Mickey J Meyer’s background score is outstanding in the film. It manages to hold and also arouse interest in all the vital scenes and elevates the mood throughout the film. Thota Tharani’s art is good and most of the bungalows, offices, and meeting halls look authentic. Vijay C Kumar’s cinematography is top notch. Marthan K Venkatesh’s editing is good and especially fantastic in the final act of the film. And finally, the man himself, Shekar Kammula who wrote the story, screenplay, dialogues apart from directing the film. His earlier stories were closely attached to reality and more about personal issues between friends. However, with ‘Leader’ he attempts to do something larger than life and creates this huge bubble of dreams and aspirations of what a ‘Leader’ should be like. The film is cramped in with so many details that somehow he ignores addressing some key issues such as ‘Is the last wish, a reason strong enough to take the responsibility for 8 crore people?’ among many other things. The dialogues in the film are brilliantly written and on the whole, Shekar Kammula manages to end the story on a high note.
It’s good to see that a top director has chosen to deal with politics in his films and kudos to debutant actor Rana for this honest and brave attempt. However a brief comparative analysis of the recent ‘political’ hits would suggest that struggle is a necessity (as in Shankar’s ‘Oke Okkadu) and an ego clash is fantastic (as in Mani Ratnam’s ‘Iddharu’) if a political drama has to be well-received by people. Shekar Kammula’s version of ‘Leader’ is set in an institution of monarchy and sadly the common man who should have been the most important part of the drama is given a miniscule role to play. It carefully concentrates only on ‘What if’ we had a leader like this. ‘Leader’ is the kind of film which will make you want to connect the dots with real life scenarios and Shekar Kammula cleverly pitches some characters which have resemblance to a few in our real life as well. It’s bound to appeal differently to different people and for this reason alone it’s quite possible that your opinion of the film will differ from others. Yes, it’s an honest film with loads of goodness but it’s too preachy than what it should have been. But then, everything is done with a good intention and the final act of the film along with ‘Maa Telugu Talliki’ and ‘Leader-Youth of the Nation’ songs, is amazingly shot and it sort of gives you Goosebumps! It’s a film which could have been much better and themes like this come once in a blue moon on such a large canvas with big budgets, big stars and big names attached. Watch it, because it’s a Shekar Kammula’s film with some good performances, good intentions and there’s still some hope left for more films on this theme of politics.
The only question which really matter is, ‘Does it Inspire You?’ Well, I will leave the ball in your court.