By Swapna Ashok
Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma is back in news with his Lakshmi's NTR finally set to take off. His recent press meet in Tirumala created a sensation after the maverick director visited the shrine of Lord of Seven Hills before speaking to the media which was attended by Lakshmi Parvati. He said that he would have liked to see a Jayasudha or Jayaprada as NTR's wife and it came as a surprise that the God Of Telugu Cinema chose an unassuming woman for his life partner.
Staying true to its title, the film is a factual account of events related to NTR after Lakshmi Parvati came into his life. It is an unusual love story intertwined with political intrigues and conspiracies which unraveled at that time and finally led to NTR getting dethroned. While other films in the past like Gandipeta Rahasyam and Mandalaadheesudu sketched the story of NTR’s political career, no film has dared to delve into his personal life, especially during the twilight years. Even the so-called NTR biopic which is in the making is more an account of how he morphed into a politician from a being a successful actor.
We have had several actors who turned into political giants but rarely know of an instance of someone of the stature of NTR falling in love at a fairly advanced age by the standards of Indian society! History was witness to a young woman named Lakshmi Parvati coming in to NTR's life as a researcher/writer, then becoming his confidante and later his lawful wife. This was perhaps the most daring open-love story and not a clandestine affair. But the truth that actually hit NTR's family and political groups was the manner in which a stranger could gain access to and control over NTR's personal side and even influence politics. Lakshmi Parvati and NTR toured together, met people together and created a sensation back then.
There are enough reasons why this film has the potential to create waves and make it big. Firstly the, entire focus is on Lakshmi Parvathi, who was not given her due by many key influencers, despite her strong presence in NTR's life and Telugu politics. Secondly, RGV has openly declared that he will present the movie as a factual narrative of events with the "real" story unlike an interpretation of things that we have seen earlier. His mere audio statement prelude on YouTube that has drawn a million and a half views in 2 days, shows the curiosity levels of audience. Thirdly, NTR the man-was a blend of power and passion along with a very human side that was camouflaged because of his towering stature. Few can actually show his vulnerability and justify his iconic grandeur at the same time. The central idea of this story is sure to bring out the empathy that was long suppressed in the Telugu people.
Now comes the crucial question of whether the biopic NTR and Lakshmi's NTR will actually compete with each other. The clear answer to this is an emphatic ‘No’. While NTR is supposedly a biopic that is more like a tribute to a great man, Lakshmi's NTR is closer to life account, which gives Telugus a peek into the unrevealed side of his life. The comparison, like most analogies is odious. One attempts to be a hagiographic account portraying NTR as a larger than life figure but stopping at one of the most critical points in his life, ignoring his humiliating dethroning and the events that finally led to his sad end. RGV’s film on the other hand, like the director claims, would be a factual narrative and would portray events in the legendary actor-turned-politician’s life right till the end, including courtroom intrigues and plots against him.
Varma has already clarified that his film will be a tell-all on NTR. All important people who were part of NTR’s life will appear in the film, irrespective of their power and positions now. In an interview to Sakshi, RGV has declared that despite threats from certain political groups to stall the film, he will go ahead and stick to the truth and will not cow down to such intimidation. But what is amusing, he says, is the way the TDP leaders like Bonda Uma are warning him not to show NTR in poor light, when the very reason RGV is making this film is because he loves and respects NTR immensely and therefore wants to reveal the truth to the people. "How could this film possibly show the legend in poor light? It is in fact a true tribute to his greatness for all the trust he had in the people that betrayed him, it is to remind ourselves that there was a man named NTR who stood by the woman who held his hand at a time when everyone else abandoned him. I feel very emotional about this story," shares RGV.
The casting for Lakshmi's NTR is on and key technicians have already come on board. RGV is really on a high and scouting for suitable talent to fit the roles. We just have to wait and watch.
Stay tuned to Sakshi Post for regular updates.
The author is Executive Editor, Sakshi TV