Legendary politician YS Rajesekhar Reddy has millions of admirers, thanks to the welfare schemes he initiated and implemented for the poor and middle class. However, Yatra is not completely a biopic, it emphasizes more on Padayatra of YSR which brought Congress to power in 2004. The question is will Yatra please all the sections or restricts only for YSRCP supporters?
Yatra revolves around the life of the former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy (Mammootty), focuses on his iconic foot journey. Film also depicts his friendship with KVP Ramachandra Rao (Rao Ramesh), his association with his Chevella Chellemma Sabitha Indra Reddy (Suhasini), close bonding with other followers and also his disagreement with Congress High Command. Further, the film shows the key episodes which led YSR to take the glorious decision of Padayatra and the circumstances influenced him to announce people friendly welfare schemes such as free power, loan waiver, Arogya Sri, Fee Reimbursement etc that helped him win the election battle twice.
YS Rajasekhar Reddy undeniably is one of the charismatic and influential leaders born on Telugu soil. He was a demi god for weaker section as his schemes brought back smiles on farmers’ faces. Yes, YSR life is worth making a biopic. But, Mahi Raghav visualized Padayatra alone has got more than enough stuff to narrate as a biopic because this one brave step turned the life of YSR and Congress Party in AP. In fact, Padayatra bought him close to people in remote areas. He perceived, understood and analysed the public's core problems when the running governments neglected them.
This doesn't mean that Mahi came up with a fitting biopic. Sluggish writing, lethargic taking played spoilsport and an influential leader looked like an ordinary politician. More importantly, the film seemed to have been made to benefit YS Jagan and his party YSRCP. The YSR opposed High Command decisions went repeated showing the other interests of producers. Sathya Sooryan’s camera work is middling wherein BGM did not promote the heroics of YSR. However, songs are notable. Editor Sreekar Prasad failed in making Yatra an engaging ride. Production values of 70mm Entertainments are decent.
Onto performances, Mammootty enacted the role persuasively yet could not match the charismatically magic smile of YSR when it comes to recreating the smile, walking like a true leader and all other mannerisms. More importantly, we missed ‘his’ voice. Neither Mahi nor Mammootty neglected these ‘small’ things. Jagapathi Babu as YS Raja Reddy, YSR’s father, was convincing in a brief role. Rao Ramesh as KVP was a right choice wherein Sachin Khedekar played his part credibly. Suhasini as Sabitha Indra Reddy and Posani Krishna Murali as a cunning politician were okay. However, none of the other artist were given wide scope.
Few Padayatra Episodes
Lack Of Emotions
Even for biopics on legendary persons, writer and director should strive to establish a conflicting point or emotions to drive the script. Biased narration might impress a section of movie buffs, misses on universal appeal. Given the statute of YSR, a fitting tribute is possible but Mahi included unnecessary cinematic episodes with an intention to show YSR as a rebellion, even to his own party. On remaining portions too, struggle behind Yatra appealed only to YSRCP followers.
First half begins with a female politician coming to YSR seeking his support for MLA candidature from opposition party establishing the committment of YSR and respect for women. When Sabhitha Indra Reddy opposes the decision of kicking padayatra from her home town Chevella, YSR says 'Chedu Cheyadaniki Shakunalu Avasaram Kaanee, Manchi Cheyadaniki Endukamma.' Then follow up scenes showed his disloyalty to High Command. Ruling govt going for early polls and YSR propelling Yatra with captain KVP are dealt well. From hereon, Yatra unknowingly caught itself in a locked boundary as Mahi weaves episodes one by one showing the back stories behind the welfare schemes announced and initiated.
Interval episode of YSR walking back from a village respecting an elder person (Nagineedu) who says, “Rajasekhara Nuvvu Marav, Munupati Paurusham Ippudu Ledu, Naa Vote Neeke, Nee Party Ki Kaadu…” is clapworthy for Fans.
Latter part begins with High Command bending down to growing popularity of YSR. In reality, YSR gave suggestions to his party biggies and never opposed their decisions. The scene which led YSR to announce Arogya Sri scheme was one of the best parts. Then a woman requests YSR to look him after the expense of her son's Engineering education, he tells... “Nenu Gelisthe Maa Prabhuthvam Choosukuntundi, Okavela Odipothe Nenu Choosukuntanu,” glorified his character. Things go swiftly and YSR's victory on cards. Then the real footage of YSR taking oath two times, his untimely demise in a chopper crash make everyone emotional, particularly YSR followers. In climax, Yatra turns completely a mouth piece for YSRCP when Jagan takes the lead.
All in all, Yatra has share of its goods and weak moments with loopholes in scripting and execution, lacked on emotions and drama. More importantly, showing Congress High Command as villains is a silly stuff. If you are a hardcore fan of YSR, you would love this one or else it's pretty average. CJ goes with 2.5 stars and we need to wait n see how Yatra performs at box office since no other potential film is releasing this week.