Firstly, lets address the elephant in the room - the authenticity of biopics! If we ask someone belonging to the current or the immediate previous generation about NT Rama Rao, the response would either be driven by a Google search or a thing or two that they might have learnt watching Balakrishna's two-part NTR biopic. It's hard to validate the authenticity of any version of a biopic on the legendary actor since there are many. So, lets drop that aspect from the context here. Talking about Lakshmi's NTR directed by Ram Gopal Varma and Agasthya Manju, the narrative is from the perspective of Lakshmi Parvati who NTR had gotten married to post the debacle in 1989 elections.
Varma chose to depict the life of NTR when he was at a juncture where his family was against Lakshmi Parvati, and how that affected his political journey and relations. The outspoken filmmaker had made his intentions clear from the beginning that he wanted to show the phase of NTR's life where he was betrayed by his family and people he trusted the most. Let's look at what the film has to offer.
What's it about:
Lakshmi's NTR starts off at a point where Lakshmi Parvati approaches NT Rama Rao intending to write a book on his life. Parvati leaves NTR impressed with her intellect and literary knowledge and the actor-politician agrees to it. The journey between the two, with an intention to pen his life story begins, which makes way to rumours about their affair. NTR finds solace in Parvati's companionship and proposes to get married to her. Parvati, who is already married and has a son, breaks her first marriage and starts living with the actor. This move by the couple leaves the family, his party workers and his well-wishers fuming. And the incidents that follow form the crux of the story.
Rajasekhar Aningi as an older NT Rama Rao fits the bill perfectly and gets the mannerisms of the legendary actor right in most of the scenes. Yagna Shetty, playing Lakshmi Parvati, delivers a good performance and makes you believe there is an intense performer within her. Varma's signature camera angles and thumping background score add to the already built up excitement around the film and make it a good experience to watch. Varma has a habit of depicting a scene using gestures by actors combined with intense music and vivid camera work, and Lakshmi's NTR has such moments in millions. Kalyani Malik comes up with sounds in this film which he might not have used in any of his earlier ones. Varma seems to have explored a new perspective in Malik and makes him come up with something unusual in this biopic.
As you enter this world of Lakshmi's NTR, it takes time for you to accept the fact that it is the story of the legendary actor NT Rama Rao. The narrative takes very long to get established which in reality is a simple fact. This aspect makes it a bore to watch as Varma uses his prowess to establish all this, resulting in taking a very long time. When NTR proposes to Parvati for marriage, she tells her husband about it saying she wants to serve the legendary actor in some capacity. The conflict in that relationship goes unaddressed which leaves this aspect, NTR-Parvati's relationship, questionable. Every other shot in the film is the signature Varma camera angle and it becomes an overdose. The director showcases NTR's family, Harikrishna, Balakrishna, Bhuvaneshwari and others, with an intention to make them appear furious. But it falls flat and leaves audience in splits. The actor who played Balakrishna merely mimicked him which made it a laugh riot (the hall as one was in splits when he was on screen). Sritej, playing N Chandrababu Naidu, too only mimics the politician's mannerisms and there is no value addition to the role from an actor's perspective. Some lifeless visuals make it a humdrum affair and force you to take your eyes off the screen.
Varma's stubborn attempt to expose people who betrayed NTR with this biopic may fall flat on its face, but it will pull the audience to cinema halls because of the hype the filmmaker has managed to build before the release. If you are a fan of RGV's pattern of filmmaking or are curious to know what the film has to tell about NTR, then Lakshmi's NTR is a good choice. However, we would go with 1 star for this one.
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