Eega
Theatrical release poster featuring a fly escaping a bullet.
Theatrical release poster in Telugu
Directed byS. S. Rajamouli
Screenplay byS. S. Rajamouli
Story by
  • V. Vijayendra Prasad
  • S. S. Rajamouli
Dialogues by
Concept by
Produced bySai Korrapati
Starring
CinematographyK. K. Senthil Kumar
Edited byKotagiri Venkateswara Rao
Music byM. M. Keeravani
Production
company
Distributed by
Release date
  • 6 July 2012 (2012-07-06)
Running time
134 minutes[1]
CountryIndia
Languages
  • Telugu
  • Tamil
Budget30–40 crore ($6–7 million)[a]
Box officeest. 125–130 crore ($23–24 million)[b]

Eega (transl.The Fly) is a 2012 Indian Telugu-language fantasy action film written and directed by S. S. Rajamouli. The film was produced by Sai Korrapati's Vaaraahi Chalana Chitram with an estimated budget of 30–40 crore (US$6–7 million).[c][d] It was filmed simultaneously in Tamil with the title Naan Ee (transl.I, the Fly). The film stars Sudeepa, Nani, and Samantha. M. M. Keeravani composed the songs and the background score, while K. K. Senthil Kumar was the director of photography. Janardhana Maharshi and Crazy Mohan wrote the dialogue for the Telugu and Tamil versions, respectively.

The film's narrative is in the form of a bedtime story told by a father to his daughter. Its protagonist, Nani, who is in love with his neighbour Bindu, is murdered by a wealthy industrialist named Sudeep, who is attracted to Bindu and considers Nani a rival. Nani reincarnates as a housefly and tries to avenge his death and protect Bindu from an obsessive Sudeep.

The idea for the film originated in the mid-1990s from a conversation in which Rajamouli's father and screenwriter V. Vijayendra Prasad joked with Rajamouli about the idea of a fly seeking revenge against a human. Rajamouli reconsidered the idea after finishing Maryada Ramanna (2010), and developed it into a script. The film's production began on 7 December 2010 at Ramanaidu Studios in Hyderabad. Principal photography began on 22 February 2011 and continued until late February 2012. Makuta VFX and Annapurna Studios oversaw Eega's visual effects and digital intermediate process, respectively.

The two versions of the film, alongside a Malayalam-dubbed version titled Eecha, were released on 6 July 2012 on approximately 1,100 screens globally. The performances of the cast (particularly Nani, Sudeep and Samantha), Rajamouli's direction, and visual effects received critical acclaim upon release. Eega was one of the highest-grossing Telugu films of the year, earning more than 125 crore ($23 million).[d] Eega won two National Film Awards (Best Feature Film in Telugu and Best Special Effects), five South Filmfare Awards including Best Telugu Film, Best Telugu Director, Best Telugu Actress (Samantha) and Best Telugu Supporting Actor (Sudeep) and three South Indian International Movie Awards. The film won nine awards, including Most Original Film at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Eega was listed among "The 25 Best Foreign Films of the Decade" by The Ringer.

Plot

A young girl who is unable to sleep asks her father to tell her a bedtime story. Although reluctant at first, he tells her a story of a fly named Nani.

Nani is a young man based in Hyderabad who specialises in preparing fireworks. He is in love with his neighbour Bindu, a micro artist who runs Project 511, a non-governmental organisation (NGO). Bindu also develops romantic feelings for Nani though she does not express them. Seeking to raise money for her NGO, Bindu visits the office of a rich and powerful industrialist named Sudeep, who also finds her attractive and starts lusting for her. He donates 15 lakh (US$28,000),[d] and befriends her. As days go on Sudeep's attempts to woo her fail miserably as she does not even notice his intentions. One day he sees Nani following Bindu on the street and realizes that they are attracted to one another. Sudeep sees Nani as a rival and plans to kill him. One night, Nani inspires Bindu to help her finish a piece of micro art—a heart locket made from a pencil. While returning home, Sudeep kidnaps and strangles Nani to death, making his death look like an accident. Before dying, Nani curses Sudeep, swearing to kill Sudeep if he tries to hurt Bindu. Unaware of the incident, Bindu confesses her love for the dying Nani by phone; it is the last thing Nani hears before he is reincarnated as a housefly that cannot remember its previous life.

The fly's memory is triggered when it encounters Sudeep and Bindu and begins to devote itself to exacting revenge on Sudeep. Sudeep asks the heartbroken Bindu to accompany him to New Delhi to meet the education minister; if she can impress the minister with a presentation about the NGO, he might help it gain national recognition. The fly causes Sudeep to have a freak accident on his way to the airport and writes "I will kill you" on the windshield; this makes Sudeep paranoid. The fly, who sees Bindu mourning Nani's death in her bedroom, reveals itself to be Nani by writing on the desk with her tears. It conveys the circumstances of Nani's death to Bindu, and they join forces against Sudeep. The latter's obsession with the fly affects his professional and personal life. In a chain of events, his black money is burnt to ashes, leaving him almost penniless. [e]

Sudeep learns from a sorcerer named Tantra that Nani is reincarnated as a fly and seeks revenge. Sudeep arranges to kill Nani at his home, but the fly escapes after causing a short circuit and a fire, which locks up the room. Tantra is killed in an accident and Sudeep is left unconscious from the smoke. Nani and Bindu assume Sudeep is dead, but he is saved by his business partner Adithya. Sudeep is enraged when he learns that Bindu is helping the fly. Sudeep kills Adithya to collect a 700 crore (US$130 million)[d] insurance policy, as well as to prevent his investors from taking action against his company.

Sudeep takes Bindu to his home to interrogate her, and Nani follows them. Bindu, after attempting to stab Sudeep with a razor blade, has her life threatened as Sudeep demands Nani to appear. During the encounter however, Nani seriously injures Sudeep with a needle. After an intensive fight, the latter clips Nani's wing before fatally stabbing him with the same needle. Knowing that he is dying, in a last-ditch attempt to destroy Sudeep, Nani coats himself with gunpowder and jumps through the flame of a burning match and into a cannon, which was loaded with a steel ball. The cannon fires and the projectile passes through Sudeep's chest and hits an oxygen cylinder, causing a fierce explosion in which Sudeep dies and his entire house burns down. A grieving Bindu (who hid from the inferno unscathed), pines for Nani and takes his wing and makes an amulet with it. One day when travelling to work, an eve teaser bothers her; Nani, again reborn as a Honeybee, attacks him with a needle before announcing his return.

The young girl is impressed with the story of the fly her father narrates. During the credits, her father recounts the fate of a drunken thief who broke into Bindu's house earlier in the story; and who ultimately turns his life around after overhearing a loving speech given to Nani by Bindu and mistakenly believing that Bindu was speaking to him.

Cast

Production

Origin, scripting, and casting

I heard the story [of Eega] 16 years ago from my father about a fly who comes back to take revenge. At that time, I wasn't even an assistant director. When I started making films, I stuck to formula films for a while which did well at the box office. After a while, I was getting too comfortable with what I was doing, so I wanted to experiment with something completely different. I wanted to take the audience by surprise and that is when I went back to the story I had heard 16 years ago.

 — Rajamouli in October 2012 on the origin of the film.[10]

The idea of Eega originated in the mid-1990s in screenwriter V. Vijayendra Prasad's mind. At that time, he was joking about a housefly seeking revenge on a human in a conversation with his son S. S. Rajamouli.[11] Prasad later developed the idea as a script for an English-language film set in 1830s America, in which an African-American boy dies in an attempt to free his family from slavery and is reincarnated as a fly.[12] After completing Maryada Ramanna (2010), Rajamouli reconsidered the concept after thinking of directing a film that was distinct from any other.[13] He decided to make Eega a bilingual film in Telugu and Tamil – each scene including speech was filmed twice, once for each language.[14] The Tamil version, titled Naan Ee, was Rajamouli's directorial debut in Tamil cinema.[15] The film was presented by D. Suresh Babu of Suresh Productions.[16][f]

For the first time in his career, Rajamouli began casting after the script was completed because he felt the story required actors who were suitable for the roles.[14] Nani, the protagonist, was the first of the three of the main cast members to be chosen;[4] he completed filming his scenes in 25 days.[18][g] Samantha, the second actor cast,[4] was signed as the female lead.[19] Rajamouli chose Sudeepa to play the fly's human adversary after being impressed with the actor's performance in Rann (2010),[14] and cast rapper Noel Sean as Nani's friend in the film.[20] Sudeepa drew inspiration for his role as the villain from the 1983 Kannada film Bhakta Prahlada;[21][22] he was portraying a character he considered to be a "bad guy" with "grey shades" rather than an antagonist.[22]

The script was doctored by Rajamouli's cousin, S. S. Kanchi,[23] while Janardhan Maharshi and Crazy Mohan wrote the dialogue for the Telugu and Tamil versions respectively, marking their first collaboration with Rajamouli.[24][25] James Fowlds was initially chosen as the film's director of photography,[26] but was replaced by K. K. Senthil Kumar due to creative differences and scheduling conflicts.[27] M. M. Keeravani composed the film's soundtrack and score,[28][h] Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao edited the film,[30] Ravinder Reddy was its art director,[31] and Rajamouli's wife Rama worked on the costume design.[32]

Production of the film began with a formal launch ceremony on 7 December 2010 in Hyderabad.[33] The original version was filmed over a six-month period and cost nearly 11 crore; Rajamouli felt the quality of the material was poor and started again.[14][i] The film's final budget was estimated at between 30 and 40 crore.[a][d]

Filming and post-production

Sudeepa and Nani sit in chairs and listen to Rajamouli.
Sudeepa (left), Nani (middle), and Rajamouli during filming

Principal photography began on 22 February 2011 in Hyderabad;[34] ninety percent of the film was shot at Ramanaidu Studios in the city.[35] A sequence was filmed at Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy Temple in Ammapally near Shamshabad, in early March 2011.[36] Scenes with Nani, Samantha, and Sudeepa were filmed during the first shooting schedule, which was completed on 16 March.[37] Shooting was disrupted in April by an ongoing labour dispute between film workers and producers. Rajamouli considered moving Eega out of Hyderabad if the strike continued.[38] Filming continued in Kokapet in early September 2011,[39] and principal photography was completed in late February 2012 as post-production began.[40]

According to Rajamouli, the film unit consulted a 3D video of the storyboard before shooting a scene each day. After the filming of each scene was completed, the editing and re-recording procedures were done with simple greyscale animation.[11] An Arri Alexa camera, a prime lens, and Scorpio and Strada cranes were used for the principal photography, while a probe lens and high-intensity lighting were used for the macro photography.[27] Senthil Kumar had to use a special lens with a minimum f-stop of f8.0; the wide apertures required high-intensity lighting to get acceptable shots.[41] He used GoPro cameras as they were the smallest possible ones that offered close to professional resolution. Phantom Cam was used to film extreme slow motion sequences; certain scenes were shot at 2,000 frames per second.[27]

Digital intermediate (DI) was conducted at Annapurna Studios in Hyderabad.[27] A high-end DI system was imported and the process took six months to complete.[42] Singer Chinmayi, who dubbed for Samantha in Eega, found the process difficult because the footage did not contain the animated fly.[43] Rajamouli approached Anuj Gurwara to write the dialogue for the Hindi-dubbed version titled Makkhi. The Hindi dubbing began in Hyderabad, and Gurwara dubbed for Nani in the film.[44] Ajay Devgan and his wife Kajol, acting as parents telling the film's story to their child at bedtime, provided voiceovers during the opening credits of Makkhi.[45] The visuals accompanying the closing credits were altered to show the fly mimicking the antics of Devgan, Salman Khan, and Akshay Kumar.[46]

Visual effects

Rajamouli explaining a sequence to Draper
Rajamouli and Draper on the set

R. C. Kamalakannan and Pete Draper of Makuta VFX oversaw Eega's visual effects,[47][48] and Rahul Venugopal was the film's set supervisor and matte painter.[49] V. Srinivas Mohan, who later collaborated with Rajamouli on Baahubali: The Beginning, worked on a short sequence for the film.[50] Rajamouli planned to complete work on the fly imagery in four months, but it took fourteen.[35]

Ninety percent of the animation-related work was done in Hyderabad; the remaining ten percent was completed in the United States.[51] In an Indo-Asian News Service interview, Draper said he collaborated with thirteen experts and a large team of animators to design the fly.[52] Because the film's fly's eyes comprise 80 percent of its face, Rajamouli felt they could make it expressive; he used the 1986 Pixar American short film Luxo Jr. for inspiration. The output of the first team of animators, using the reference material prepared, was unsatisfactory, and Rajamouli reworked the fly's detailing.[13] Using a powerful lens, the film team conducted an arduous photographic shoot of unconscious flies in a bottle stored in a refrigerator. After enlarging the details, Rajamouli made cosmetic changes to the fly's face to make it look appealing onscreen.[51] A new team, including Draper, three concept artists, three modellers, two shader designers, two hair and fur designers, three riggers and several animators, designed the animated fly in two months.[13][52] Its head and fur were designed after shaping its body and wings. The fly was refined daily using clay models to expedite the process.[52] The animators found the sequences between Sudeepa and the fly much more difficult to execute because the latter had to express emotions only through its slender arms rather than its face.[35]

Some of the special effects could not be designed in India, so Makuta VFX engaged animation consultants in Armenia, China, Iran, Israel, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The company's 30-member team underwent a training programme on acting theory and insect formats.[35] Eega is the first Indian film to use computer-generated imagery for nearly 90 minutes of its length; the film had 2,234 live-action animation shots. By mid-June 2012, Rajamouli had approved 1,970 shots; the final version was shown to the film unit after the approval of 226 pending shots.[53] The visual effects cost an estimated 7 crore.[54]

Themes

Portrait of David fighting Goliath
Rajamouli compared the battle between the fly and Sudeepa with that between David and Goliath (pictured), saying that victories by underdogs matter.[55]

The film's main theme is revenge; the soul of a murdered man is reincarnated as a fly and seeks revenge against his killer. Rajamouli identified some similarities to David Cronenberg's The Fly (1986), in which a scientist becomes a fly when his experiment malfunctions, and thought of Eega as a "socio-fantasy" rather than a science fiction film.[56] At a meeting with students at the Annapurna International School of Film and Media Campus (AIFSM), he compared the battle between the fly and Sudeepa, which the underdog fly wins, to David's triumph over Goliath and India's victory in the 1983 Cricket World Cup.[55] Crazy Mohan compared the film with Apoorva Sagodharargal (1989), a revenge drama whose protagonist Appu (Kamal Haasan) is a dwarf.[57]

Mohan told Malathi Rangarajan of The Hindu that although the film's script may resemble those of Stuart Little (1999) and Shrek (2001), the use of the plight of someone tormented by a housefly was an original idea.[25] According to Tamil film historian and actor Mohan Raman, Naan Ee—unlike the animal-centred films Nalla Neram (1972) and Neeya? (1979)—lacks a human protagonist.[5] Film critic Baradwaj Rangan found Eega's protagonist realistic, contrary to the ones in the animated films by the Walt Disney Company, except when it displays a few anthropomorphic traits.[58] Mid-Day compared Eega to Cockroach (2010), an Australian short film about a man who is reincarnated as a cockroach after he is accidentally killed on his wedding day.[59]

The film's secondary theme is the survival of love beyond death. Rangan has likened Eega to a ghost film because a dead protagonist returns to his loved ones as a troubled soul.[58] Malini Mannath of The New Indian Express found the scene where the fly foils Sudeepa's attempt to get close to Bindu reminiscent of one in the film Ghost (1990).[60] Mayank Shekhar criticised the relationship between the lead pair, which he said advocates stalking as an accepted form of romance.[61] Malathi Rangarajan said the antagonist took the "extreme step" of murdering the hero early in the film, in contrast with the stereotypical antagonist whose lust for the female lead has just begun and threatens the hero.[62]

Commenting on the usage of Tantrism, The New Indian Express' Kruthi Grover found the death of the sorcerer similar to the story of Bhasmasura,[63] a demon in Indian mythology to whom Shiva gives the power to reduce a person to ashes by touching her or his head. When Bhasmasura tries to touch Shiva's head, Vishnu assumes the form of Mohini and makes Bhasmasura touch his own head, killing him.[64] According to Malathi Rangarajan, the film's themes of Tantrism and black magic are reminiscent of the use of the occult as a plot device in films directed by B. Vittalacharya.[62]

Music

Main article: Eega (soundtrack)

The soundtracks of Eega and Naan Ee, each consisting of five songs—one of which is a remixed version of the film's title song—were composed by M. M. Keeravani.[65][h] Keeravani said because the film's theme of revenge and the protagonist (a housefly) are universal concepts, his "only challenge" was ensuring the music did not have a "distinct ethnic or regional flavour" and "appeal".[66] He incorporated the buzzing sound made by flies into the score and exaggerated or reduced it according to a scene's emotional nature.[66] Rajamouli approached Madhan Karky to write the lyrics for Naan Ee's soundtrack after the release of Enthiran (2010), explaining the importance of each song in the film's narrative. As well as providing detailed profiles of the characters, Rajamouli enacted a few scenes, which helped Karky write the lyrics.[67]

Eega's soundtrack was released on 4 April 2012 at a promotional event at Shanti Sarovar, Brahma Kumaris' academy in Gachibowli, a suburb of Hyderabad.[68][69] The soundtrack for Naan Ee was released on 2 May at another promotional event at Sathyam Cinema in Chennai.[70] Eega's soundtrack release on iTunes was delayed until 7 April to avoid piracy and illegal downloads.[71]

Writing for The Hindu, Sangeetha Devi Dundoo called the soundtrack "melodious ... sharply contrasted by the background score, which seamlessly moves from sober to playful to pulsating".[72] Another critic for The Hindu, S. R. Ashok Kumar praised Vijay Prakash's rendition of "Konjam Konjam".[73] Kumar appreciated the use of violins in "Eedaa Eedaa" and called "Lava Lava" "a good number".[65] Karthik Pasupulate of The Times of India wrote that Keeravani "just seems to reserve his best for [Rajamouli]", calling the soundtrack "one of his finest".[73]

Release

Nani, Sanjeev Lamba, Ajay Devgan, Rajamouli, Keeravani and Suresh Babu stand and look towards the camera.
Left to right: Nani, Sanjeev Lamba, Ajay Devgan, S. S. Rajamouli, M. M. Keeravani, and Suresh Babu at the special screening of Makkhi, the Hindi dubbed version of Eega, in Mumbai

Eega, with Naan Ee and Eecha, was released on 6 July 2012 on approximately 1,100 screens.[74][j] The Government of Tamil Nadu levied entertainment tax on Naan Ee at the rate of 30%.[77] Eega's Hindi-dubbed version, titled Makkhi, was released on 12 October 2012.[78] The film was further dubbed into Swahili as Inzi and released with the slogan "Kisasi Cha Mwisho" (Fly: the ultimate revenge).[79] Inzi was released in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Republic of the Congo, making Eega the first Telugu film to be released in Africa.[79]

Distribution

Global distribution rights for the Telugu version were sold for 34 crore (US$6.24 million), and PVP Cinema acquired Naan Ee's distribution rights for 5 crore.[80][d] Outside India, 14 Reels Entertainment distributed Eega and Naan Ee in association with Ficus, Inc.[81] Reliance Entertainment acquired Makkhi's distribution rights.[82]

Piracy issues

Weeks after Eega's release, its pirated version was released; it was illegally filmed in a theatre in Varadaiahpalem, Chittoor district.[83] A forensic watermarking investigation on the pirated copies determined that a camcorder was used in the process.[84] The digital watermarking also helped investigators locate the source of the piracy of Naan Ee to a theatre in Coimbatore.[85]

According to Rajamouli, Eega was illegally downloaded 655,000 times within a week of the pirated version being leaked on the Internet.[86] Rajamouli added that a database of IP addresses of non-resident Indians who frequently download content was shared with immigration authorities which could affect their potential US residence permit applications.[84] The anti-piracy cell delinked more than 2,000 links to the pirated versions of Naan Ee on the internet.[87]

Home media

Naan Ee's satellite television rights were sold to Sun TV for 3.35 crore—a record price for a Telugu director's film, exceeding Rajamouli's initial expectations.[88][d] Makkhi's television-broadcast rights were sold to STAR Gold for 8 crore.[89][90] According to STAR Gold general manager Hemal Jhaveri, Makkhi's television premiere had a target rating point rating of 3.5;[91] trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai called its performance "phenomenal".[92]

In November 2012, Aditya Music released Eega on Blu-ray with English subtitles and DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound. The release also contained a two-hour DVD about the making of the film.[93] J. Hurtado of Twitch Film reviewed the Blu-ray version, writing, "The most egregious mangling of the film comes in the form of a severely fucked contrast scale, which leads to absurdly crushed black levels rendering nearly all shadow detail completely obliterated". Hurtado called the audio a "thing of beauty, giving good separation and a booming low end that puts you in the middle of the Eega action in a way that even my theatrical experience couldn't do".[93]

Reception

Box office

According to trade analyst Komal Nahta, Eega netted 17 crore in South India on its first day of release.[94][d] On its opening weekend, it grossed US$538,996 from 31 screens in the United States—a per-screen average of $17,387.[95][d] In ten days, Naan Ee grossed 13 crore from 208 screens in Tamil Nadu.[96][d] On its second weekend, Eega grossed $253,334 from 42 screens in the US, bringing its ten-day total in that country to $913,046. By then, Naan Ee had grossed a total of $14,259 in the United States.[97][d] Naan Ee earned 18 crore in three weeks at the Tamil Nadu box office—a record for a bilingual, Telugu-Tamil film.[98][d] By early August 2012, the combined distributor share for the Telugu and Tamil versions was 57 crore.[99][d] The Hindi-dubbed version, Makkhi, had not achieved equivalent commercial success as of June 2015.[100]

According to Bangalore Mirror, the film grossed 115 crore globally as of August 2012.[101][d] Its final global gross is estimated at 125 to 130 crore ($23–24 million).[b][d] Eega grossed nearly $1.08 million in the United States; it was one of the country's highest-grossing Telugu films.[102][d] It was declared the highest-grossing bilingual film in Tamil Nadu after it earned 24.66 crore, with a distributor share of 8.5 crore, in 50 days. The film broke the record held by Arundhati (2009), whose Tamil-dubbed version earned a distributor share of 6.5 crore.[77][d]

Indo-Asian News Service stated that Eega was the highest-grossing Telugu film of 2012,[103] but Bangalore Mirror said it was the second-highest (after Gabbar Singh) in box-office revenue.[104] According to Deccan Herald, Eega and Julayi were the only 2012 big-budget Telugu films to break even and have a positive audience response.[105] Makkhi opened poorly, despite positive word-of-mouth,[106] eventually ending up as an average grosser.[100] Regarding the performance of Makkhi, Rajamouli felt the film was poorly presented and did not reach its theatrical audience even though it was better received on television,[f] and so later on collaborated with filmmaker Karan Johar – whom he considered the "one missing link" – on the presentation of the Hindi-dubbed version of his later film, Baahubali: The Beginning.[100]

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 100% of 10 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.5/10.[107]

Baradwaj Rangan, writing for The Hindu, said without a human protagonist, only a villain and a heroine, the audience is "led through a story that's funny, sentimental, action-packed, romantic—there's even a bit of the occult thrown in".[58] Also for The Hindu, Malathi Rangarajan wrote, "Let's celebrate the figment of [Rajamouli's] imagination that has made the housefly appear as invincible as any of our muscle-flexing heroes".[62] Karishma Upadhyay of The Telegraph called the film "a winner from the first frame to the last" and praised Rajamouli's screenplay, writing that it made "the absurd seem real, willing you to accept anything that he throws at you".[108] J. Hurtado of Twitch Film called Eega the "best, most insane, most inventive film of the year", and praised Rajamouli's scripting, the visual effects and Sudeepa's performance, calling the latter "legitimately hilarious".[109] V. S. Rajapur, Indo-Asian News Service gave Eega four stars out of five, and praised the performances and music; Rajapur was particularly appreciative of the visual effects, saying the hard work put in by the entire team was "clearly visible onscreen".[110] A reviewer from Sify called Eega an "escapist, comic book-like fantasy" that "throws you into an experience so profound that nothing else really matters".[111]

Radhika Rajamani of Rediff.com awarded Eega four stars out of five; she praised its visual effects, performances and cinematography and said Sudeepa "is such a delight to watch on screen".[112] Karthik Pasupulate and M. Suganth of The Times of India both gave Eega four stars out of five; Pasupulate said it offers a "mind-bending thrill-a-second ride of the season, probably the decade". Suganth called it a "bravura piece of commercial filmmaking that is an unqualified triumph in every aspect".[73][113] Rajeev Masand of News18 gave the film four stars out of five and praised its concept, and said Sudeepa played his role with a "true comic book flair" and a "cartoonish tinge".[114] Writing for Bollywood Hungama, Subhash K. Jha praised Eega's "sharp clenched narrative", which overshadowed the "shaky plot". He further wrote, "Gutsy sly and original, this is the entertainer of the season".[115] Anupama Chopra gave the film four stars out of five in a review for Hindustan Times and called it a "mad roller coaster ride that's worth taking" and the "most outlandish film [she has] seen in years".[116] Shabana Ansari rated Eega three stars out of five in a Daily News and Analysis review and called the animated fly a "new-age Indian hero" with "lofty ideas".[117]

Kruthi Grover of The New Indian Express wrote that Eega lacks a proper structure despite having effective visual effects and editing. She added that the film turns into a "silly animated movie for kids" after the fly's birth.[63] Reviewing Makkhi for Dainik Bhaskar, Mayank Shekhar said the film's premise is stretched beyond its potential and that as a result, it "just goes on and on and on" in its "original, tacky, raw form".[61]

Accolades

Main article: List of accolades received by Eega

Eega received the Best Feature Film in Telugu and Best Special Effects awards at the 60th National Film Awards.[118] It later received a B. Nagi Reddy Memorial Award as Best Wholesome Entertainment from the Government of Andhra Pradesh.[119][120] At the 60th Filmfare Awards South Eega received seven nominations and won five awards, including Best Film – Telugu, Best Director – Telugu, and Best Supporting Actor – Telugu (Sudeepa).[121][122]

Samantha posing for a photo
Samantha at the 60th Filmfare Awards South ceremony, where she won the Best Actress – Telugu award for Eega.[123]

Samantha received Filmfare Best Actress awards in the Telugu and Tamil categories for her performances in Eega and Neethaane En Ponvasantham, becoming the third Indian female actor to win these awards in both languages in the same year (after J. Jayalalithaa and Revathi, who won 1972 and 1993 Best Actress awards for Sri Krishna Satya, Pattikada Pattanama and Thevar Magan and Ankuram respectively).[123][124] At the 2nd South Indian International Movie Awards, Eega received seven nominations and won three awards; Best Film, Best Cinematographer, and Best Actor in a Negative Role.[125][126] Ravinder Reddy won the Best Art Direction Award at the 2013 Fantaspoa International Fantastic Film Festival in Brazil for his work in Eega.[127] The film won nine awards, including Most Original Film, Best Film to Watch With a Crowd, and Best Special Effects at the eighth annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival in November 2013.[128] At the 7th Vijay Awards in 2013, Sudeepa won the Best Villain Award for his performance in Naan Ee.[129] Eega won eight awards at the 2012 Nandi Awards, including Best Director, Best Villain and Best Music Director for Rajamouli, Sudeepa and M. M. Keeravani respectively.[130]

The film's Telugu version was shown at film festivals worldwide.[131] In December 2012, it was shown at the annual Chennai International Film Festival.[132] After showings at the L'Étrange and Sundance film festivals,[133] it was the only Telugu film screened in the Marché du Film section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and the panorama section of the 2013 Shanghai International Film Festival.[131][134][135]

Eega is the only Telugu film to receive six nominations at the Madrid International Film Festival, and is the first Indian Best Film nominee. Nominations at the 2013 edition of the film festival included Best Film, Best Supporting Actor (Sudeepa), and Best Cinematographer (Senthil Kumar).[136] The film was invited to the 2013 Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea,[137] and was the fifth foreign-language film shown at the 18th Busan International Film Festival in October 2013.[138]

Legacy

Sudeepa looking at the camera
Eega's success gave Sudeepa national recognition and acclaim from fellow actors, including Rajinikanth and Nagarjuna.[139][140]

Sudeepa received national recognition for his performance in Eega;[139] Rajinikanth told him, "I thought I was the best villain to date. But you beat me to it".[140] His performance was appreciated by other celebrities such as Nagarjuna, Mahesh Babu, and Ram Gopal Varma;[140][141][142] Varma said he recognised Sudeep's potential after watching Eega, adding, "Many take his acting in that film for granted, with respect to his expressions when interacting with the fly, but as a director, I know how difficult it is to act when you are imagining the fly to be there".[142] Sudeepa's performance in Naan Ee impressed filmmaker Chimbu Deven, who cast him as the antagonist in Puli (2015).[143]

Speaking about the centenary of Indian cinema at the CII Media & Entertainment Summit 2012, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur said regional cinema is surpassing Hindi cinema in content and story, and cited Eega as an example. Kapur said he was impressed with its story and use of technology, and called it "no less than a Hollywood superhero film".[144] Shah Rukh Khan called Eega an "awesomely original" film and a "must watch" with children.[145] Lavanya Tripathi cited Nani's performance in Eega as one of the reasons she worked with him in Bhale Bhale Magadivoy (2015).[146]

Eega was parodied twice in Bhimaneni Srinivasa Rao's comedy film Sudigadu (2012); when a young girl asks her father to tell her a bedtime story in the opening credits,[147] and in a scene in which the protagonist threatens to kill a female crime boss with weapons designed by Rajamouli, including the fly's needle.[148] In December 2012, Eega and Sudeepa topped Radhika Rajamani's Rediff.com "Top Five Telugu Films of 2012" and "Best Telugu Actors of 2012" lists; according to her, Sudeepa left an "indelible" mark on the film and gave an "exceptionally good account" of himself as the antagonist.[149][150] Shobha Warrier of Reddif placed Sudeepa on her list of "Top Tamil Actors of 2012", writing that his performance was "so superlative and far superior to any other actor's in Tamil" that it "has to be termed as the best performance of the year".[151] Radhika Rajamani ranked Rajamouli first on her "Top Telugu Directors of 2012" list, which was published in January 2013.[152] In 2020, Sankeertana Verma of Film Companion included the film in her list of "25 Greatest Telugu Films Of The Decade".[153]

Adam Nayman of The Ringer listed Eega among "The 25 Best Foreign Films of the Decade".[154] In August 2015, Pooja Darade of The Times of India included Eega in her list of "Telugu movies one must watch before dying"; she said it "has set a high standard of how creativity can be used effectively".[155] In an April 2016 interview with The Hindu, Tamil actor Suriya said films like Sagara Sangamam (1983), Eega, Baahubali: The Beginning, and Manam (2014) are remembered much longer than more conventional films.[156]

In 2019, the film's plot was widely shared on social media in Spanish-speaking countries because of its unique plot that involved a fly taking revenge on a human.[157]

Notes

  1. ^ a b The New Indian Express quoted Nani estimating the film's budget as 26 crore,[2] S. S. Rajamouli mentioned the film's budget to be around 30 crore on one occasion[3] and as 30–35 crore in another interview,[4] and Rajeev Kamineni of PVP Cinema estimated the film's budget as 40 crore in an interview with The Times of India.[5]
  2. ^ a b The Economic Times estimates the final gross figure as 125 crore,[6] while Deccan Herald estimates the final gross figure to be nearly 130 crore.[7]
  3. ^ The average exchange rate in 2011 was 51.10 Indian rupees () per 1 US dollar (US$).[8]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q The average exchange rate in 2012 was 54.47 Indian rupees () per 1 US dollar (US$).[8]
  5. ^ Sudeep tries to transact some money from his password protected safe. The fly, however, gets in the way and disturbs him while he types the password. This leads to him inadvertently typing the password wrongly and locking the safe. When he tries to open the safe with a welding machine, the fly repeatedly disturbs him. He leaves the welding machine switched on near the safe lock. The machine burns through the safe, burning the money in the process. By the time Sudeep discovers this, the money has already burned to ashes, leaving him almost penniless.[9]
  6. ^ a b A film presenter is generally a well-known filmmaker who helps in introducing a film to a larger section of the audience.[17]
  7. ^ Rajamouli reshot the entire film,[14] and it is not clear from Nani's interview whether the 25 days includes both versions of the shooting schedule.[18]
  8. ^ a b M. M. Keeravani used the pseudonyms Maragathamani for the Tamil version, Vedanarayana for the Malayalam dubbed version, and M. M. Kreem for the Hindi dubbed version.[29]
  9. ^ The average exchange rate in 2011 was 51.10 Indian rupees () per 1 US dollar (US$).[8]
  10. ^ The Hindu estimated the film's global screen count as 1,100,[75] while The Times of India estimated the film's global screen count to be 1,200.[76]

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