Release date : March 29, 2019
Starring : P Vijay Kumar, Yagna Shetty, Rajsekhar
Director : Ram Gopal Varma,
Producers : Rakesh Reddy
Music Director : Kalyani Malik
After being in the news for raking up several controversies for the past few months, Ram Gopal Varma’s political drama, Lakshmi’s NTR has finally hit screens today in Telangana, the Rest of India, overseas, except in Andhra Pradesh. RGV had promised to showcase the unknown, bitter truths behind the ‘great betrayal’ before NTR’s demise. Let’s see if he lived up to his promise.
Lakshmi’s NTR starts off by showcasing how love blossomed between NT Rama Rao and his autobiographer Lakshmi Parvathi. The film takes the audiences back to the late 80s and ends with NTR’s demise. How NTR’s marriage to Lakshmi Parvathi gave rise to the revolts by his family members and the ‘Mana Desam’ party MLAs, led by NTR’s son-in-law CB Naidu forms the main crux of the story. Several landmark political episodes that took place in NTR being dethroned from the CM’s chair are retold in typical RGV’s style. To know how these are showcased, watch the film on a big screen.
Vijay Kumar appears like a stage artist and couldn't do justice to the NTR character. He appears pale and dull in long shots that the directors purposefully shot close ups to make him appear like Rama Rao. Actor Sri Tej is very impressive as Babu and Yagna Shetty is overly dramatic portraying Lakshmi Parvathy's role.
Few scenes showcasing the conspiracy behind NTR's fall
One sided take on NTR's last phase
Directors RGV and Agasthya Manju manage to come up only with a half-baked family drama. While they succeed in extracting riveting performances from the lead actors, they disappoint with a predictable story and screenplay, filled with universally well-known incidents that leave the audiences asking for more.
Music composer Kalyani Malik’s background score is dramatic, impactful and serves the director’s purpose. All the songs are shown through montages and they don’t hinder the proceedings. The theme track that plays whenever CB Naidu as a manipulative leader appears onscreen is menacing.
Cinematography by Raamy is decent. The light and shadows he created effectively showcase NTR and Lakshmi Parvathi’s inner turmoil. Editing could have been a bit sharp, especially in the first half, to add the much-needed pace.
The production design is adequate. Since a major portion of the film is shot indoors, there was not much scope to recreate the period ambiance. Although most of the dialogues are functional, some rendered by NTR, especially about his son-in-law and children, are quite intense and add to the betrayal that unfolded.
On the whole, Lakshmi’s NTR showcases the downfall of legendary NTR personally and politically after his wife, Lakshmi Parvathi entered his life. The film often appears too biased, as RGV showcases CB Naidu as a manipulative son-in-law and party leader, without supporting his narrative with unknown facts. Thanks to the numerous controversies and the upcoming general elections fever, Lakshmi’s NTR may open well and will cash in on the curiosity factor among the audience for now. However, the film ends up being a half-baked and underwhelming tale of history which still echoes in the hearts of every Telugu person who was once a silent witness. We need to see how it fares in the long run once the curiosity factor dies out.
Release date : March 29, 2019