This is the age of biopics. After the positive result for Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, here comes the story of unsung Student Leader George Reddy. Vangaveeti fame Sandeep Madhav aka Maddy stepped into the shoes of rebellious student leader George Reddy in his biopic. Directed by Dalam fame Jeevan Reddy, prospects are quite positive for the film with promising promotions built all the hype. Will it live up to the expectations?
George Reddy (Sandeep Madhav), an academic gem, trained in martial arts and is known for rebellious thoughts, inspirational speeches revolts against influential politics in college becoming a leader figure in Osmania University among the low class and poor students. He is elected as President in Campus Student Union in a triangular combat against two strong unions. But, his life ends on sad note with brutal murder in Engineering hostel.
Stories of unsung heroes always generate curiosity and likewise George Reddy makers succeeded in to bring hype. Especially, youth are lured to watch the film on first day to witness the legendaries of forgotten hero on big screens. Of course, George was a hero material for revolutionary thoughts when there was no opposition in campus wherein student leaders from high class treated low class as no less than slaves. More importantly, George hasn’t confined himself to student politics. He fought for the rights of poor and farmers against dominant politicians and against the Government. So, line story has all the substantial material to make an inspirational biopic to inspire youth in this current generation where college politics merely exists. But, Jeevan Reddy’s half baked treatment did not make it a fitting tribute. Of course, the film has 4 major occurrences in George Reddy’s life. But, the way he dealt these episodes are unsatisfactory. Jeevan Reddy’s pen has erroneously written loads of unnecessary episodes making narrative lethargic. However, he must be appreciated for bringing in the 60 and 70s feel to the film with complete care on all the technical departments.
Costumes and art work added to the positives. Cinematography by Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti takes us back to times and makes narrative interesting. Suresh Bobbili with his delightful background score gives life to scores of lifeless scenes. Songs were pleasing to ears. J Prathap Kumar’s editing efforts in making scenes look crisp go drain with repeated scenes and lengthy runtime. Production values are top class for a film of this setup.
Onto performances, Sandeep Madhav is obviously not the right choice. Though he tried hard to match the grace of student leader, he should have worked on physique and diction. He was in elements when it comes to fights and serious portions and not the same in evoking other emotions. Shrinivas Pokale who played young George was far better. Satyadev, Nandu have been wasted for not-so-crucial role while Manoj Nandam was a poor choice. Devika Daftardar as George Reddy's mother was fine and Muskaan Khubchandani looked pretty. The friends batch and opposition batch does all the over action.
Yes, student leader George Reddy's life is full of inspirational heroism and true to the caption; he is the man of action. When it comes to making a film studded with extra fiction and commercialized treatment, Jeevan Reddy seems to have missed all the fundamentals. His half way narrative style though created the essence of 60, 70s, it hardly had meat to keep us glued. Except a couple of well composed fights, George Reddy as a movie could not firmly hold its roots in ground. Instead of technicalities on sets, had Jeevan visualized concrete material to establish and enlarge the protagonist's characteristics, George Reddy would have been a next level film. Even the core elements that influenced George in childhood towards revolutionary ideas isn't properly registered. Showing a book on Bhagat Singh and George shooting a few questions at mom did not serve the purpose. Onto the most important days of George in OU, what forced him to plunge in college politics despite his admission confirmed at Bombay University is feebly dealt. Key components viz. misusage of scholarships, ragging of juniors, social injustice based on caste equations or even the unhygienic food served in hostels controlled by upper caste couldn't find the much high elevations. Undoubtedly, Jeevan missed wonderful opportunities on a hand. Rather the main focus was only on fights and recreation of mood. What you reap is what you sow... you sowed the weak seeds and result is the pale output in fertile soil. George's step out into farmer suicide issues, his called off meet with Congress leaders, spreading the movement wings all over the country, meeting naxalites had certain part of fiction.
First half begins on mediocre note with an American born Desi girl's attempt to make a documentary on George and she lands in Hyderabad to accumulate the data. Here is where George Reddy's childhood in Kerala, incidents that inspired him towards aggression and mother-son emotional bond are checked. Soon he jumps into Osmania University action and the one sided love story eats some time. Episodes come one by one to elevate George as a hero. Everywhere it’s more of unnecessary action and less of content elaboration. Slowly and steadily, Jeevan Reddy makes us believe that George was a heroic figure of those times. However his ideology isn't registered. On the other hand, opponents of ABCD and other political wings played by Satyadev, Manoj Nandam and Nandu should have been far better both at writing and storytelling part. The high point interval episode where George convenes first student meet in campus raising the slogan RAISE YOUR VOICE BEFORE TRUTH DIES is ok part.
Second half opens directly with college elections and opposition parties playing all the tricks yet George wins. Then the radical amendments made in college campus for well being of students aren't discussed much. Bringing in the outside politics with farmer suicides and evacuation of mason lands using political force made George a National figure. Lack of spine in content made this crucial part look hollow. Well, the two murder attacks on George have been subtly dealt. Especially, the scooter action. Towards the end, the herd mentality of students and public hasn't saved George from being stabbed to death. Climax turned out emotionally heart wrenching. Jeevan seems to have believed that George Reddy's ideologies and principles aren't taken forward after his death and there is no further follower in OU.
All in all, George Reddy is a missed catch for Jeevan Reddy. Despite having lots of substance, the justice isn't done and all the hard work, efforts from technical team went in vain with weak script, unholding characters and directional lapses. CJ goes with 2.5 stars just for technical brilliance and for making an attempt to introduce us an unsung student leader who fought violently against the rotten system. His one single line... SOCIAL INJUSTICE IN OUR ROTTEN SYSTEM SPREAD ITS WINGS INTO COLLEGE AND THIS IS WHEN VIOLENCE MET VIOLENCE explains all.