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Malliswari (1951)
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BN Reddy holds a special place in the history of Telugu Cinema. He is the director who balances artistic values and business needs in the right proportion. Though critics rate 'Sumangali' and 'Swargaseema' as BN Reddy's best films, he thinks 'Malliswari' is his career best.

"When I went to Hampi to shoot my first film 'Vandemataram' in 1939, I was deeply attracted to Sri Krishna Devarayalu", BN Reddy fondly recalls. I wanted to make a film on Sri Krishna Devaraya. Years passed by. But I could not get the right story. Fortunately, 'Malliswari' happened. I think it is the best movie I have directed', he adds.

Songs of 'Malliswari' coupled with the heavenly expressions of Bhanumathi clicked in a big way. The art work by AK Sekhar is commendable. Bhanumathi commemorates "BN Reddy is a great thinker. He injected all his childhood memories into the character of 'Nagaraju' in Malliswari. Can we afford to forget the songs 'kothibavaku pellanta', 'preme neramouna' and 'o meghamala'?"

Bhanumati acted as a vamp in the earlier film of BN Reddy, 'Swargaseema'. She attained the status of superstar at the time of Malliswari shooting. NTR was on a slippery wicket at that time. But it was BN Reddy's confidence in NTR that did the trick. He feels that the pair of Bhanumati and NTR is the best one.

During the production of 'Malliswari', there was a slight misunderstanding between BN Reddy and Bhanumathi. Bhanumathi used to be a little irregular as she was busy with her own production (Prema) work. At one point of time BN Reddy wanted to replace Bhanumathi with a new face called 'Revathi'.

We can get a glimpse of Revathi in one particular song in Malliswari ... 'PoyiRavamma'. Probably he would have thought that Revathi could not match Bhanumati in performance. Though its difficult to him, he was forced to work with Bhanumathi. Bhanumathi never holds back from criticizing BN Reddy that he want his actress to stick to his film and he do not his heroines to get married.

The photographer for the film 'Malliswari' is Konda Reddy, the younger brother of BN Reddy.

Malliswari has gone places and got heavily screened in abroad. BN Reddy wanted to dub this film into English. Due to budget considerations, he could not do it. BN Reddy expired in 1977.

Source: 'Alanati Chalana Chitram' by KNT Sastry (published by Cinema Group)
Read 'Pathala Bhairavi' and Missamma.
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