There have been quite a few political films in the history of Telugu Cinema. Most of them have a protagonist who has suffered a lot in the hands of politicians and then saw to them in their own game. In the process of seeking his personal revenge or whatever, he clears up the mess of the society. This has been the standard which has been dished out to the masses. But LEADER begs to be different.
It is no longer appropriate to discuss about the story of the film as it is as popular as a folklore among netizens. What is worthy for discussion is the fact that Sekhar Kammula presents a societal problem in a much dignified and decent manner without going ballistic over the rot in the society. In this process he presents our society to be clean and clear and the only blemish among them are the politicians who are the criminals of the society. In other words Kammula makes us to believe that politicians are a rotten class.
But I beg to differ from Sekhar a bit. The political class are part of the rot in the society and are not the cause of it. Being the law-makers (and also law-breakers often)they have been subject to immense scrutiny and vilifying. I tend to believe that there are still quite few of those die-hard Gandhians who strive for ethics in public life but only that the media and public do not recognise them.
In the process of making the LEADER, Sekhar Kammula must have known that the present system did not fall from the heaven, it just got evolved like this. It is no myth that the corruption in public life is assuming dangerous proportions and it ought to be controlled at the earliest. But bringing out the black money ain’t the solution for this rot. Preventing the corruption from happening should be the motto of the Government policies.
There are quite a few who believe that the root cause of corruption is due to the erstwhile License Raj which brought the BABUS into the foreground and Businessmen who often wanted to do business became the ones to corrupt them. Even with the liberalisation of our economy, the BABU-NETA nexus in fleecing the business community and in turn the common man continues.
What about the BABU-NETA nexus? Why does not LEADER question it? Does Sekhar want to say that politicians are the corrupt class and those who are paying them can be let gone? Kammula ruffles a few feathers with these and tries his best to remain non-controversial.
Nevertheless, LEADER is an engaging and important attempt at politics in telugu cinema. It discusses a few issues honestly and tries to be honest about the solutions.