Yatra Review & Rating|
Yatra Review: Well Executed Event Based Biopic
Post the formation of Andhra Pradesh some great leaders came out from the state of Andhra Pradesh (not talking about before AP formation and post division AP for obvious reasons). But none captured the imagination of common folk like NTR did. With the wealth of fan following who bestowed upon him a demigod status, and charisma of pure teluguness, NTR brought politics to the masses from a certain section of informed voters.
Not since NTR another leader captured the pulse of people of Andhra Pradesh like Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy did. Was he a film star of Glamor and aura with a God like following among the masses? Was he projected by a regional party as the king to be (read: CM to be)? He came from an opulent background all right and entered politics like everyone does in those days through the traditional route and carved himself a niche in a troubled region as an upcoming leader.
The peoples leader
But what made him worthy of a biopic with a legend like Mammootty portraying him on the screen? How, of all people a Congress politician grew beyond the party and it's high command (at least in this state)? He was treated as the in-party opposition leader with some temper issues by many. But once he was given the responsibility as the leader of opposition party in 1999, he became a changed man and sold the image well.
How a wannabe CM from a National Party become as popular as someone of NTR's stature in the eyes of common men? The answer lies in the historical event of Padayatra which is now being made into an event based biopic. Let's see if YSR's journey from one another Congress leader to Mahaneta or Rajanna is portrayed with any engaging content with Yatra review.
The advantage and disadvantage of YSR is he came with no baggage of past. His father might be a regional leader who polarised opinion of people like every such person. He rose from the ranks of the party he was affiliated to. That's all. Instead of riding on the past glory, he reinvented himself as a man of masses when there was a void for such leaders in the state of Andhra Pradesh when the then current Chief Minister was projected as the CEO of the state.
Common men don't need CEOs. Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy cleverly filled the void with compassion and empathy shown towards the needy which is an inherent quality of his. The state is in a sort of turmoil. On one hand, the image is growing as one of the fastest growing technology states. On the other hand are the farmers who had to resort to end their lives due to drought and unliveable conditions in their areas. The National Party was kept out of power by the regional party which was its chief rival since its inception. It is when YSR wants to change the situation. He wanted to lend his shoulder to the people who are in need of such a leader.
Obviously the party high command objected his idea of starting a campaign with a walkathon. They had their own reasons. They don't want another power centre. Other leaders in the state too want their own share of limelight and didn't want their chief rival to outshine them. The movie Yatra starts by showing all this in the background and directly introduces YSR played by the charismatic Mammootty in a simple manner. YSR is shown in the manner which is popular among people. He never wavers if a word is given. He assures a young woman by giving a promise.
He also makes sure that the party understands his value and knows that they depend on the chance he is taking as much as depends on the power bestowed upon him by the party. The Yatra starts. In the meanwhile a small flashback establishes YSR's heritage (character establishment, nothing more) through an electrifying cameo from Jagapathi Babu as Y. S. Raja Reddy, YSR's father.
YSR starts from Chevella now in Telangana state and walks through the length and the breadth of the state. Moved by the plight of people, he takes some decisions then and there and gives his word to the people.
All this makes the high command unsettled and so is the case with his chief rivals in the state party. But they have to accept the fact that he is the only option if the party was to come into power again negating Chandra Babu Naidu's projection as a global leader. The movie comes to the interval with YSR declaring free electricity for the farmers after some deliberation and risky calculations. How he completes his Praja Prasthana Yatra and brings his party to power with an overwhelming majority and keeps his word on all the promises he made to people in the manifesto form the rest of the story.
Writing and execution
This is not exactly how the actual happenings went on in that time, but as the director himself stated, he altered the timeline a bit to infuse a dramatic tension in the story which has not much drama. That is done well. The narration never leaves the path and director has delivered what is promised. YSR was subtly elevated and his character is shown as a Messiah (pun not intended). But all this is normally expected. What the director did well was not creating over hype or to whitewash the protagonist. He was shown as was. A changed man. He didn't come out of heaven for the people but grew from the people when the need arose.
The direction is excellent. The narration despite the obvious lack of drama and flat storyline is handled well. The emotions elicited from the proceedings is exemplary. Those who watched it firsthand or by being alive at the time (this reviewer was a teenager about the complete high school) know what happened at that time. This is where the director did well by not distorting the facts. He just altered the timeline of a few events and used the popular notion that the high command was not always for YSR's policies at least initially.
Mammootty all the way
Coming to Mammootty, casting him was a masterstroke itself. The logic given by the director himself and this reviewer writer's reference to Dalapathi movie are pretty obvious. He did a fantastic job as the protagonist. He was all compassion and empathy personified and broght the image of YSR alive on the screen. His dubbing is top notch despite few hiccoughs here and there. But his efforts are to be appreciated. Mammootty is a legend both as an actor and as a star. He proved his stature again as Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy.
Suhasini as Chevella Chellemma is good and brought her experience for the advantage of the film. Anasuya Bharadwaj is good in the role as the young MLA and her initial scenes came out very well and part of the obvious highlights of the film. Rao Ramesh is extremely good as KVP, YSR's friend and chief counsel. Y. S. Jagan has a cameo towards the end (may be archival footage or a surprise and well concealed cameo). The movie is ended on an emotional note band it is an excellent strategy by connecting it to the present. The makers score one more brownie point by not making unnecessary comments projecting the heir of YSR.
The music is good. Songs came out well, especially the climactic emotional song is a winner. The lyrics by Sirivennela Seetarama Sastry are perfect in carrying the emotion of the Yatra. Saludos to the master. The cinematography is good. The art department did a fine job. The editing is okayish. The runtime is a major plus point as after sometime, the proceedings appear redundant. The production values are good. But at places it appears like a docudrama. Whether it is by design or unintentional is not known.
Yatra is an emotional journey of a political hothead to become the man of masses and ultimately the peoples leader. Dr. YSR's life is a fascinating and inspiring journey in personal growth too. And as a leader he obviously has a well deserved stature. The movie captured every aspect of his personality with the help of Mammootty. How it'll turn out at the box office depends on how the neutrals embrace it. But as a film, it is highly watchable. At least once.
- Well connected emotions
- Praja Prasthana Yatra still fresh in memory
- Mammootty lends aura required for the role
- Slick direction
- No overdoing or over-projection
- Feels like a docudrama at places
- The second half has a few redundant scenes
Pycker Rating: 3.25 out of 5
Yatra Critic Reviews
Yatra User Reviews
Though the movie has a docudrama feel, the director delivered what is promised. Short and sweet event based biopic. Fans love it. But anyway a well made film could be watched once.
Without super hype and unnecessary baggage of over the top expectations (the makers wisely underplayed the film) but a hotly anticipated biopic of Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhar Reddy Yatra hits the screens today. The initial buzz for the film is generally positive with the general consensus saying it is a well-made film capturing the emotional journey of the protagonist. Mollywood legend Mammootty is obviously a major plus point for the film. His understated but imposing presence added value to the film. Mahi V. Raghav's direction also gets a lot of praise for his honest efforts.
Mammootty is flawless as the aptly projected fearless YSR. Rao Ramesh is also good in a crucial as KVP Ramachandra Rao, YSR's friend and later chief advisor when he became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. The director succeeded in executing what he intended to execute. The music is good and the editing is sharp (runtime is also a plus point). The movie sticks its plot and delivers an engaging and emotional film which captures the spirit of the man and his padayatra. The real footage that comes at the end is truly heartbreaking. The movie provides a backstory for every important flagship program that YSR introduced.
Yatra is a well-directed film with not too much hype and extravagance. Mammootty played the role of YSR in the most realistic way without resorting to any overaction. The moviegoers travel with the emotion of the journey. Mahi V. Raghav sticks to his guns and did a fine job of bringing the right emotions in the narration.
Keep watching for more Yatra public talk and live updates.
What is Yatra About?
Remember the year 2003? At the height of Summer season, the then opposition leader of Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy (The Congress Legislative Party leader), had undertaken a padayatra known as Mahaprastanam or Praja Prasthana Yatra in latter days and advertised as an empathy tour. Despite opposition from his own party so that there won't be a local power center, and from the other leaders in the state who doesn't want him to project himself as the future Chief Minister candidate Rajasekhara Reddy marched on and dared and bared the summer sun (he fell ill multiple times during the Yatra) and created a wave of sympathy among the masses.
That was the beginning of his journey as the people's leader. Before that, he was one of the Young Turks and an in-party rebel for many and was known for his aggressive mindset which undermined his credential as a potential Chief Minister candidate despite having an unusual mass following in the Andhra Pradesh Congress leaders. Yatra movie captures the significant moment in the life of Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy as portrayed on the big screen by Malayalam Cinema legend Mammootty whose presence lent the film proper weight and opened gates for a Malayalam market. A smart move on the part of the makers.
Recreation of the historical Padayatra
The word Padayatra reminds a generation of Telugu people of Dr. YSR. Such was the impact of the 1475 KM walkathon named Praja Prasthanam created on Andhra Pradesh politics. That was not just the rebirth for YSR as a political leader, it catapulted him into star status so much so that within 5 years, he defeated the united opposition single-handedly to bring his party into power without even giving new promises in the manifesto.
It will be interesting to see how the Yatra and its repercussions are narrated on the big screen. If anything, a couple of goosebump-worthy moments will make the film a fond memory for the people involved in its making. The trailer gave a positive impression and promises a quality product.
Mammootty as Dr. YSR
It might have been written in the stars that Mollywood Megastar Mammootty to portray Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy on the screen. Remember the song Singarala Pairullona from Dalapathy and the way Mammootty drapes the turban around his head? It surely now reminds us of Dr. YSR's after we have seen the same in the film.
Mammootty said he trusted and followed the guidelines given by the director rather than trying to imitate YSR on the screen. This will surely make the general audience involve in the movie and identify with the on-screen character rather than comparing the actor's portrayal and Dr. YSR. A clever move on the part of the director. Mammooty's stature as an actor is known to anyone with minimal knowledge of movies. His recent outing Peranbu proved umpteenth time what a great actor he is!. An actor worthy of portraying an iconic leader as YSR.
Team assembled by Mahi V. Raghav
Director Mahi V. Raghav has proved his credentials as a storyteller with Anando Brahma. That movie might be a run of the mill horror comedy but his talent was apparent from the hit film. Now he comes up with the onus of recreating YSR's Yatra on the screen and he did a fine job till now from what is evidenced by the trailer. Casting Mammootty is not just a clever move, it's a trump card.
He is backed up by an efficient team in the form of music director K. who has the credit of scoring for Ghazi. The score in Yatra seems to be evoking various emotions and the cinematographer Sathyan Sooryan's frames captured the gist of the film on a grand canvas. Experienced hand Sreekar Prasad as the editor is always an asset while Ramakrishna and Monika have proved themselves as top-notch art directors.
This, apart from a stellar cast in the form of Suhasini Mani Ratnam playing Dr. YSR's Chevella Chellemma Sabita Indra Reddy and Anasuya Bharadwaj as Charitha Reddy. Jagapathi Babu is expected to play YSR's father Y. S. Raja Reddy (maybe in a cameo?). Rao Ramesh seems to be playing YSR's trusted friend KVP) and there are other surprises in the store anyway.
Keep watching for Yatra review, rating, and complete analysis. Stay tuned!