In news that will excite film enthusiasts, another biopic project is said to be in the “talks” stage. This one is to be based on the life of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
Considering that the AP assembly elections are set to take place in 2019, it’s not strange that biopics on political and cine figures have been making headlines recently.
Telugu film director Mahi V Raghav reportedly held talks with Malayalam actor Mammootty to cast him in Yatra, a biopic based on the life of YSR, who was the 14th Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. There have been speculations that Akkineni Nagarjuna has also shown interest in playing the role of YSR.
It may be recalled that Mahi Raghav’s recent Anando Brahma had drawn appreciation from critics and fans for its rare genre of horror-comedy.
Reports suggest that the YSR biopic will start with the backdrop of the padayatra taken out by the late CM to unseat erstwhile CM Chandrababu Naidu. The project will be bankrolled reportedly by 70mm Entertainments, the same production house that financed Anando Brahma.
Incidentally, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, YSR’s son and the current Andhra opposition leader, is also on a state-wide padayatra, apparently inspired by his father.
News reports have also emerged announcing biopics on Savitri and NTR (Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao), and another biopic called Lakshmi’s NTR. The latter two are said to be political thrillers.
The announcement of the film Lakshmi’s NTR by controversial director Ram Gopal Varma attracted major criticism from TDP circles, as he said the story would be narrated from the perspective of NTR’s wife Lakshmi Parvathi.
Meanwhile, it has also been reported that Nandamuri Balakrishna is acting in a biopic based on his father NTR’s life. The movie is said to be directed by Teja, who recently helmed Nene Raju Nene Mantri, starring Rana Daggubati.
A report in HT suggests that Teja and Balakrishna shot a special teaser in Hyderabad’s Ramakrishna Studios. The teaser will be launched on a special occasion to officially mark the announcement of the project. With this film, Balakrishna is also set to debut as a producer.
However, given the political prominence of the personalities on whom the biopics are expected, the films will also create political ripples across the Telugu states, even as both states are already witnessing intense political rivalry.
A source from Tollywood told TNM, “In fact, Telugu directors veering into the biopic genre is a mature advancement, but unfortunately there is also the potential for the truth getting faded from the frames.”
KV Kurmanath, senior journalist and political observer, speaking to TNM on the trend of biopics in the Telugu industry ahead of the assembly elections, felt that biopics were being produced in order to invoke the memories of the popular leaders of the past.
When asked if they would have any impact on the political leanings of the people, he said, “Nothing will change, since people have already formed their opinions about NTR or YSR.”
Kurmanath also opined that the crucial political players in Andhra Pradesh – TDP and YSRCP – have done nothing new, but are depending on the legacy of their leaders.
Though both hailed from agrarian communities, unlike YS Rajasekhara Reddy, NT Rama Rao had his political roots in the field of cinema.
It is undeniable that cinema played a critical role in NTR’s politics, from establishing the Telugu Desam Party to getting him elected to the Chief Minister post.
Few observers also felt that the series of biopics to hit the screens will definitely cause an excessive polarised political atmosphere in the states.