Leader is a 2010 Telugu political drama film written and directed by Sekhar Kammula marking the acting debut of Rana Daggubati in the lead role, with Richa Gangopadhyay and Priya Anand as the female leads. This film was produced by AVM Productions. The movie opened to rave positive reviews and was a super-hit. It was dubbed into Hindi in the same name as Leader.
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This movie starts off with the assassination of Sanjeevayya (Suman), the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. His last wish is for his son, Arjun Prasad (Rana Daggubati), to become the next Chief Minister. However, Arjun's cousin Dhanunjay (Subbaraju) has his own dreams of becoming the Chief Minister. Arjun is approached by Ali (Harsha Vardhan) who has given 10 Crores to Sanjeevayya to resolve a land dispute in Ali's favour. Arjun finds about his Dad's corruption and his mon, Rajeshwari (Suhasini Maniratnam) validates it while sharing Sanjeevayya's desire for caste-less & corruption less government. Arjun's uncle, Peddaina (Sanjeevayya's elder brother) (Kota Srinivasa Rao) tolerates corruption as long as it helps his family stay in power. Arjun decides to implement his dad's dream and enrolls Ali & News Reporter Ratna(Priya Anand) to quietly win support of his party's MLAs. Arjun bribes his way to win support from MLAs and Ministers and is elected Chief Minister. An angry Dhanunjay attempts to assassinate Arjun and is asked to resign.
Arjun encounters resistance from his own party in his drive to eliminate corruption and plots to win support of Alliance Party leader Munnuswamy's daughter Archana (Richa Gangopadhyay) by making her fall for him. His attempts to woo her is successful and Arjun saves his government while losing Archana's support when she realizes that she has been used. As a condition for Munnuswamy's support, he lets the son of an MLA accused of rape & murder of young tribal girl, go scot free. His mom rebukes his move & warns the step as compromises that leads to corruption. That same night, she dies. Arjun resolves to go ahead with his corruption elimination drive and resigns the same evening while creating sensation in the media for exposing corruption.
Arjun wins the ensuing election after leaving his uncle's party and establishing a new party. His effort wins back Archana's support.
Leader opened to rave reviews from critics. The Times Of India gave a three star rating noting "Another lineage star Rana Daggubati takes his first bow at the Box Office with an inspiring political saga, he puts in a surprisingly mature performance (for a debutant) and shines in his role of a savvy young CEO of an US-based company who turns a conniving politician with effortless ease."
Radhika Rajamani from Rediff also gave a three star rating and said "The film is a relevant take on contemporary politics in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Performance-wise, Sekhar scores. His choice Suhasini as Arjun's mother is good. She brings grace and dignity to her role. An impressive debut, indeed. Richa Gangopadhyay looks pretty and charming. Harshavardhan (who plays Ali) and Priya Anand (Ratna Prabha) are competent in their roles. Mickey J Meyer's music is good too."
Sify explains "The technical aspects of the film are highly impressive with superb cinematography, excellent music and terrific background score. The first half is gripping, giving some promising moments to the audience. But, the second half slips into monotony thanks to the slipshod treatment to the political subject." However it praised the lead performances, saying "Rana has certainly lived up to the expectations of the audiences with his looks and thoroughly trained histrionics." The movie was an average grosser.
The soundtrack has music composed by Mickey J. Meyer. The music was released on 22 November 2009. Lyrics were written by Late Dr. Veturi Sundararamamurthy, Sankarambadi Sundarachari & Rayaprolu Subbarao.