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Yatra Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Friday, February 8, 2019 • Telugu ]
Yatra Review
70MM Entertainments
Mahi V Raghav
Vijay Chilla & Shashi Devireddy

'Yatra', starring Mammootty in the role of YS Rajasekhara Reddy, hit the screens this Friday.  Here is our review of the political drama.


When the ruling party decides to dissolve the Assembly and call for snap polls in 2004, YS Rajasekhara Reddy (Mammootty) is shocked and clueless.  He and his party have no idea how to fight the elections with "meagre" resources and near-zero momentum.

This is when YSR embarks on a walkathon (Pada Yatra) which eventually proves to be a masterstroke.  The mass-connect programme gains massive public sympathy, especially among the farming class.

The film is essentially about this journey, the unfortunate people YSR meets during the walkathon, and how he overcomes the limitations imposed by the typical Congress culture.


The film's screenplay can be divided into two parts: YSR's endless farmer outreach moves is one, YSR's repetitious clashes with the Congress high command is the other.  If this is not enough to make the proceedings a non-starter, the second half turning out to be an unabashed extension of the first half makes it way too monotonous.

Just to give you a taste of how much familiar the flavour of the movie is, here we bring you a hackneyed moment already seen in the recent 'NTR: Kathanayakudu'.  YSR eats the humble 'buvva' (a morsel of food) in a poor woman's house at the first opportunity.  The problem is that 'Yatra' refuses to go beyond such stock moments.

At its core, 'Yatra' has a non-moving story.  All that we are told is that YSR made promises to the neglected farmer and gave shock after silent shock to the Congress high command in the run-up to the 2004 elections.  There is no place for nuance (like how the droughts in the years preceding the Pada Yatra made farm woes all the worse).  There is no question of humanizing YSR (even when he was a child, his father saw a potential Messiah in him) in the film.  There is no interest to go beyond scratching the surface (for example, did YSR ever show interest in heralding structural reforms in agriculture and if not, why didn't he?  Is it because low-hanging fruits such as loan waiver and free power are all that he could think of?).  

Director Mahi V Raghav presents even problematic ideas without batting an eyelid.  YSR virtuously bats for Sucharita (Anasuya Bharadwaj in a cameo) to be given the party ticket only because she belongs to a mini-dynasty.  Most parties in India have mini-dynasties but why normalize the undemocratic culture in a film as if it's a virtue to promote them? The last moments of the film openly showcase Jagan Mohan Reddy as the solution - it's both glorification of one individual as well as unquestioning acceptance of dynasty politics.  

The film shows KVP's (Rao Ramesh) loyalty to YSR and the return of love by the latter as some sort of great happening in itself.  YSR may have prevented one Subba Reddy from filing nomination but so what, he and his wife Vijayamma (Ashritha Vemuganti) were known for mind-blowing hospitality!  (If you have any doubt, just see how the first act is framed)  

The film doesn't play with the YSR-loving crowds well.  The sight of the crowds thronging YSR's rallies in larger and larger numbers as the elections near just doesn't give any goosebumps (it should have).  

To be fair to the writer-director, the film is honest in hitting out at the pliable media that used to be one of the biggest strengths of YSR's rival leader (you know who).  The groupism within the Congress also gets a mention in the form of a couple of brief moments.  The bureaucratic procedures within the party, engendered by the Family (the film should have hit out at India's biggest political dynasty rather explicitly), were deftly overcome by YSR.  

Mammootty is the heart and soul of the movie; the Mollywood superstar lends dignity to his role.  His pronunciation (he has dubbed his voice) shows his focus.  Rao Ramesh, Posani, Sachin Khadekar, Jeeva, Suhasini, Jagapathi Babu fit the bill.  

K Krishna Kumar's montage songs and BGM are impressive.  Sathyan Sooryan's cinematography is a plus.  


'Yatra' could have gone beyond those stock scenes and familiar moments.  A one-sided film, it lacks nuance.  Mammootty's fabulous performance is the saving grace.  A few melodramatic moments can work with sections of audiences.  Technical departments do a very good job, especially music.

యాత్ర మూవీ రివ్యూ తెలుగులో చదవండి

Rating: 3 / 5.0

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