When Shekhar Kapur opined after chairing the Indian National Film Awards jury that there is no such thing as regional cinema any longer, he hadn’t seen the new Mahesh Babu film Bharath Ane Nenu.
The wish-fulfilment parable on a new political awakening has already earned more than Rs700 million (Dh38.7 million) over the first weekend.
Director Koratala Siva is over the moon and promises to take the film to the masses.
“Seeing the impact of the film’s political message, we are now planning to dub the film in other Indian languages including Hindi. We should’ve done this from the start. We should’ve known that the craving to see a new political awakening is pan-India. We are taking the film to other parts of India apart from Andhra. We feel the political message of the country is relevant to every Indian,” he says.
“We always knew our film will strike a chord among the masses. Indian politics has hit an all-time low in many places. There is widespread disillusionment with the people we elect to represent us in Parliament. Why is there no accountability in governance? This is what bothered me when I got down to writing Bharath Ane Nenu,” says Siva.
“Promise was the key to the plot in Bharath Ane Nenu. When politicians are elected into public offices, they take an oath to serve the people... we the people for the people by the people... But the promise is soon broken. Why? Here was my protagonist who thinks promises are sacred. This gentleman’s word, whether given in his childhood to his mother or to Mother India in his maturity, is never to be broken,” he adds.
Babu was the first and only choice to play the enlightened chief minister.
Siva says: “I wanted an actor who can play a politician who is heard without shouting, whom everybody listens to when he talks although he never raises his voice. Someone who could be assertive without getting unnecessarily aggressive. No one fitted the bill except Mahesh Babu. He is soft spoken and yet persuasive. He is exactly like the chief minister he plays in my film. I can’t imagine making this film without Mahesh Babu as Bharath.”
And now, so powerful is the impact of Babu’s politician’s act that director Siva is now seriously toying with the idea of a sequel.
“I have never liked or entertained the idea of doing sequels or remakes. There are so many fresh stories to be told. But the story of Chief Minister Bharath is too relevant and too pervasive to be forsaken. The country needs a political change. Bharath represents that change.”
Bharath Ane Nenu is currently showing in the UAE.