From Taraka Rama to Lakshmi Rama – the journey of NTR in a film by Ram Gopal Varma
He was a matinee idol, who used his charisma successfully to form first non-Congress government in the united Andhra Pradesh. During his long film career, he played not only the roles of presiding deities Rama & Krishna, for which he was famous but also the roles of Ravana and Duryodhana, apart from many other inspiring roles. It was a life full of all colours and moods. Equally colourful and spicy was his political career. From being the “Ramanna” who replaced “Indiramma” by sporting Khakis and touring the length and breadth of the state to be clothed in white khaddar before finally embracing Saffron attire (three decades before we saw Yogi in a similar but less attractive), the political life of NT Rama Rao was always up for a discussion at coffee tables and post dinner walks.
Then, there is Ram Gopal Varma, the man who forced theatres in AP to upgrade the sound systems so audience can enjoy the true feel of his films. It was Ram Gopal Varma, who taught Bollywood how to use television to promote films. The way he promoted Rangeela airing stunning visuals of Urmila was later replicated by the film industry all over India. It was Ram Gopal Varma, who promoted technology in Indian films in a big way. Though he has become a shadow of himself of late, he is perhaps the only director who can approach Amitabh Bachchan for a film, even without a script. Of course, he is a self-declared eccentric and was one who never cared of others’ opinion.
After making few films like Raktha Charitra, Sarkar to Veerappan based on real human stories, Ram Gopal Varma now plans to make a film on the life of NTR. Wait, it is not a biopic but deals with only the life of NTR after his second marriage to Lakshmi Parvathi.
This is where the cocktail becomes a dangerous mix of films, love, aspirations and finally – politics. More often than not Ram Gopal Varma had a tiff with Twitter Users for his comments that offended many including the bigwigs of Bollywood and of course, Telugu film industry.
Even now, his decision to make a film on NTR dealing with his second love innings has ruffled many feathers. Notwithstanding the public drama involving Lakshmi Parvathi and NTR, the successful coup by Chandrababu Naidu with the support of NTR’s children and present Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju was never seen as a revolt against NTR by the public. Lakshmi Parvathi. People in both Telugu states have in fact, a definite understanding of NTR irrespective of what is said by the press and politicians.
The political career of NTR was not without flaws and remarks. He was accused of deepening the caste based divisions in the state, even while he returned to power in 1991. When he declared himself as a Sanyasi and started living in the ‘Kutiram’ in Nacharam, Hyderabad he was laughed at for the five star facilities that the Kutir apparently had. NTR himself made the cocktail of films and politics when he starred in ‘Brahmarshi Vishwamitra’ and shot the first scene in the presence of VP Singh, Karunanidhi and Prafulla Kumar Mahanta. NTR was chief minister when he made the movie in which he starred. The Sidhu episode fades lightly when compared with the way NTR brushed aside the demand of Rajiv Gandhi led Congress to resign from the post before making the film.
The coffee table discussions include the impact of “Kalagnanam” by Veera Brahmendra Swamy written some few centuries ago. It is said there was a prophecy that the country would be ruled by a widow and then by a sanyasi. It is rumoured NTR took it seriously after witnessing Indira Gandhi ruling the nation and so became a sanyasi, only to later revisit their opinion to claim Narasimha Rao was the sanyasi (Later we had Vajpayee and now Modi, who qualifies to be called one). All of a sudden NTR reduced this only to be a rumour, when he married again – Lakshmi Parvathi, who was separated from her husband and was 33 years younger to him. Well, the now Congress spokeswoman Renuka Choudhary supported this marriage and called it a “social reform act” and exhibited the TDP’s way of women’s welfare (I would like to know how she responds to her own words now).
The entry of Lakshmi Parvathi into his life had seen both ups and downs. Politically, he won next elections and became CM for the third time. But, all was not well in the party and the cadre and NTR’s children. Sons and daughters of NTR were born with silver spoons in their mouths but compared to current generation of politicians and actors, highly decent in their public appearances.
The revolt by Chandrababu Naidu was supported by almost all of NTR’s children and was rumoured to be engineered by Ashok Gajapati Raju. The coup gave a rude jolt to NTR and Telugu people, who voted for him only one year earlier. Still, people accepted Chandrababu Naidu. And, NTR couldn’t digest this fact. The old hero couldn’t recover from the shock and died few months later. What people know and discuss are mostly rumours. Yet, NTR was the only third leader that Telugu people revere in modern times, the other two being Alluri Sitarama Raju and Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu.
NTR had a charisma that was unparalleled in both Telugu speaking states. Had he lived, he wouldn’t need to resort to any political means to prevent Telangana formation. He was the first CM of AP who initiated progress in Telangana area, despite he himself was from the coastal region. For the faults in his personal life, he was criticised by the people but they accepted him for politically. Maybe this trait is in our daily lives for we pray to Gods for common good they do for the society, ignoring their faults at personal level.
Though Ram Gopal Varma has seasoned from the days he made Sarkar and Rakta Charitra, he would definitely will have some anxious moments during the making of the film and post its release. Why not? The film is being produced by a leader from YSR Congress party and is expected to release before next elections. I smell something is being cooked by Prashant Kishor, who is now a consultant for YSRCP. And RGV was a classmate of Congress leader and industrialist Lagadapati Rajgopal only helps things to be seen from a political perspective.
Leave a Reply