story/revenge plot. I hope the effects in this movie will bring us closer to slick Hollywood standards. Thank you sharing.

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    1. i deliberately stayed away from commenting on the animation. the combination of script, direction, acting and animation has been used so effectively in this film that it puts most other recent Indian forays into animation to shame. this is as good as any hollywood flick.

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  3. Hi Subhorup

    I was initially not very interested in this movie. Your review has kindled my curiosity. SHould check it out.

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    1. thanks, jayashree. i hope this post does that to a lot of people...

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  4. Interesting concept.

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    1. ... and a brilliantly executed one.

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  5. Thats a wonderful review Subhorup..:-)I'm surprised to see Raja Mouli having fans outside the Telugu region..:-)Eagerly waiting to watch the movie.:-)

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    1. oh, i am very much in the telugu region, being a resident hyderabadi for over a decade. thanks for sharing this with your friends...

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  6. I'm going to share this review in my G+ telugu circle..:-) Thank you..:-)

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  7. I liked the way you connected it to our times :)!
    A very nice way to put forth your thoughts.
    Engaging and at the same time in sync with the review.

    Enjoyed.

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    1. divenita, like all my posts, the subject is really an excuse. if you look harder, you will find that the post is not just about Eega the movie but about love, justice, hope and equality. but don't tell anyone yet...

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  8. The best review that I have read in my life so far and its crystal crear and spot on with the analysis. Thanks a lot Sir. Indeed the movie is a fantastic and it needs to be backeup since these kind of movies are not attempted, if its not propped up.

    Have a good day

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    1. thanks, rajashekar. i think this one has enough in it to create its own place. it already seems to be creating opening records overseas.

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  9. Haven't seen a Telugu movie in theatre in ages. Thanks for the review. I will give it a try, to see what kept you away from the meeeting:-)

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    1. you will enjoy it. and no, this was not what kept me away from the meeting. i had two back to back family engagements of entirely opposite nature at opposite ends of town. by the time i got home, it was close to 6. a cup of tea and then across the road for the movie.

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    2. Oh!.. We all missed your presence.

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  10. Nice review...Planning to watch this movie

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    1. thanks, ranjana. you will enjoy it.

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  11. From your review, this movie really sounds really interesting. And I like most of Sudeep's movies so will definitely watch this one :)

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    1. ah, a sudeep fan here. he has done a great job. you will have a great time watching him in this one.

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  12. I have never watched this movie..from the review you are giving ..i'll watch it sooon! :)

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    1. my job is done if you watch it. thanks, jen.

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  13. i actually got goosebumps reading this review! unfortunately, i don't think i will get a chance to watch this movie.

    a brilliant review!!!

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    1. i have a strong feeling that this will be remade in all languages. at least it should. the beauty of the film is that it truly transcends language. keep an eye out for it, deb.

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  14. I have heard a lot about this film. After reading your post. I really want to watch it. Why dont you post a link of trailer of this film from youtube.com
    www.rajnishonline.blogspot.com

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    1. thanks, rajnish. the whole objective of my writing this post was to get people to watch it. thanks for the trailer suggestion. implemented.

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  15. Oh, I was really not interested in watching the movie. I don't want to miss it now. Your review is compelling! :)

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    1. Harsa, this has more star power than most other films, but the star is an animated fly with no past films to his credit and no fan club as yet...

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  16. its a telugu movie being released not in two languages (telugu/tamil) but all the four south indian languages and also its Hindi version in 3-D will be out soon.

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    1. thanks. i think it was made in two languages and the others are dubbed versions. but i was not aware of it, so thanks for the update, shashank.

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  17. Great review. Surprised to know you are not as well versed in Telugu as I thought even though you lived in Hyd for such a long time. I was getting curious by the day seeing all the status messages dedicated to Eega on my FB wall. I don't watch Telugu movies at all but this review has compelled me to watch it. :)

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    1. don't rub it, buddy. i have lived in bihar and mumbai for ages and my hindi is atrocious. i have lived in bangalore for three years and the only kannada i know is swalpa adjust madi. i have been in hyd for more than a decade and i still cannot speak or understand telugu. i have been born a bong and my bengali only causes my friends and family to break out in laughter. i thought my blog readers were my last refuge. but, akki, you had to bring it up here too.... boo hoo hoo...

      this film really transcends languages and cultures and is perfectly balanced between formula masala and social comment.

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  18. That was a wonderful review! So, you watch telegu movies also ?!Let me see, if I can get a sub-titled one...
    Your interesting review has made me inquisitve n excited..:))Thank you

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    1. thanks, panchali. a sub-titled one would be good but not essential. since it has been released in the US with subtitles, it should not be hard to get hold of one once the DVDs are out. however, the film speaks an universal language, and you will not miss anything for not understanding the dialog. well, maybe some of the comic nuances, yes, but not a lot. i have hardly any telugu and i was actually able to figure out a good part of the comic dialogs too.

      i watch telugu cinema... well, a little of it. usually the ones that catch my fancy. most of them are terribly dramatic and violent. there is a big following for supernatural/mythological stories. faction rivalry and violent family feuds are a staple element of most storylines. if there is a wedding scene, you can be assured that something terrible is about to happen - i know, a wedding is a terrible thing, but that is not what i meant. if someone is hit or punched, you can expect technicolor blood splattering out towards you, perhaps with a computer generated tooth. you get the idea.

      however, technically, telugu cinema is way ahead of bollywood. telugu comedians bring much greater class to even slapstick than bollywood can. telugu film storylines are much more innovative and engaging than most bollywood films. most of bollywood's recent hits are actually remakes of south indian blockbusters. photography in telugu cinema is pathbreaking.

      telugu films like magadheera, happy days, arundhati, godavari figure on my list of all time great contemporary cinema...

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  19. As a kid, I have watched telugu films of Sridevi, Jaya prada when they were not Big in Bollywood..! Been a long time :)

    Excellent review, man :)

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    1. keep your eyes open for this one, ghazala, and don't miss it when it shows up at your neck of the woods.

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  20. Woww..excellent review and I'm glad to see the response from people who don't speak Telugu or Tamil enracing this film with wide arms.

    Here's my review of the film - http://movieroundup.in/eega-aka-naan-ee-small-is-the-new-big/

    Let me know your thoughts

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    1. welcome to SJD, Haricharan. i see this film going on to become a national phenomenon.

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    2. thank u sir... for the review .... i watched it ur spot on.... the great thing about the movie is screenplay by rajamouli... one of the best screenplays in recent times... i got a feeling ajamouli has done cristopher nolan... may be i thik it will nominate 4 the oscars... ur thougths please....

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    3. sir thanks for the review... i watched this ... ur spot on.. great thing about the movie was the screenplay..... one of the best in recent times or best ever ican say..... i think ssrajamouli did a cristopher nolan.... my gut feeling it will be nominated 4 oscars .... ur thougts please....

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  21. I am a fan of Magadheera .... must watch this one too ... :-D

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  22. Wow... this is cool... I am a Telugu person, but watch mostly Rajamouli's movies only... you should watch yamadonga as well... that's my personal fav of his movies.. good work needs to be appreciated... and you did a fantastic job by reviewing this movie here.. so many non telugus would now know about it.. keep up the great work of appreciating great work :)!

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    1. i am so glad you enjoyed this review, rajyalakshmi. thanks for suggesting yamadonga, will definitely see it. actually, it has been on my list of films to watch for quite some time. thanks for your encouragement too.

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  23. Thoroughly impressed with the way you have captured the movie and to think you do not understand the language!
    Kudos to you as well as Rajamouli for making such a brilliant film. Cheers!

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  24. hmhm..... Welcome to south Indian Cinema- Tamil and Telugu. :) For one, Just like any film industry, we our our bouquet of cliches. The most oft repeated one being- the underdog going against a well organized Mafioso. The one thing I loved with Naan ee is the boldness of the director to test uncharted waters with what can be called an insane Idea.

    But as far as I have seen, Telugu movies are rife (no offence intended)- with such plots and a few scenes felt copied from old Tamil movies- (the scene where the fly disrupts the big meeting when the hero losses his cool - an old rajini movie has the same idea, the first murder attempt using the steam bath- felt similar to final destination) ----

    Even so, I have to agree with you, I did enjoy the movie. :)

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  25. Thanks for the references to older films. As I am not familiar with cinema of the south, I was not able to appreciate them. Now with Makkhi, it seems to be set for greater acclaim.

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  26. Watched it few days ago as makkhi on satellite TV. Loved the fly transformation and all the scenes related to the fly. Somehow found the way the initial love story unfolded a bit distasteful. Why do they show girls as nimwits who keep good guys hanging who actually seem like eve teasers. The only problem I have with South Indian scripts is that they are very loud with their action, dialogue, songs and scripts. I felt that same for a million remakes including ghajini.Why do they show so much brutality in the name of love?

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    1. Agree entirely on the portrayals in films, and this is not just in the south. People want to see women as objects, of lust, of utility. Women are equally to blame. Women opt to perform in those roles. Ekta Kapoor is an industry by herself. Further, people want to watch exaggerated, loud, crude, even inhuman personification. I watched Django Unchained the other day, and though I loved it as creative cinema, I was very disturbed by the level of the violence.

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