Sekhar Kammula is one of my favorite directors. Come on, he directed Anand, Godavari, & Happy Days, which I have indicated on this blog how much I enjoyed watching them. I even bought Dollar Dreams, not realizing in was not subbed :( Hopefully I will watch because it looks very dialoge-heavy. I just recently ordered the other two films under his name (he didn't direct but is a distributor) I don't have yet - Ashta Chemma & Avakai Biryani.
Therefore, I had to see Leader!
Besides besides being a Sekhar Kammula film, Leader is
Rana Daggubati's debut film.
So who is this Rana Daggubati?
Well, he is the son of producer, D. Suresh Babu; the grandson of D. Ramanaidu; and the nephew of actor, Venkatesh, nephew of actor/producer, Nagarjuna Akkineni, and cousin of actor, Naga Chaitanya.
His forthcoming Hindi film, Dum Maro Dum, is with Abhishek Bachchan & Bipasha Basu.
All this hype for someone who I haven't seen yet? So what's it all about?
Only one motive
...to form a corruption free & caste system-free state
Will he succeed in his attempt?
Now will he outplay his opponents?
Will he emerge as a people-liked leader?
CM Sanjeevayya is laying on his deathbed. All he ask is for his son, Arjun, to not let his cousin, Dhanunjay, become CM and that Arjun becomes CM instead.
Arjun (Rana Daggubati) must find a way to become CM, even if that means using the black money from his father to buy his way there.
Rana has been praised for his performance. Honestly, he did good in his role. I just think his character was a bit boring. I think Sekhar wanted to show Arjun's nonchalantness and coolness.
Archana (Richa Gangopadhyay) is the love interest of Arjun
Richa is gorgeous and became "glamorous" after being the apple of Arjun's eyes. I love her smile.
Ratna (Priya Anand) has a crush on Arjun.
I felt both girls were wasted in their roles. However, more so with Priya. her character did add humor to the serious political film. I want to see more of her because she has that screen presence.
Ali (Harsha Vardan) is Arjun's personal secretary
Rajeswari Devi (Suhasini Mani Ratnam) is Arjun's mother
Dhanunjay (Subbaraju) wants to be CM and will do anything for it.
Arjun's uncle (Rao Ramesh)
The music were just playing in the background to help with the flow of the film.
Song #1 - "Vande Mataram"
Arjun thinking about becoming the CM
Song #2 - "Rajasekhara"
Celebration, Udaya Bhanu in an item number
Absolutely a wonderful dance number! Loved it!
Song #3 - "Idhi Mana Bharatham"
A clever idea to get votes for Arjun to be CM
Song #4 - "Bada Ledhu"
First move as CM
Song #5 - "Hey CM"
CM Arjun & Archana hang out
Song #6 - "Avunana Kaadana"
Song #7 - "Sreelu Pongina"
Another tough decision to make
Song #8 - "Maa Telugu Thalliki"
There was way too many advertising throughout the film! Mainly for King. There were more advertising throughout the film (yes, when it was actually playing), just popping out and disappearing. I tried to make caps of them but wasn't able to so I just let it be. Oh yeah, BTW, I did buy King too, not because of the ads :D I just hope it won't be a new trend with the ads because it is annoying!
There's a few camera shots from the bottom-up, which I dislike a lot. To me, it's just an unflattering angle. It's like asking a toddler to hold the camera and he is looking up at you.
Overall, the film is worth a watch. I love storylines about political corruption and someone who wants to change it. When a film makes you think and wonder, then to me, it's worth it. However, if politics is not your type of genre, you may skip out. But how could you not watch it? It's a Sekha Kammula film! :D
Sekhar Kammula's dedication
"This film is dedicated to every mother who gave a leader to lead this nation..."
Good review Nicki. I more or less felt the same way about it. The message is novel, interesting but I found Rana boring. His lack of expressions bothered me. (It wa appreciated by others so probably just me lol!) It is his debut so I put the blame on SK. Unlike you and many others, I am not that fond of SK's other films either. OTH, I love the two he produced/distributed a lot.
Ouch... I just bought this one as well... And I usually get very bored through movies about politics (I can think of only two exceptions: Iruvar and Raajneeti and I liked those only because the actors made them interesting...) Oh well, mine now, I'll have to watch it (guess I'll just put it lower in the pile ;))
Good review Nicki. I am on board the Shekhar Kamulla Bandwagon! I always recommend people to watch his movies.
Leader - i agree that the girls were wasted. Among the two, Richa had a short glamarous role. Apparently she was Miss India USA 2007. The other girl is a good actress and has a good screen presence - u r right. I think the director wanted to keep the focus on politics and the guy's role, hence did not delve much into developing a relationship between the two lead characters. The viewers are also left in a limbo about what happened to Priya as the movie progresses.
I liked the movie. I too think that Rana has done a good job for a first movie. His role required a lot of restraint and it is not easy to portray that or achieve it cinematically.
BTW, I too found a bad DVD of Dollar Dreams (i think ripped from a VHS). That is a very good movie too but with low prod values (made on a shoe string budget from Shekhar's pockets). You are right the dialogues are imp in that movie. My DVD had english subtitles. So perhaps you will be lucky too.
Avvakai Biryani was made by Shekhar's assitant - apparently it was not a commercial succes
filmizest - I think my problem with Leader is I want to like it more. I was underwhelmed a bit. It was Rana's boring character that really got me. Both the girls have the charm but didn't get a chance to show it.
I cannot wait to watch the other two then! :D (especially since you're not a SK fan)
Dolce - you may be bored :( Maybe I had high expectations?
Filmbuff - Thanks! I love Shekar Kamulla!
I think my expectations were a bit high. Maybe I wanted to see Kamalinee Mukherjee :D
I did read about Richa. She won Miss India USA 2007 from New Jersey. I think the states in the USA that has a Desi population hold a beauty pageant. I know there's one in Atlanta.
Yeah, that was the biggest WTF...what happened to Priya? She just disappeared then re-appeared at the end.
The way the ending happened, I wonder if the leads ended up together or who did he end up with? :D
I hope to find Dollar Dreams with English subs. Or find the subs online somewhere. I really really want to watch it!
Thanks for that tidbit. I'm excited to watch Avvakai Biryani!
Nicki - "Spoiler Alert" for those who haven't seen this yet. I think in the end Rana lands up with Richa - is is subtle - it is implied in the song ie when he is touring round the country side- a smiling Richa comes along with his shoes when she notices his blistering feet. Despite using her in the first half which she is angry about (rightfully), he wins her over in the 2nd half when he resigns as CM and starts his leader campaign. Also in the first half he does state ie after using her " this is one woman who is never going to forgive me" with a sad face which sort of indicates that his feelings for her run deep but he ie in the middle of setting things right politically. Also his mom suhasini, the scene before her death tells him about her unhappiness in him using the girl. There is some good maternal advice which is delivered critically not delivered with hysterics unlike other movies. It shows that she has a strong influence on him in a good way ie values he imbibes
Thanks Filmbuff - I debated with that too...about Rana and Richa ending up together. I felt really bad for Priya :(
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