Tollywood Filmmakers’ Fascination for political potboilers

It looks like Telugu filmmakers are fascinated with the life story of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy these days. Two films ‘Yatra 2’ and ‘Vyooham’ are made to boost his political chances in upcoming elections in Andhra Pradesh, while another film ‘Rajadhani Files’ is expected to showcase his decision to announce three capitals in poor light. “Political propaganda films promoting top politicians are not altogether new to Tollywood since many films have been made in the past,” says famed writer Gopi Mohan and adds, “If right directors handle them, they would find some legitimacy and connect better with audiences otherwise it would be difficult,” he adds.Just released ‘Yatra 2’ is an official biopic of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and showcases his popular padayatra and the consequences he faced thereafter and exposed his political opponents in Congress and TDP. “I haven’t seen the film so I can’t make a comment about it. But personally, I think any political film without any bias and made without any motives to show opponents in poor light would be watchable fare if they strike a proper balance. Even party cadres would find the film more interesting if the issues touched upon in the film are unique and haven’t been in the public domain before to grab their interest,” he points out.Talking about the challenges of making biopics on political leaders, he explains, “A full page newspaper is enough to mark the achievements and schemes of political parties. If you are making a film, it requires ‘dramatic elements’ since the cinema viewing experience is quite different. Apart from political cadre, the film should be able to attract a film viewing audience as well, so it requires ‘objective’ narration and not being biased towards one person or another.”The next in the pipeline are ‘Vyooham’ and ‘Rajadhani Files’ and they are slated for release in one or two weeks’ gap in February. “May be, they are meant to support or oppose the ruling dispensation and its decisions. However, I believe that cinema and politics should not be mixed up since cinema has a bigger influence. It is a unique art form and it has exposed social evils which affect the maximum number of people, rather than praising and deriding politicians,” he adds.He claims Richard Attenborough ‘Gandhi’ , a biopic on Mahatma Gandhi, was a great yardstick for dishing out a truthful and unbiased story of a legendary freedom fighter and it worked wonders. “It covered all his shades and showcased little vulnerability too. Besides highlighting his daunting spirit and grit for freedom,” he says and adds, “Recent Telugu film ‘Mahanati’ was another path-breaking biopic of Savitri garu and covered all facets of her life and won appreciation,’ he concludes.

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