Alleging the biopic is propaganda, Telangana Congress has threatened of protests if the film shows the Central leadership of Congress in a bad light.

Is Mammoottys Yatra set to become a flashpoint between the Congress and YSRCP
news Controversy Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 15:29

A defiant looking Mammootty on screen and a male voice can be heard telling him, “This is a decision taken by the high command Reddy, so you have to obey it.” The scene then cuts to another show where Mammootty, portraying the role of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Congress leader Y S Rajasekhara Reddy says, “Don't consider my loyalty and fealty as my weakness."

This is the first scene from the trailer of the film Yatra, biopic of YS Rajasekhara Reddy, directed by Mahi Raghav, that is all set to hit the screens this Friday. And if the trailer is anything to go by, the Congress fears that the movie will unleash a narrative against the party, that too during the eve of elections.

A day before Yatra's release, the Congress has threatened of protests, alleging that it is a propaganda movie made by the YSR Congress party ahead of Andhra elections.  

The Telangana Congress unit has claimed that the film projects the Congress central leadership in a poor light, while YSR, as Rajasekhara Reddy is popularly known as, was a hardcore Congress loyalist.

The film is largely based on YSR’s padayatra in 2003, one in which he covered 2000-odd km through united Andhra Pradesh, catapulting him as a mass leader. At a time when YSR’s son Jaganmohan Reddy is being projected by most opinion polls as the next Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, the Congress fears that the movie will villanise the already weakened party.

Speaking to TNM, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) General Secretary Manavatha Roy said, "Propaganda movies are being released just before the elections, with the obvious intent of defaming Congress. Films like Uri, The Accidental Prime Minister, and Yatra, are all propaganda films. We have demanded the makers of Yatra to showcase the film before its official release. However, as they didn't pay heed to us, we will watch the morning show of the film and protest if there are scenes which are untrue, or objectionable, we will protest on roads."

YSR who was made the Andhra Congress Chief at the age of 34 by Indira Gandhi is known to be a self-made leader who was known to have worked in his own fashion regardless of what the high command’s position was. Though there had been much speculation that he had been unhappy with the Congress leadership under Sonia Gandhi, YSR was a loyalist who chose to never confront the high command much. However, over the years, he emerged as a powerful regional player, eclipsing the party to a large extent in the state.

His padayatra in 2003, covering several districts in the then Andhra Pradesh, earned him the 'mass' leader image, and catapulted him to power for two consecutive terms. He passed away in a tragic helicopter crash in September 2009. It is after YSR’s death that YSR’s wife Vijayamma and his son Jaganmohan Reddy had a public fallout with the Congress, and the duo have blamed Sonia Gandhi many times for isolating them in the party. YS Jaganmohan Reddy formed his own party, YSR Congress Party, after the Congress declined his proposal to be the chosen as Chief Minister of the state.

The Congress is apprehensive that the movie will project YSR as a regional leader stifled by the Congress, and allude to his son as the one carrying forward his legacy.

Manavatha Roy alleged that Yatra is being financed by YSRCP supporters. "Andhra TDP has already made this allegation, and several others have pointed out that the film is financed by YSRCP," he alleged, but was unwilling to name who was supposedly financing the movie.

Roy said that Rajasekhara Reddy never had any disagreements with Sonia Gandhi, former President of Congress, and that he was a Congressman till the end.

Brushing aside the allegations made by Congress, YSRCP party leaders said that they don't want to comment on the issue, and give credibility to such baseless assumptions.

Even as the Congress frets over the release of the movie, the movie makers are all set to make a big splash.  

Meanwhile responding to the threats, the movie’s director Mahi told TNM, "The authorised body (CBFC) has approved the movie. They have said that the movie is good enough to be screened and I think nobody else has a say regarding this. People are free to make their opinions and assumptions about the movie, and none of that would change what the movie actually is about."