What’s the story :
Bandhagi Gopanna (Jagapathi Babu) appeals to the people of Telangana to revolt against the atrocities of the government and fight for a separate Telangana state. However, before his voice would reach out to more people, he’s killed. Few years later, his son (Sandeep) and wife (Smriti Irani) shift to Hyderabad where Sandeep pursues his studies in a university. He bumps into Meera Nandan and love happens between the two. When they go to their ancestral village, Sandeep opens his eyes towards how the people across the region have been suffering from years of apathy and negligence and convinces himself that their problems won’t be solved unless a Telangana state is formed. When he returns, the suicide of his close friend, Chari snowballs into a wide scale movement demanding for a separate state. How their lives change over a period of time forms the rest of the story.
First things first, it’s hard not to take sides while watching a political drama which is based on real life events. Jai Bolo Telangana is narrated from a very specific point of view and N Shankar never tries to present a balanced perspective. This is exactly what works in favour of the film. The sequence of events which lead up to the agitation on a wide scale have a deep impact and from that point of view the agitation looks completely justified. Take that scene where Chari comes to terms with the poverty which has been haunting his family for several years or even the scene where an innocent weaver’s family loses its family member to increasing debts. Eventually, the story evolves into a fight for one’s fundamental rights for survival to lead a good life. Also, the film entirely concentrates on what the people of Telangana demand and hardly ever touches upon the political moves. In a way, most of the politicians are shown as greedy and power-mongers whose interest lies in only amassing wealth and save their power.
The film also has a good cast ensemble and there’s a certain element of truth and honesty in their performances. Sandeep, who’s reluctant to join the movement, undergoes a massive transformation when he sees the plight of those who are dear to him. He’s in love with a girl (Meera Nandan) who hails from Vijayawada and the agitation almost tears apart their relationship. Meera Nandan, who is righteous and empathizes with Sandeep and his family, is good in her role. Smriti Irani becomes the voice of reason during such turbulent times. She acts as an anchor to really drive the message that the demand of Telangana people is only for a separate state but they don’t want any bifurcation in their relationship with people from other states. However ironic it might sound, “Vidi poyyi Kalisundham” (Lets part ways and stay together) is the message which the film underlines. Jagapathi Babu does a good cameo provided the right amount of fire power to the story. Nagineedu, who dons the role of a politician from Vijayawada, does a commendable job.
The film is as much a love story as it’s the story of Telangana movement. At one point of time, the love story becomes a metaphor for the agitation. N Shankar does a great job in scripting this story and he touches the right chord at several points of the film. At times, it becomes a little difficult to follow the emotional graph of the film as it flip flops between a love story and the simmering anger and frustration of some of the protagonists. Chakri’s music is good and some of the lyrics written by KCR, Gaddar and others are good. The title song of the film ‘Jai Bolo Telangana’ is very well composed.
Films like Jai Bolo Telangana which attempt to mirror the real events tread upon a dangerous path. They aren’t exactly a ‘pleasant watch’ which you can general watch to kill your time or to feel good about. It’s emotionally charged and tries its best to present the problems of the people in Telangana region and the need for a separate state. Does it offer a solution or a conclusion? No, it doesn’t. More than anything, it acts as a catalyst for our awakening to really open our eyes to see what’s really happening. An honest film made with good intentions. Go watch it. In the end, one question remains unanswered – is it all true? Perhaps it’ll never be…isn’t ‘truth’ itself a point of view?