Leader - News
Starring :Rana Daggubati, Priya Anandh, Richa Gangopadhyay
Music :Mickey J Meyer
Director :Sekhar Kammula
Producer :M Saravanan, MS Guhan
After raising the expectations of the audience top-notch, Shekar Kammulas political flick
This film on the ultimate political leadership that a people should be given, is fresh-looking, bold and partly slice-of-life. However, there is a splurge of platitudes and schemes that you would never expect the film to throw up in the latter half. It begins with a promise, continues to be a rare political caper through the first half, but sadly becomes a simplistic as well as unintelligent one in the lengthier half-two. Thankfully, the way Leader is ended is powerful and does dole out an impression that the greater politician has been born.
Arjun Prasad (Rana) is back in India, from the US, when his Chief Minister-father Sanjeevayya (Suman) is assassinated in a landmine blast. He decides to fulfill the last wish of his father and the only wish of his mother (Suhasini): that he succeed Suman as the Chief Minister of the state. Not surprisingly, the path to the gaddi is full of thorns and inhabited by life-endangering monsters. There is Dhananjay (Subba Raju), a 30-year old politico who wants to be the next CM. Behind him are forces that openly claim the monopoly of power, in full glare of the arc lights of 24/7 news channels. Arjun has got an onerous task to complete before he can finally claim the top post in the state. He evolves a philosophy: buy them all. He is a vast success in the plot he scripts and executes with utmost wile.
But, is it all done? Will Arjun Prasad, with a Doctorate and an experience at running a corporate house, be able to realise the dream of rooting out corruption and abolish the caste system? No prizes for guessing that the ugly system is going to mar him at every step of this aspiring maverick leader.
Watch out for the second half to know if the new Commander-In-Chief finally makes it and shows it to one and all, stunning the country and becoming a messiah of the masses - all by working in the spirit of the Constitution.
Leader is definitely a classy tale of a dynasty politico's rise, told with impeccable honesty by the writer-director. Its biggest strength is the idealistic character of Rana that is consumed by one goal and only that. The way it moves ahead in materialising the mission is inspiring and kudos to Kammula for penning some of the best lines. The scenes involving Kota Srinivasa Rao and Rana, the portrayal of the Mammon-worshipping legislators, the depiction of political sycophancy, corruption and heinousness, the angst of the Dalit - all stand out for their marvellous screenplay.
The glitch is too obvious. It comes too late in the film and stays on for way too long. One may complain about the way the film rambles into a candyfloss flick in the second half, only set in the corridors of power. Here too, a soulful romance between an extra-ordinary policy-maker and an ordinary girl could have been used to pep up proceedings. Disappointingly enough, the most promising Tollywood director fails the film in this aspect. The media, which is portrayed as story-hungry, is not interested about the CM's flirtations. Unbelievable!
The way Arjun grows demoralised in his own eyes and the decision he then makes is outstanding and an essential part of the film's crux. Though you never expected it, it comes along only to raise the stature of the protagonist in our eyes.
Rana is, doubtless, very good. He carries the role with a poise. The diction (somewhere close to Venkatesh's) and baritone are excellent. Expression-wise, he sets his own tone, without following a beaten track. Subba Raju, Kota, Suhasini and Harshwardhan fit their roles. Priya Anand is cute, while Richa is found wanted.
Technically, music (Mickey J Meyer) is a nice package, so also art direction (Thota Tharani) and cinematography (Vijay C Kumaar) which make Leader a rich fare.
All in all, but for a lull of simplism that casts its unhealthy spell on the film and a boring romantic track, Leader is spotless. More, it sounds the bugle for more such cinema.