Mammootty's Yatra (2019) : Not a Biopic! Rather a Human Drama says Director Mahi V Raghav
Mammootty's Yatra is releasing this week! in Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam languages. 2019 is a year of Biopics for Indian Cinema, and with General Elections 2019 coming-up major chunk of these Biopics are political. Yatra, based on former Andhra Pradesh C M Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy is the latest instalment to this genre.
2019 is a year of Biopics for Indian Cinema and with General Elections 2019 Coming-Up, Three Biopics on Political Personalities (The Accidental Prime minister, NTR Kathanayakudu, Thackeray) have released by January itself, but interestingly none succeeded at Box Office. Yatra, based on former Andhra Pradesh C M Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy is the latest instalment to this genre.
The Buzz around the movie is, as usual, a dilemma between Political Propaganda or Real Story. In promotional interviews, Director Mahi V Raghav has been advocating that there is no political backing or an Agenda to the movie. The Movie is 20% politics and 80% drama he added.
The director doesn’t want to use the term ‘biopic’ to describe his film since it focuses on a specific segment in the protagonist’s life. He took a conscious decision to not reflect the exact same incidents or characters who played a key part in YSR’s life during the padayatra, and even the timelines have been altered for dramatic effect.
For instance, YSR’s padayatra had unfolded nearly 15-16 months before the elections were held in 2004; however, in the film, Mahi intentionally tweaked this timeline to six months before the elections.
“I don’t know what people mean when they use the term ‘biopic’. The way I see it, all biopics are fictional and there can never be an honest biopic. It’s always going to be fictionalised and more so for the format of a film. If I’m making a documentary, judge me on the basis of factual and chronological turn of events. But when it’s a film, you’ve to respect that format because you’ve to engage the audience emotionally. Yatra is inspired from a true event and a real character. We have tweaked the characters and timelines for dramatic effect. I want the audience to judge me on the basis of the story, and not the actual events and characters that happened in the past,” Mahi explains.
The drama centres around how YSR changed as a person and with Mammootty playing the central character, Mahi V Raghav had to ensure that this real story works as a film too. After all, the heart of a biopic lies in the drama within the story and the environment it’s set in. And he underlines the fact that he had no intention to make a political film.
Indeed! Today's Voters are smart and cannot be fooled or mislead easily. Majority of them understand difference between a Fiction and Reality. They know where to look for facts and that's definitely not a Movie. Gone are the days when cinema could make you idolize someone. Now, Movie-Goers are very clear about what they want from a movie i.e. pure entertainment.
For instance, Though Sanjay Dutt's Biopic "Sanju" was a blockbuster, but an immediate release of Sanjay Dutt after "Sanju", "Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3" was a Disaster at Box Office.
At the end of the day, a Good film wins whether a Propaganda or a Real Story.