NOTA movie cast: Vijay Devarakonda, Nassar, Sathyaraj
NOTA movie director: Anand Shankar
NOTA movie ratings: 2 stars
What is it about Indian filmmakers and their fascination with London-bred heroes? Director Anand Shankar could have picked any other European country on the world map, but he has chosen London as the hero’s second hometown in his new film NOTA. Like the British Raj, V Varun (Vijay Devarakonda) comes to India for a temporary stay but settles down here permanently to rule one of the country’s states. Is growing up or even studying in London enough to be a leader in India?
Anand’s NOTA plot overlaps with director Koratala Siva’s Bharat Ane Nenu, which also followed the story of a prodigal son who returns from London. Like Varun, even Bharat was also in a hurry to leave India for London. But, they both are forced to take up the responsibility of a state government in their father’s stead. But, the similarities between the two films stop right there. NOTA has one up on Bharat Ane Nenu as it has more substance.
Unlike Bharat Ane Nenu, the film is not reduced to a hero-worshipping exercise. Koratala’s Bharat was quite pompous and far removed from the reality. He was quite convinced that he could just solve the most complex and systemic problems of the country with just a snap of his finger. But, Anand takes a very grounded approach to tell the story of his hero, Varun. Anand gives Varun one crisis after another, pushes him into the political mess, makes him grapple with political con artists and gets him to play dirty.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Vinodhan (Nassar) heeding to the advice of a corrupt godman forces his son Varun into politics. Varun is presented to us as a man with a golden heart. So, what if he drinks heavily and then takes the car out for a spin? It doesn’t make him a bad fella. It just makes him more desirable to the young audience and Anand understands it.