That N.T. Rama Rao was one of the most legendary actors of Telugu cinema is an undeniable fact. But son Balakrishna’s film on his father’s life was rejected by cinegoers despite some positive reviews. Most ascribe the failure of the biopic to the lack of masala in the film.
Now, the makers of the biopic Yatra, which is releasing in the second week of February, have been forced to rethink.
However, the film’s director Mahi V. Raghav is quick to deny it. “Regardless of which film it is, if people don’t watch it, then that means that it is not a good one. The critics write their reviews, but the box office is the better judge. If a film collects huge money, it means that it has been watched by a number of people,” says Mahi, who adds that the failure of the NTR biopic is unlikely to impact his film.
Meanwhile, there are also rumours that the NTR story changed once director Teja was replaced by Krish. “The script was changed and their first big mistake was to release it in two parts. One part is enough to cover everything,” says a source.
“How a common man became a big superstar after a lot of struggles in his life is the original story, but Balakrishna decided that there would be no negativity in the film. So they unrealistically showed NTR reaching the top position without facing any struggles,” says a source.
Interestingly, when asked to comment about the film Kathanayakudu, Teja said, “No comment. I didn’t watch the film as I am busy with my other film.” On whether a biopic also needs some kind of drama in it, he retorted, “The director should have brains and it all depends on him.”
The late actress Savitri’s life was full of emotion and struggles, which the makers were able to capture in Mahanati despite missing out on some facts. “Biopics are not different from regular films. But they are inspired by a person’s life or a true incident and we have to add some drama to it,” feels Mahi, adding that a biopic is not meant to glorify a person.
“I am not making my film to show someone as God. I genuinely feel that there is a story which I got inspiration from and I have dramatised it. It’s not a propaganda vehicle,” he says, adding, “If the movie is not good, the audience won’t come to watch it. The fate of my film is not dependent on another film’s success or failure.”
Ram Gopal Varma is also coming up with a film Lakshmi’s NTR which he is showing mostly after NTR’s political entry. “The very reason I got interested in making this film is because of the high drama surrounding the life of NTR’s last days due to his relationship with Lakshmi Parvathi. It’s about how an affair between a man and a woman has changed the entire face of Andhra Pradesh politics forever,” says RGV. He adds that this segment interested him to do the film.
“I always felt that the most interesting part of NTR’s life is that particular segment. It’s his rise as a star and him establishing the Telugu Desam Party is as straight as A for Apple, but it’s her entry which gave his life the tremendous twists and turns, ultimately leading to his downfall and death. Hence the title Lakshmi’s NTR,” he says.
Talking about the biopic and what works for a film based on a person, he says, “The rest of NTR’s life is comparatively uninteresting and boring. A biopic needs a conflict like in Gandhi there’s a villain called British. Why make a biopic on Gandhi without the British? No one wants to know his pre-British life and post-British life. At best those sections might work in a documentary but not in a feature film.”
Talking about his film, “My film is not about just her perspective but it’s about the story of his life from the time she entered into his life till his death which will also include the political turmoil leading to the infamous Viceroy episode,” he concludes.