Balakrishna’s dream to narrate the life story of his late father legendary Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao is fulfilled with this biopic dealt on two parts. The first part, NTR Kathanayakudu that highlights NTR’s cine career is released today with humongous expectations. Directed by Krish, the film boasts ensemble star cast. Let’s see how convincingly Balakrishna and Krish duo made the film…
NTR Kathanayakudu traverses through the life of NTR from first employment in Registrar office to struggles in film industry and to rise as first super star. NTR is one of the rarest actors to play various roles in different genres. He was lauded as god of masses and at the same time treated as Lord Sri Rama and Sri Krishna. Later, the movie concludes with NTR’s political announcement of floating Telugu Desam Party.
Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao doesn’t need an introduction. Balakrishna didn’t take it as an acceptance but wanted to elaborate his father’s life to both yesteryear and present age groups. Besides enacting his father’s role, NBK also co-produced the film. In NTR Kathanayakudu, we will not only see numerous get ups of NTR, there are so many other episodes which are given due importance in later life of NTR.
Director Krish and the writing team focused mainly to elevate NTR as a mass hero in various getups and succeeded with distinction marks. Though a complete soul is missed in film due to lack of drama and emotions, if you are meant to celebrate the occasion called NTR then no complaints. It will be goose bump moments for fans to see Balakrishna as NTR in various god getups, especially that as Lord Sri Krishna in Mayabazar.
Besides NTR cine life, the other best part of the film is the magical chemistry between Rama Rao and Basava Tarakam. Every time, we see them together, we can’t blink our eyes. Krish rightly balanced the legendary personalities ANR, Savitri, KV Reddy, Chakrapani, Nagi Reddy, LV Prasad etc.
Coming to other technicians, Sai Madhav Burra stands tall as dialogue writer. The writer who himself is a great admirer of NTR has showed the divinity towards legend through his dialogues. There are some stimulating dialogues like - Telugu cinema sthayi penchali thammudu... Aa Venkateswarude Naa Daggara Alankarinchukunnattugaa Undi... Kanna Bidda Kanna Cinema Antha Goppadaa... 60 Yellu Nindayi Taraka, Inko 15 Yellu Prajalaku Panchuthanu... are some of gems from his pen.
Cinematographer Gnana Shekar cranked camera and most of the scenes to lift up NTR’s heroism, whereas MM Keeravani multiplied the viewing experience with captivating music. Title song Katha Nayaka and Diviseema song Venditera Dora are pleasing to ears. Editing by Arram Ramakrishna is plain and smooth. Production values of NBK Films, Vaaraahi Chalana Chitram and Vibri Media are above in standard.
Onto artists, Balakrishna lived into the role of NTR and showed heaps of variance in all the getups. His transformation from young NTR to and old NTR is beyond words. His mannerisms to body language to dialogue delivery, we just see NTR and nowhere Balayya. Especially, his scenes with Vidya Balan have hit right chords. Vidya Balan is a terrific actor who can play any given character with perfection. The scene where she bursts out on son Ramakrishna passes away showed her acting prowess. Daggubati Raja as NTR’s younger brother Trivikrama Rao was other big asset. Because of these two characters- Basavatarakam and Trivikrama Rao, NTR’s character has been further elevated. Sumanth bore a striking resemblance to his grandfather ANR, wherein Kalyan Ram nailed it as Harikrishna. Nithya Menen made her mark in limited scenes as Savitri and Prakas Raj was at his best as usual. It was a delight to see Kaikala Satyanarayana in a brief role. Other artists in cameo roles were perfect.
Balakrishna, Vidya Balan
Sai Madhav Burra Dialogues
Lack Of Drama
Few Boring Moments
Life of NTR is an open book for many. Director Krish and hero Balakrishna took the responsibility to chronicle through the cine life journey of NTR from very early days in Madras to rise in stardom, eventually the political landing. May it be the milestone characters and films done by NTR or the personal family life, Krish explored and presented those magical moments for hardcore Nandamuri family admirers. Without fingering into unnecessary characters and controversial contexts, Krish cleverly escaped the situation treating the script subtly. In fact, NTR Kathanayakudu is a mixed canvas of NTR’s epic films with Balakrishna’s appearance in numerous getups that will surely please the Fans, though everything looks appealing in bits and pieces.
NTR Kathanayakudu first half begins with Basava Tarakam (Vidya Balan) in Adayar Cancer Hospital tending to remind the growth of NTR from a Registrar in Mangalagiri to evolution of a TDP through a flashback narrated to Harikrishna (Kalyan Ram). There are no big obstacles for NTR in lapping his first film offer after resigning as Registrar. Support from legends like LV Prasad, Nagi Reddy, Chakrapani, KV Reddy and many others in introducing NTR to film industry by observing the charm, dedication, punctuality in him are neatly established. From first appearance in Mana Desham to unfolding as a Super Star with Pathala Bhairavi, definitely Krish did the homework as there are so many heart-touching moments elevating the character of NTR. In parallel, situations back at NTR’s home with wife Basava Tarakam, brother Trivikama Rao, brother-in-law Venkateshwara Rao and sons Rama Krishna, Hari Krishna are also elaborated briefly. Rayalaseema fund rising through Cheyyethi Jai Kottu Telugoda is a goose bump moment. Transformation into mythology and devotional characters viz. Lord Venkateshwara, Sri Rama, Sri Krishna and acceptance from public showcased the peaks in NTR career. Keeravani’s RR is awesome in this part. Death of NTR’s son Rama Krishna followed by the reasoning on why NTR is called a producers hero is given solid justification. Characters of Basava Tarakam aka Vidya Balan and Trivikrama Rao aka Daggubati Raja stood key pillars in building the aura of NTR. Except a couple of boring moments, NTR Kathanayaudu first half is an enjoyable close watch of NTR’s cine journey as if audiences are sitting as family members.
Crucial second half slowly shifts into the political aspiration of NTR. Diviseema Uppena, NTR-ANR Fund Rising, competition from Krishna and Shoban Babu are elaborated beautifully. Hardships behind release of Annadammula Anubandham during Emergency time enhanced the heroic impact. Dana Veera Soora Karna, Sardar Paparayudu and Bobbili Puli laying stones for NTR political entry are also presented engagingly. In fact, chemistry between Balayya, Vidya Balan will be remembered for long. During the pre-climax episodes, Vidya Balan and Trivikrama Rao’s half acceptance at Balakrishna’s political entry left so much to say in second half because Kathanayakudu ends with introduction of Nadendla Bhaskar Rao, Chandra Babu Naidu, Ramoji Rao and Bhavanam Venkat Ram Reddy.
In totality, Balakrishna and Krish have done cent percent justice in celebrating the cine life of NTR from a very closer view. Balakrishna suited the role to tee. Especially, NBK is impeccable as NTR in 60s and also took proper care in balancing the beginning parts of young NTR. Given the crisp making time and restricted budget, NTR Kathanayaudu stroke all the right chords and this is a grand tribute to legendary personality while audience will eagerly wait for Mahanayakudu release. Apparently, Pongal festive season is on and Kathanayakudu will make the best usage of holiday time in Box Office terms. CJ goes with 3.25 stars.