The biopic on former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh YS Rajasekhara Reddy titled Yatra has released today worldwide and the buzz around the film is at an unimaginable level. Two reasons for this – Mammootty's presence in the movie and the enormous following that YSR has in the Telugu states. Directed by Mahi V Raghav, Yatra focusses on the journey of YS Rajsekhara during the tour that he took on foot across the state in the late 2000s. While the makers are expecting several debates to start off around the pada yatra YSR had taken up, let's take a look at what the film has to offer.
What's it about:
Yatra primarily tells the story of what inspired YS Rajasekhara Reddy to take the pada yatra when he was not the Chief Minister and how he fought the odds stacked up against him within the political party he was part of for more than three decades. The conviction in his decisions which often came across as stubbornness are focussed upon in Yatra and the film succeeds to a great extent in showing it. From feeling the pain of farmers in the state to announcing welfare programmes for the poor, many aspects like these are depicted in Yatra. The film shows how YSR ruled the roost even when he was not in power politically.
Mammootty gets into the skin of his character YS Rajasekhara Reddy like a master and never lets you feel that he is portraying someone else. From mannerisms to language, the Malayalam mega star gets his act impeccably right and leaves you awestruck with his stellar performance. Director Mahi V Raghav's attempt to portray the pada yatra of YSR succeeds greatly until YSR becomes Chief Minister. One would hardly find any dull moment in the narrative which is filled with quite a few emotional moments. As you feel the narrative is getting a bit tedious, Raghav sneaks in a worthy moment which leaves the viewer in a hangover for a while. While it is tough to portray the larger picture in the time limitations a filmmaker would have, Raghav manages to keep you up with his screenplay which makes it worth a watch. The background scores by music composer K achieve the goal and have the right impact in the scenes that needed to give a high. Cameos by Anasuya Bharadwaj, Posani Krishna Murali and few others have the right balance helping the narrative.
Post the intermission, the narrative loses its track and it becomes a bit of a humdrum affair. While the attempt was to portray the pada yatra of YSR, there are few moments which glorify certain people in the plot including YSR which do not help the cause. After a successful tour on foot across the state, YSR eventually becomes the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. The journey from here loses as the makers have added the real-life footage of YSR which shows him becoming the Chief Minister till his death in an accident. From this juncture, the film tends to sound like a political documentary which may not leave a good taste. Songs in the post-intermission part act as speed bumpers which could have been avoided going by the graph of the screenplay.
Mammootty carries the film solely on his shoulders till the end playing YSR and never lets a dull moment come into his act. The attempt by the makers to portray what inspired YSR to go on a tour on foot across the state is achieved to an extent but derails towards the end which hampers the overall feel of the film. We go with a 2.5 for Yatra.
2.5 out of 5
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