Verdict: Mammootty unleashes an astounding act into YSR’s haunting journey.

Tollywood seems to have taken a cue from other movie industries when it comes to making biopics. While we’ve seen this genre of films being nurtured in Hollywood and Bollywood, the Telugu movie industry recently started the trend. The super success of Mahanati – a biopic made on the legendary actress Savitri – has undoubtedly given a boost for other filmmakers to follow the trend. Mahi V. Raghav, the director of Yatra, has candidly revealed in the recent promotional activities that he doesn’t believe in the word “biopic”. However, his gut feeling is that some percentage of fictional content must be added when there are movies being made on any personalities or legendary figures, else they turn out to be documentaries. Going by the pre-release buzz, one expects an emotional ride from Yatra. Let’s see if the team meets the expectations.

What’s Yatra About:

Yatra, as expected, deals with the historic padh-yatra of the legendary and most loved politician of united Andhra Pradesh – Late Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, very fondly known as YSR (played by Mammootty). Yatra starts off showcasing YSR’s rise as an exemplary politician within the Congress party and ends with him becoming the Chief Minister for the second time. The live episodes of his tragic death are also shown at the end along with his son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s speech about his father. The movie highlights the politician’s emotional turmoil while interacting with the people of the state. How he owns the issues and gives them the trust to overcome their fears forms the crux of the film.

What Works:

The best part of Yatra is the reverberating “YSR zindabad” chants along with the simple dialogues with effective emotional connect and the performance of Mammootty that make it a class apart. His enigmatic diction and screen presence make you feel for the character. A well-deserved pat on Mahi V. Raghav’s shoulders for engaging the audience in an emotional human drama camouflaged with pitch-perfect casting and brilliant technical values. Sreekar Prasad’s scissors at the editing room were sharp, ensuring Yatra to be crisp and to the point. Sathyan Suryan’s visuals complemented Yatra’s theme and K’s music give the film its much-needed flavor.

Jagapati Babu’s portrayal of YSR’s father, Y.S. Raja Reddy and Rao Ramesh as KVP are well suited. Ashrita Vemuganti’s striking resemblance to Y.S. Vijayamma is also brilliant. Posani Krishna Murali, Nassar, Suhasini, Anasuya and the rest of the cast are effective in their respective roles.

What Could’ve Been Better:

A few references towards the opposition Mana Desam Party seem unwarranted and could have easily been avoided. Nevertheless, the makers have delivered what they wanted to its targeted audience, especially the YSR party and its followers.

Why You Should Watch:

Mahi V. Raghav’s Yatra has a unique theme with a realistic presentation and is a class apart from other biographical films. This historic Yatra of footprints will, for sure, leave an imprint on the history of biopics in Tollywood.