Cast: Vijay Kumar, Yagna Shetty, Sri Tej, Jacob
Director: Ram Gopal Varma and Agasthya Manju
After much controversy and legal battles, something that Ram Gopal Varma relishes, Lakshmi’s NTR directed by him and Agasthya Manju finally had its delayed release on Friday. This is the third biopic on the late N.T. Rama Rao this election season, after ‘Kathanayakudu’ and ‘Mahanayakudu’ directed by Krish. The two Balakrishna starrers didn’t touch any controversy on NTR, but RGV takes up the story from where Krish stopped — Lakshmi Parvati’s entry into NTR’s life.
RGV’s offering starts with NTR (Vijay Kumar) sleeping in a chair, lonely in his own house, and Lakshmi Parvathi (Yagna Shetty) coming in an autorickshaw and waiting outside in the rain. NTR wakes up, opens the curtain and sees her. He asks his secretary Mohan (Jacob) to send her inside.
She tells him that she has come to write his autobiography and is a regular visitor from then onwards. A special bond develops, and they decide to marry. NTR’s younger son-in-law Babu (Sri Tej) and his own children warn NTR about the dangers but he ignores them. He announces he is marrying Lakshmi Parvati at a function for the movie Major Chandrakant. Differences crop up and Babu plots a coup against his father-in-law and becomes Chief Minister. The film ends with NTR’s death. The family comes together at his side and push Lakshmi Parvati out.
Ram Gopal Varma has said that he wanted to tell the truth behind NTR’s last days and his death. He also says that what he believes in his mind to be true is what he puts on screen. He has taken considerable cinematic liberty.
RGV completely glorifies Lakshmi Parvati and portrays her as an angel who doesn’t know anything about politics. If Krish glorified NTR, RGV does the same to Lakshmi Parvati. He shows her as a selfless woman who devoted her life to NTR. He ignores all reports of Lakshmi Parvati’s interference in NTR’s decisions and how she maintained political groups.
The film moves slowly, and the scenes between NTR and Lakshmi Parvati drag. RGV wants to establish why NTR wants a companion at the age of 70 but takes a lengthy route to say it. The first half of the film is about their relationship and marriage and the second half is more interesting after Babu’s plot against NTR.
RGV projects Babu, or N. Chandrababu Naidu, as a villain and in a negative way. He does not spare media baron Ramoji Rao as he helped Babu become Chief Minister. The portrayal is so one-sided that one wonders if political parties got RGV to show Naidu in a very bad light ahead of the elections.
NTR is played by theatre artiste Vijay Kumar. He has done an extremely good job. He looks like NTR in some scenes but odd in the others. The highlight is Yagna Shetty who plays Lakshmi Parvati. Her performance is on high and she completely justifies the role. Sri Tej steals the show, fitting the role of Chandrababu Naidu perfectly.The mannerisms, body language and the looks match exactly.
There are number of actors in the minor roles, most of them new faces. The dialogues are interesting and effective and the songs written by Sira Sri are good.
‘Lakshmi’s NTR’ tells the last days of NTR and it’s quiet daring of RGV to come up with the story. It is deeply one-sided, favouring Lakshmi Parvati and painting Naidu as a villain. It does this very slowly....