Home MoviesReviews

NTR Mahanayakudu Review: Myopic

NTR Mahanayakudu Review: Myopic

Movie: NTR Mahanayakudu
Rating: 2.5/5
NBK Films
Cast: Nandamuri Balakrishna, Vidya Balan, Nandamuri Kalyanram, Rana Daggubati, Sumanth, Sachin Khedekar, Vennela Kishore and others
Dialogues: Sai Madhav Burra
Music: M M Keeravani
Cinematography: Jnana Sekhar V S
Art: Saahi Suresh
Producers: Nandamuri Balakrishna
Written and direction: Krish
Release date: Feb 22, 2019

The first part of NTR Biopic was a damp squib at box-office. The result shocked the trade and the makers. So, there were no expectations on the second part.

The makers also didn’t do any publicity. Amidst low hopes, the second part “NTR Mayanayakudu” hit the screens.

Let’s find out whether this is any good.

In 1982, NTR establishes Telugu Desam party. With his populist schemes and charisma, NTR becomes CM in 1983. When his wife needs treatment for cancer, he takes her to USA.

While his wife was getting treated for cancer and he gets operated for his heart ailment, back home Nadendla Bhaskar Rao is plotting a coup against him.

Nadendla takes power and becomes CM with the support from PM Indira Gandhi at center. How NTR rides back to power by leading a people’s movement forms the rest of the drama.

Artistes’ Performances:
Nandamuri Balakrishna has portrayed his father NT Rama Rao’s role perfectly. Unlike the first part, Balakrishna is completely seen in old avatar and there are no getups. Given Balakrishna’s current age, he is suited well for NTR the politician’s role. He has also got the body language right.

Vidya Balan as devoted wife of NTR gets more footage after Balakrishna and she brings emotional quotient to the story with her nuanced performance.

Sachin Khedekar as Nadendla Bhaskar Rao, the villain of this story, steals the show. Rana as Nara Chandra Babu Naidu gets more screen space in the second half.

Technical Excellence:
As we have already noted in the first part, the cinematography and production design gets good marks. Keeravani’s music is pretty plain. Editing is better in this part.

The dialogues by Sai Madhav Burra sound theatrical and artificial especially the dialogue about NTR saying that Basavatarakam insisted on giving birth to 12 children in the hope that her dead elder son would be born again sounds like a stage-play.

Balakrishna and Vidya Balan

Documentary feel
Babu Bajana

In recent media interviews, director Krish said Valmiki “Ramayanam” was the reference to write the screenplay for NTR’s Biopic as Valmiki ended the story with Lord Rama’s Pattabhishekam, and didn’t focus on his later life.

Similarly, Krish has suppressed NTR’s political life to only three years - 1982 to 1985 in order to avoid the controversial aspects of NTR’s later life.

To avoid to show Nara Chandra Babu Naidu’s 1995 coup against NTR and NTR’s marriage with Lakshmi Parvathi, Krish has ended the second part with the passing away of Basavatarakam who died of cancer in 1985. This has given Krish limited scope to make the movie into a full-fledged biopic.

He rather has focused on the coup of Nadendla Bhaskara Rao and made him a villain for all convenient reasons.

Although the Nadendla’s episode is truthful to the history, if we excuse some dramatization and some liberties taken in the process, the second half of the drama turns as a propaganda vehicle for Nara Chandrababu Naidu.

Krish has used this film to showcase Chandrababu as the person who helped NTR in strengthening the party and that he planned everything to keep their MLAs together away from Nadendla.

Krish has also written unnecessary scenes of showing Naidu’s virtue – like how congress party had not given him better chances despite showing more loyalty and how NTR spotted his “talent” when he was about to leave politics and run a hotel in Tirupathi. At one time, it seems the movie is turning into CBN’s NTR than an NTR Biopic.

Coming to the movie’s main plot: the second part runs two parallel aspects. One is strong relationship between wife and husband, Basavatarakam and NTR. The other is NTR’s rise as a formidable political leader.

The former is told in more engaging and neat manner, the latter is narrated in clumsy and documentary way.

There is no denying the fact that NTR created history by coming into power within nine months after formation of his party but the scenes of canvassing and the sequences of involving him and Indira Gandhi are filled with over drama, less engagement.

Besides Babu bajana in the second half also goes in documentary style in depicting the 1984 political developments thereby making us lose interest in it. Despite reasonable runtime, the slackened pace in the second half gives a lengthy movie.

The positive aspects in the film are its tighter duration, Balakrishna and Vidya Balan’s moments and depiction of some sequences. However, the film takes too much of cinematic liberties like Doordarshan running news bulletins for every assembly seat. There were no such running bulletins back then on TV. And moreover, the entire characterization of Chandrababu Naidu is far from the truth.

In the end, “Mayanayakudu” becomes both as CBN’s NTR as well as Basavatarakam’s NTR (since the movie begins with Basavatarakam and ends with her death) and glorifies him to the hilt.

The film also becomes an exercise to showcase Chandrababu Naidu as the most-trusted alludu of NTR.

Bottom-line: CBN Maha Karyakartha


Tags: NTR Mahanayakudu NTR Mahanayakudu Review NTR Mahanayakudu Movie Review NTR Mahanayakudu Public Talk NTR Mahanayakudu Rating