Yatra - Movie Review

Friday, February 8, 2019 - 13:30
Yatra (2019)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: Yatra
Cast: Mammotthy, Ashrita Vemuganti, Anasuya, Jagapathi Babu, Nagineedu, Suhasini Maniratnam, Rao Ramesh, Posani Krishna Murali, Vinod Kumar and Sachin Khedekar and others
Cinematography: Sathyan Sooryan
Music: K
Lyrics: Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry
Editor: Sreekar Prasad
Production Design: Ramakrishna and Monica Sabbani
Sound Design: Sync Cinema
VFX: Knack Studios
Banner: 70mm Entertainments
Presented by: Shiva Meka
Producers: Vijay Chilla and Shashi Devireddy
Story, Screenplay and Direction: Mahi V Raghav
Release date: Feb 08 2019
CBFC Rating: U
Runtime: 126 min

In 2003, congress leader Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy embarked on a foot journey to know people’s problems and also to revive the congress party that had been out of power in Andhra Pradesh for more than a decade. The then Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu was attacked by naxals in Tirupati. Sensing sentiment wave towards him, Naidu went for early polls. This left congress party jittery as it was not prepared for an early poll. Defeat for congress party seemed imminent.
At one time, YSR also thought of quitting politics. Fight or retire situation. So, YSR took a decision of pada yatra from Chevella to Ichchapuram covering more than 1400 kms in hot summer and he romped to power in 2004.
‘Yatra’ has focused on this journey. It is not a biopic on YSR in a true sense. It is like documenting a period that changed the course of politics in Andhra Pradesh and also that brought YSR into power. Director Mahi V Raghav has cleverly used the pada yatra as reference to depict the journey of the protagonist both inner and outer.
It was alleged that YSR was a factionist and was known for his irascible attitude. How such a person turned into a leader of people is revealed as he took up this long journey.
In his rule as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, he was known for his welfare schemes like free power to agriculture, fee reimbursement for students, and Arogya Sri (health cards for poor). What situations and incidents prompted him to think of such schemes is depicted in dramatic manner in this film there by exploring the humane side of YSR.
Despite it being a political movie, the first half of the movie has many emotional moments like an old woman narrating her plight for getting pension. Sequences of farm distress in early 2000’s are depicted well. Post-interval, the film shows another emotional scene involving a kid at a government hospital. However, post-interval the film becomes more of a political documentary.
Director Mahi V Raghav has shown only one side of YSR’s life, the allegations of his political opponents are suppressed. The film is one-side of a charismatic politician of Andhra Pradesh. The director has taken many cinematic liberties and made him look like he was the real high-command than the central high-command of congress party. The film also shows leaders like VH in poor light.
Casting of Malayalam’s legendary actor Mammootty as YSR was a great decision. His gait, his physical resemblance to YSR has worked out well. Mammootty’s subtle performance is the major asset as the film is completely a one-man show.
Apart from Mammotty, Rao Ramesh as KVP gets more footage. In other roles, Ashrita Vemuganti as YSR’s wife, Anasuya as Sucharita, Jagapathi Babu as YSR’s father, Posani as Venkat Rao, Prudhvi as Mana Desam leader and Sachin Khedekar as representative of congress high-command get noticed.
The film lacks impressive production values. Technically it is too average. Music is neat. Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry’s lyrics are good.
Director Mahi V Raghav has succeeded to a large extent in portraying YSR’s political yatra despite going overboard in the second half.
Bottom-line: ‘Yatra’ is not a complete biopic of Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy, it depicts an important phase in his political career. The first is half laced with emotional and engaging scenes. Post-interval, it becomes a bit of a propaganda movie. It serves its intended goal of making of this movie, though.

Caution: Political movies work more if you have similar political bent.

Reviewed by: 
J Gudelli