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George Reddy movie review: A timely film about student activism

George Reddy movie review: A timely film about student activism

George Reddy movie cast: Sandeep Madhav, Muskaan Khubchandani
George Reddy movie director: B Jeevan Reddy
George Reddy movie rating: 3 stars

George Reddy is based on the life and times of slain student leader George Reddy, who led a revolutionary movement on the campus of famous Osmania University in Hyderabad. He was tragically killed by his rivals when he was just 25. A very promising and inspiring life came to an abrupt end on April 14, 1972. Director B Jeevan Reddy’s film, which is set nearly 50 years ago, feels just as relevant today.

This film comes in the wake of protests led by students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) against the government’s proposed fee hike. The scenes where police cut the electricity supply, use excessive force to disperse the procession of students and the ensuing commotion bear an eerie resemblance to the visuals of JNU protests that we saw on news channels.

In 2019, the Telugu film industry saw a spike in the number of biopics. All most all biopics that came out this year mythologised their subjects. But, Jeevan Reddy, who has also written the film, steers clear of making a mythical figure out of George Reddy. He only humanizes the character taking some creative liberties.

Born in Kerala, George Reddy (Sandeep Madhav) grows up inspired by the struggles and teachings of Bhagat Singh and Che Guevara. And when he steps into Osmania University, he can’t help but take a stand against the prevailing discrimination based on social class.

Even as this film is about George Reddy, we get very little of George Reddy, at least by the standards of Telugu biopics that came out this year. We don’t see other characters indulging in adulation. Nor do we get many punchlines and build-up shots presenting him as a larger-than-life human being. Like a documentary, we learn about his life in parts from characters that knew him. The protagonist is portrayed in a way that indicates that he is daring and fearless and yet self-effacing. This approach has allowed the filmmaker to throw light on other issues faced by other students. That said, the way Jeevan has tackled the subject is not completely effective. It has its flaws. For example, forcing a romantic angle into the narration with Maya (Muskaan Khubchandani). She craves for George’s attention, and she never gets it. George is busy pursuing his aspirations. An idealistic and ambitious hero and an unambitious heroine is an overused trope.

Cinematographer Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti’s camera effortlessly captures the length and breadth of the sprawling university giving us a visually satisfying film. The film has interesting action sequences. In particular, the fireball fight is visually appealing. George Reddy was a tough guy who can solve a complicated math problem. That’s a combination we are used to seeing in the make-believe world of movies. But, to know a man like that existed in real life, is quite inspiring.