The film was critically acclaimed and a commercial success in overseas. The film had a special screening at International Film Festival of India on 28 November 2011. The film was dubbed into Tamil in 2012 under the same title with S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Sunitha Upadrashta voicing the roles of Balakrishna and Nayanatara respectively.
The story begins with Rama (Nandamuri Balakrishna) returning to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana along with Goddess Sita (Nayanthara) and crowned as the emperor, settles down to a harmonious lifestyle. When his spies inform him that his reputation may be at stake as Sita had spent over a year in Ravana's Lanka, he asks Lakshman (Srikanth) to ensure that Sita is sent to exile. A devastated, pregnant, and distraught Sita is rescued by Valmiki (Akkineni Nageswara Rao), who takes her to his Ashram by renaming her as Lokapavni, where she subsequently gives birth to twin sons Lava (Master Gaurav) & Kusha (Master Dhanush Kumar). Lord Hanuman (Vindu Dara Singh) also accompanies Sita and serves her in the form of tribal child Balaraju (Master Pavan Sriram). Valmiki trains them in every possible way, including knowledge, warfare, and religion. Ten years later, the twins decide to visit a drought and famine-ravaged Ayodhya to get the blessings of Srirama and Sita as well recite the Ramayan and this is where they will find out that Srirama has exiled Sita, and they return home disappointed and refuse to recite the Ramayan anymore. The twins then stop the Aswamedha horse is not realizing that they will soon be thrust into confrontation with none other than Lakshman, Srirama and the entire army of Ayodhya.After that they know about their father none other than Sri Rama. Sita reunites her two sons Kusha and Lava with their father Rama and returns to her mother(Bhudevi).Nandamuri Balakrishna as Lord Rama
Nayanthara as Goddess Sita
Akkineni Nageswara Rao as Valmiki
Srikanth as Lakshmana
Roja as Bhudevi
Murali Mohan as Janaka Maha Raju
M. Balaiah as Maharshi Vashistha
Brahmanandam as Tippadu
A.V.S as Narada
Vindu Dara Singh as Hanuman
Sameer as Bharata
K. R. Vijaya as Kousalya Devi
Sudha as Queen Sunayana (Janaka's wife)
Sana as Kaikeyi
Master Gaurav as Lava
Master Dhanush Kumar as Kusha
Master Pavan Sriram as Balaraju (Child Hanuman)
Veteran director Bapu announced that he would remake 1963 film Lava Kusa with Balakrishna who reprises the role of Lord Rama which was enacted by his father N. T. Rama Rao in the original film. Bapu's friend Mullapudi Venkata Ramana has written the screenplay and dialogues for the film and notably was his last film as he died before the film's release. Bapu said that the title of the film was inspired from 1943 Hindi film Ram Rajya.
Balakrishna was assigned to play Rama while Nayanthara was selected to play Seetha after considering Jyothika, Anushka Shetty and Sneha. Balakrishna said that when Saibabu approached him for the role the moment he said that Bapu is to direct the film, without any questions, he immediately said ‘yes'. For the character, Balakrishna had to shave off his moustache. Sandhya Janak was selected to play the role of queen Sumithra. Saikumar was initially approached to the enact the character of Bharatha but he was eventually replaced by Sameer. Gaurav, Dhanush and Pawan were selected to play the characters of Lava, Kusa and young Hanuman.
The filming began on November 22, 2010. The costumes for the film was designed by Anu Vardhan. Anu stated that for Nayanthara, she went and picked up tulasi mala from authentic places. Balakrishna had used his father's accessories and jewellery and Anu replicated it to match with the heroine. Yugandhar Tammareddy of Pixelloid said that Bapu and his team gave storyboards down to the last detail. Along with 100 of his team members, Yugandhar had his task cut out. "The breathtaking palace, the pushpaka vimanam, the Bhoodevi sequence…" were all created by his team. Yugandhar said: "For the palace, we asked the filmmakers to erect a 12-foot palace set just so that there is authenticity when people walk on the floor, lean against a wall or touch a piece of furniture. The rest was done on visual effects". The film was entirely shot at Ramoji Film City with a set erected resembling a kingdom.
The audio of the film was released on 15 August 2011 and the launch was held at Bhadrachalam under Bhadradri Ramayya and Seetamma’s Sannidi on the same day. The soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraaja and it features 15 tracks. The lyrics for Telugu version were penned by Jonnavithhula Ramalingeswara Rao while Mankombu Gopalakrishnan and Piraisoodan penned lyrics for Malayalam and Tamil versions respectively.Telugu version
Release and reception
The film was supposed to release on November 10 but got postponed and released on 17 November 2011. The film has been released in Tamil on 27 July 2012. The Malayalam version was released as well. Producer Sai Babu has said that a good response has come from Malayalam movie lovers and is planning to release the Hindi version soon.
The film was publicised with posters attached in tricycles. P. V. V. Raghavendra Babu, general manager of Prathima Multiplex told "We want to bring back olden days of publicity for the latest mythological movie of Sri Rama Rajyam and get film lovers back to the theatres".
Upon release, the film received positive reviews from critics. CNN-IBN which gave a four stars, said "Sri Rama Rajyam is one film that the Telugu film industry can be proud of. Sri Rama Rajyam is a well-known story, so it's a challenge to remake such a classic, but Bapu's good work turns the remake into another classic. Filmgoers, who look for classics, should not miss this film".
Deccan Chronicle rated three stars explains "Superstar Balakrishna finally stepped into his legendary father NTR's shoes and impressed audiences playing the role of Lord Rama. Veteran director Bapu deserves all the praise he gets for remaking the classic Lava Kusa (1963) and retaining the soul of the original". NDTV described as "In all, Sri Rama Rajyam is a feel-good film that brilliantly showcases our ancient culture".
Oneindia.in noted "Sri Rama Rajyam is a feel good film that showcases our ancient culture, heritage and values. The way Bapu managed to make the film into a visual and musical delight is extraordinary and it is a film that can give you an enriching experience while entertaining you in good measure". Rediff gave three stars said "Kudos to Bapu and Saibabu for recreating the Ramayana magic on celluloid. Only Bapu, the veteran director, could have executed this mammoth task so well. Sri Ramarajyam is an optical feast. Go for it". Sify gave verdict as "Good" and says "The movie holds ample strength to live up to the expectations at the box office. Bapu and his associate Ramana does not deviate much from Lava Kusa, and they took great pains to see that the element of exaggeration is completely checked". The Hindu wrote: "The director Bapu should be applauded for re-inventing the mythological and using a glitzy starcast and getting an understated performance from all of them".
The film has completed 50 days on 5 January 2012 in 49 centres at the Box office. The film has completed 100 days on 24 February 2012.
Director K. Viswanath compared the duo Bapu and Ramana to "technically perfect and smooth" Rolls Royce. Novel of the film based on the screenplay was released in 2012. Rediff included the film in their list "Top Five Telugu Films of 2011".