Cast: Nandamuri Balakrishna, Vidya Balan, Rana Daggubati, Bharath, Sachin Khedekar, Kalyan Ram, Supriya Vinod and others
Director: Krish Jagarlamudi
NTR: Mahanayakudu deals with the first three years in politics of N.T. Rama Rao after NTR: Kathanayakudu, released a few weeks back, that tracked his film career in quite some detail.
Like in the first part, Mahanakayudu’s credits start with Basavatharakam (Vidya Balan) flipping through an album of pictures of her husband NTR at the hospital. A song covers the period from NTR’s childhood to marriage and films.
The film opens with NTR (Balakrishna) floating the Telugu Desam Party and deciding to meet the people on his Chaitanya Ratham. He announced the party in March 1982 and became Chief Minister just nine months later. NTR trusts a friend, Nadendla Bhaskar Rao (Sachin Khedekar), and gives him the No. 2 position in the party and government. Basavatharakam is diagnosed with cancer and NTR needs a bypass surgery. The family goes to the US for treatment. Back home, Nadendla triggers a coup with the help of Governor Ram Lal and a few MLAs. NTR returns, starts the famous movement to restore democracy and wins the battle but loses Basavathara-kam to cancer.
Director Krish Jagarlamudi concentrates so completely on the politics that he gives little time for the emotional content. But where he does give space to NTR and Basavatharakam, Krish makes his mark in covering the moving scenes.
The time from when NTR announces the party symbol to his yatra is but a blur in the film, given its significance in real life. In the nine months between announcing the party and becoming Chief Minister, NTR toured all of Andhra Pradesh, sometimes taking shelter along the roadside people used to wait for hours and days to see him. Krish fails to capture the connect.
He gives more space to the Raj Bhavan drama, where Nadendla is trying to woo MLAs. Most of this period has the dryness of a documentary and is completely devoid of the drama and intrigue of the time.
The second half of the film completely concentrates on Nara Chandrababu Naidu (Rana Daggubati). In the end it’s like Naidu is the winner, rather than NTR. This half belongs to Rana.
After Basavatharakam’s death there was much turmoil in NTR’s life but Krish prefers to end the film at a much earlier point in time.
Balakrishna perfectly fits the role of his father. Though he looked odd as the young NTR in the first part, in Mahanakakudu he is more comfortable and carries off the emotional scenes well. Vidya Balan continues her good work from the first part. The highlights of Mahanakayudu are Rana Daggubati as Chandrababu Naidu and Sachin Khedekar as Nadendla Bhaskar Rao. Rana is definitely steals the show and he reaches greater heights as an actor. Bharat as Daggubati does well. Kalyan ram enacts his father Harikrishna’s role. Supriya Vinod plays Indira Gandhi and does it neatly.
NTR Mahanayakudu deals with just the first three years of NTR’s political life. The second half is given to Naidu who is depicted as the one who helped NTR regain the Chief Ministership. With elections round the corner, the filmmakers do not venture further....