Behind the Movie Leader: Daggubati Rana, the young and charismatic hero making his debut, maverick director Shekhar Kammula is handling the megaphone, ace music director Mickey J Meyer’s music already topping the charts, what else does a movie require more than this hype. In addition, postponement of the movie by nearly three times and different style of publicity has made ‘Leader’ a most discussed subject and most awaited movie in cine circles. Let us see, how does this ‘Leader’ fare?
In the Movie Leader: Sanjeevayya (Suman), corrupt Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh from Peoples Party is killed by anti social elements in a bomb blast. Party’s chief Peddaayana Maadhavayya (Kota) is a hardcore caste based politician and is elder brother to Sanjeevayya is now in a critical situation to find the right candidate for CM seat and that too only from his own caste. Strong contender to this CM position is Dhanunjay (Subba Raju), a criminal politician from the same party and same caste.
Sanjeevayya’s NRI son Arjun Prasad (Daggubati Rana) who has no interest towards joining the politics is forced by his father’s last words and his mother Raajamma (Suhasini) to take the Chief Ministerial position of his dead father. This makes Arjun Prasad to take direct rivalry with Dhanunjay and our hero easily wins the party electorate to become the Chief Minister.
As a Chief Minister Arjun Prasad’s first agenda is to make a clean state by erasing corruption from the society and with the help of Ali (Harshavardhan) and Ratna Prabha (Priya Anand), a journalist he takes up his first assignment. Arjun Prasad’s immediate task is to make Anti Corruption Bureau, a statutory body and conduct raids on Black Money holders. He almost succeeds in fulfilling his task but threats from his MLA’s to pull him out of power create major obstacles. Unfortunately, to stay in power in order to bring a small change in entire political system makes Arjun Prasad to fall into the trap of implementing faulty practices. Arjun Prasad unknowingly becomes a Politician but not a ‘Leader.’
At this moment, with the loss of his mother Rajamma, Arjun Prasad reopens his eyes and work towards acquiring the qualities of a real ‘Leader’. Did he become a real Leader? Who helped him? Did he fulfill dream of erasing corruption from the society? forms the rest of story.
Values of the Movie Leader: Daggubati Rana, the most awaited debut hero has easily traveled into the character Arjun Prasad. One could identify only Arjun Prasad in the movie but not Rana. Unfortunately, the character is of such a reserved nature that doesn’t allow Rana either to dance or to sing or even shout loudly. Still Rana emoted well in required scenes and walks away with all honors. Next to speak about are heroines Richa Gangopadhyay and Priya Anand. If Richa Gangopadhyay played a lengthy role in second half with little entertainment value, Priya Anand was only meant for some glamour and entertainment to strained audience. Best among the lot after Rana is Subbaraju. As a bad man of the movie, he captures entire first half coming out with an indomitable performance which proves that he is not only a muscle man but also a good actor. Kota Srinivasa Rao fits well into the rigid caste based politician, while Suhasini looked dignified. Harshavardhan has got a lengthy role to perform and he delivers the goods once again. Remaining artists Rao Ramesh, Thanikella Bharani, Ahuthi Prasad and others have done their parts well. Udayabhanu shined in an item song.
Shekhar Kammula has once again proved that he believes more in story and characters rather than heroes and their images. Most of the story and scenes in the movie reminds you about the present politics and leaders in the state. Shekhar Kammula has drawn out characters and their behaviors from our regular politicians and he almost succeeds in it. In his part of story telling, he was racy in first half with enough political drama while second half looked prolonged with lengthy scenes testing the patience. Shekhar Kammula is real winner when it comes to his most heart touching dialogues. Photography by Vijay C Kumar was good while editing by Marthand K Venkatesh was right in tandem with the story. Music by Mickey J Meyer was again as per guidelines of the movie but coming to background some significant punch was missing. Art work by Thota Tharani can’t be alienated from the movie and Production values of AVM can also be rated as good.
Out of the Movie Leader: Entire first half was good. After the start of political game between Rana and Subbaraju, movie picks up the acceleration and first half ends on a very positive note. In second half comes the real jerk as Shekhar Kammula has allotted a major time span for parallel love track which was not totally convincing. Instead, if second half was filled with same Political drama, result would have been still better. What Shekhar Kammula was trying to highlight in the entire movie was the difference between Politician and a Leader and how could a Politician become a real Leader. But he hasn’t clearly mentioned what are the principles and ethics a real Leader should adhere to. Instead Rana was mostly busy in the movie finding out the ways how to retain his CM seat. Just erasing of corruption and abolition of caste system doesn’t bring up a utopian state. Although Shekhar Kammula has touched various other social evils based on his hard worked R&D on the subject, but he was unable to come out with real justice. Major advantage of the movie is that, Shekhar Kammula has closed each and every sub plot in the movie with a clear verdict and a sensible message. Hurried up climax had no justification and elevating a debutant hero like Rana was not subtle handled by Shekhar Kammula. All in all, it is a honest attempt by director but only in few parts. Shekhar Kammula undoubtedly looked confused in second half failing to balance the story and its narration. Major plus points for the movie are Daggubati Rana’s debut, good political drama while second half is a big let down. This ‘Leader’ is just a Political drama and a view of our present state political scenario from the eyes of Shekhar Kammula.
Cinejosh Verdict of the Movie Leader: ‘Leader’ is on the border…neither an entertainer nor a preacher.