NTR Kathanayakudu Review
Cast: Balakrishna, Vidya Balan, Sumanth, Kalyan Ram, Rana, Prakash Raj, Daggubati Raja and others
Director - Krish
Producer - Balakrishna, Vishnu, Sai K
Banner - NBK Films
Music - MM Keeravani
The most awaited biopic of NTR is out in theaters now. First part of the late legendary actor-leader's NTR Kathanayakudu focused on the actor's rise as a superstar and his celebrated life as an actor.
What is it about?
Ramarao (Balakrishna), an aspiring actor comes to Madras in the hoping becoming a big actor. After initial struggles he gets his first break with the film Pathala Bhairavi. Despite his celebrated life he is always concerned about common people and their problems. After doing many legendary characters on screens, he decides to give it back to the society. He steps into politics and launches a party named Telugu Desam.
Balakrishna comes up with a convincing performance as NTR. He is quite impressive in many getups that looked good on the later actor. This is a wonderful tribute from a son to his father. His performance in the emergency episode is simply superb. Vidya Balan has a very limited role, but makes her presence felt. Sumanth is good as ANR. Rana appears in a couple of scenes as Chandrababu Naidu. Prakash Raj and Murali Sharma are good in their respective roles. Daggubati Raja as NTR's brother is believable. There are many popular actors who appeared in cameo roles and everyone did their bit.
Krish has so much story to tell because there are two important phases in the life of NTR. It is not easy to squeeze in everything into a three hour film, which is why it is divided into two parts. Krish's work is very impressive in bringing the most celebrated actor's life on to screen. He didn't miss out on real life drama in NTR's life in spite of showcasing many important movies and roles that he played on screen. Krish's direction is particularly impressive in dramatic scenes.
Songs are restricted to the background and it is Keeravani's background score that elevates the drama. Cinematography is terrific. The way the cinematographer played with the shadows and dark lit backgrounds is a treat to watch. Editing is strictly okay as there are a few lags that would have been edited out. Dialogues by Sai Madhav are fabulous. Production design is clap worthy. Production values are splendid.
Some emotional sequences
Reveal of Sri Krishna getup
Slows down at some parts
Krish should have worked on a screenplay where he could have fit both the political and film phases of NTR into one film. The real drama and challenges in NTR's life comes in his political innings, which is not shown in the first part. This part completely focuses upon how NTR entered the film industry and how he attained stardom. It also showcases his concern for downtrodden people and his love towards Telugu pride.
The story begins with NTR's wife recollecting memories of her husband while she has been admitted to a hospital. Although NTR's talent was spotted by some of the top names in the industry, getting the first break didn't come easy. He gets his first break with Pathala Bhairavi after going through initial hurdles and later takes some revolutionary decisions like making a movie on Ravana and also taking up direction.
All the scenes from classic movies like Gundamma Katha, Bandipotu, Mayabazar etc. are brought onto the screen with absolute conviction. Balakrishna looked too good in almost all the getups of NTR. But the real icing on the cake is Lord Sri Krishna's getup, which is also one of the best scenes in the movie. There is one iconic scene that shows the actor's dedication levels where trick photography is used to show ten heads of Ravana.
First half is enjoyable with nice family drama and beautifully recreated scenes from NTR's classics. Second half shows NTR's inclination towards social service and his initial revolt against North Indians treating Telugus as 'Madarasis'. The best scene in the second half is where NTR challenges a police officer during emergency and takes away the prints of his film against the restrictions. We can expect more such dynamic episodes in NTR - Mahanayakudu. Later, the screenplay loses steam as the director focuses on events that were the reason for NTR's decision to enter politics.
Too much melodrama and slow pace makes it somewhat tedious and the climax lacked the necessary high, but sets the tone for the second part that is due for release in a few weeks. NTR Kathanayakudu is a fine tribute to the legendary actor with decently engaging narrative and some powerful scenes backed by terrific dialogue. It is a treat to Nandamuri fans and a more than satisfying watch for the rest. We can't wait for the second part of the legend's remarkable journey towards glory.
Verdict: The Rise of Indian Cinema's First Superstar