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Krish Jagarlamudi On The NTR Bio-Pic

Subhash K . Jha

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Telugu cinema’s most prolific  director  Krish Jagarlamudi  is now at peace with his creative  faculties.

The last year has been  turbulent  for  him. “I had to complete two political  period films.Actually… three. Since  there are two parts for the NTR saga.So I was working on  three bio-pics one after another.Manikarnika and  the  NTR bio-pic in two parts. Now thatNTR Mahanayakudu is finally out, I feel I can sleep in peace.I feel like  a father whose  three daughters are married. For  the  first  since I started  shooting these  films I slept peacefully for the  whole  night. Otherwise I had  forgotten the difference between night and day.”

The  first part  of  the  NTR saga Kathanayakudu underperformed  at  the boxoffice.

Krish  is  still  in a daze  over  the outcome. “I have no clue why the first part  of  the  biopic didn’t  do as well as we  expected. Everyone who saw  it loved it. But  not enough people went  to see it in theatres. Now  that  it is on the internet I  get  innumerable  messages  saying how much people have liked NTR Kathanayakudu. I wish more people  had made an effort to see it  on the big screen. The two parts  of  the NTR saga were designed as a big-screen experience.”

 Many feel that  the  two parts should have been released  as  one film.

But  Krish disagrees. “It was  not possible to  release more than  five hours  of  edited footage as one film. Nor could we  cut down  on  the  narrative  width. This is  not an ordinary man’s story. NTRji   who played Lord Krishna on screen  was actually revered as  God by the people of Andhra.Making a film on his life  in close association with his son(actor Balakrishna who plays   N T  Rama  Rao)  has been  one  of the most  enriching  experiences of my life.I’ve come away a better human being.And I hope audiences feel the same way at the end  of the film.”

Krish and  his leading man Balakrishan  did  contemplate putting all the material together in one film.  “We  thought we would  do  5-hour film with two intervals, like  Raj Kapoor’sMera Naam  Joker. But the idea was  shot own. Today’s multiplex audience won’t sit  through such lengthy films.”

Krish  has  no regrets over telling  NTR’s story in two parts. “I am  confident our film has a long shelf life. People will  keep  going back to the  two-part  bio-pic to know more about the only chief minister  of  the country who could take on Mrs Indira Gandhi.”

The  second  part has  opened to encouraging  boxoffice records.

Rationalizing the disparity in the response  to  the  two parts Krish says,  “The  political atmosphere was heavily  weighed against our film when  the  first part came out. Now the second  part has come with no extra baggage.Audiences are watching it for what  it is. An honest  unpretentious  tribute to the  iconic N T Rama Rao.”

There  have been reports in  sections  of  the  media about Balakrishna being  unhappy with  the end-product. Krish  says  this  is  wishful thinking on the part  of  those who can’t bear  to see  a collaboration  so momentous coming to a happy fruition. “There are people out there  who wanted  us to fail, wanted  us to  have a  fall-out. Bala  Sir and I were  one  in  our  pursuit  of a story  that  would do justice  to  the NTR  legend. This  film couldn’t have been made without  the  active support  of  Bala  Sir.Our   effort to tell  the NTR was blessed by God and  the great man himself. Nothing  could stop us.”

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