There is village called 'Dharmasthali'. There lives a guy
called Manjunatha (Arjun) who hates the Lord Shiva (Chiranjeevi)
and feels that Lord Shiva is a cheater. There is another beautiful
lady Katyayani (Soundarya), who is an ardent devotee of Lord
Shiva. This couple meet with each other on and off in pucca
Raghavendra Rao style.
one night, this couple is forced to stay in a jungle as Katyayani
was wounded. Manjunatha fixes her wound. But the village heads
pass a judgement that Katyayani is no more a respectable lady
and they force her to become a devadasi. Manjunatha
marries her to avoid her becoming a devadasi. Katyayani's
devotion to Lord Shiva irks Manjunatha. Katyayani gives birth
to a kid, with the blessings of Lord Shiva. Even the kid turns
out to be a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva. An irked Manjunatha
slaps the kid and later on realizes the power of Lord Shiva.
is king (Ambarish) in that territory who is also a staunch
devotee of Lord Shiva and he acquires the kaala gnanam
(Knowledge of the time - knowing the future).
visits the Lord Shiva shrine at Dharmastali along with his
family. During his visit, a few bad omens occur. The other
devotees accuse Manjunatha as the cause. King happens to be
there at that place. He asks Manjunatha to prove his innocence
by making all the diyas glow again. Manjunatha sings
the breathless song (Mayakaya Deepam by Shankar Mahadevan
and written by Maharshi Veda Vyasa) and make the diyas
glow. Everybody realizes that Manjunatha is a changed man
and is a greatest devotee of Lord Shiva.
wants to get himself acquitted of all the sins he has made
in the past. He installs a crore of Shiva Lingas in
a place (Dharma Sthali). Lord Shiva visits that place in the
form of old man asks devotee to give him some food. Meanwhile,
old man behaves in such a way that Manjunatah sends him out
without offering food. Manjunatha realizes his mistake later.
But it was too late.
few more gripping incidents, the king felicitates the Manjunatha.
During that time king realizes that Manjunatha is going to
die on that particular day (as king knows kala gnanam).
Manjunatha die? Is premature death the presentation he gets
for all his devotion toward Lord Shiva? You have to watch
this heart-touching climax on the big screen to enjoy this
3-hour long devotional film.
Chiranjeevi acted extraordinarily well as the Lord Shiva in
this film. He looks little obese in this film. The get-ups
of Old man and Aghora are terrific. This film has given an
opportunity to prove his caliber in a various get-ups and
Chiranjeevi grabbed this offer with both hands and proved
his versatility. There is one particular bit of 'Shiva
Tandavam' in the first half of the film. You feel like
watching the real Lord Shiva doing the Tandavam during
I have seen the real caliber of Arjun in the films Gentleman
and Oke Okkadu in the past. This film offers him better scope
than those films to prove himself. He did do a wonderful job
as a changed man. His action in the second half is extremely
good. He makes you cry in the second half with his sensitive
Watching Ambarish in a miniscule, yet important role, in Karnataka
Theater is a different feeling all together. You can find
the crowds from the lower class in the theater go to the screen
and touch his feet whenever he appears on the screen.
Her role is a small one and she did it with ease. She (Parvathi
Devi) shares the honor as wife of Lord Shiva along with Ganga
She acted as the wife of Arjun in this film. Her character
epitomizes the innocence of village girl and devotion of a
great devotee. She did good job.
& direction: K Raghavendra Rao has done a commendable
job as director in this movie. But he could not avoid using
his commercial style in the first half, especially those scenes
which makes a way for the love between Arjun and Soundarya.
His screenplay in the film is impeccable from 20 minutes before
interval to the end of the film. And he knows how the play
with the emotions of the viewers once he gets them in to his
JK Bharavi has done a pretty neat job by selecting a story
that appeal to all the sections like Annamayya.
and Songs: Hamsalekha did wonderful job as the composer
for this film. All the songs are good for listening. On the
screen, the first song (Oho Garala Kantha) and all the songs
in the second half are good. The much-hyped mass song of 'Olammo
Gowrammo' does not impress. Like Keeravani in Annamayya, Hamsalekha
too made the effective use of 'Om' as the backdrop score.
There are rich technical values in this film. Producer Nara
Jaya Sri Devi must be commended for delivering a devotional
film in this cyber age.
First half is little slow in this film. It took one hour for
K Raghavendra Rao to take the entire audiences into his narrative
grip. Once he has the audiences spellbound, there is no looking
back. He takes us through a journey till the heart-touching
climax by making the best use of the histrionics of Chiranjeevi,
Arjun and other actors. We have to wait and see how the audiences
of Andhra Pradesh would hog onto this devotional film.
Sri Manjunatha Links