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Swapna Sundari (1950)
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to Feel Nostalgic

Ghantasala Balaramaiah's way of directing film is totally different. If you forget the 'Pratibha' part in his direction, the Pratibha Banner's 'Swapna Sundari' is a magical tour into the unexplored vintage world. We get a feeling that directors of the new millennium are following the trend of Balaramaiah.

The most fascinating part of Swapna Sundari is the sensuality of G Vara Laxmi that challenged the feminine beauty of Anjali Devi. When Siva Rao and Akkineni were taking rest, Anjali Devi appears in the dreams of Akkineni by signing 'Misamisalade O Yavvanam .. O Paradesi'. Then Akkineni decides to search for Anjali. When Sivaram brush the whole affair as trash, Akkineni decides not to stop his search for Anjali. In that process he happened to get seduced by the heavenly beauty of G Vara Laxmi who bumps into him while hunting a deer. At the end the director makes sure that he do not fall in love with Vara Laxmi and married Anjali Devi. (Did we not observe this story line in 'Pelli Sandadi'?)

When Anjali is having a nice time singing and dancing to the songs like 'Nee Sari Neevele' and 'Choodachakkani Vaada ...' in Bhoolokam, she was forced to abandon her passport as a resident of 'Devalokam' and was forced to live as apsara in 'Manava Lokam. (Remember Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari?)

Vedantam Raghavaiah is the dance director for this film. Later on he produced an epic called 'Suvarna Sundari'. This 'Swapna Sundari' must have inspired him in choosing the story line and treatment. In Suvarna Sundari Akkineni was forced to become a women(played by Raja Sulochana).

Swapna Sundari falls in the prey of a 'Mantrikudu'. Incidentally in the same year(1950) another film with 'Mantrikudu', Pathala Bhairavi was released. And 'Bala Nagamma' is the mother of all 'Mantrukudu' films. Mukkamala who donned the role of 'Mantrikudu' in swapnasundari is the devotee of 'Kama Vardini' goddess. When Mukkamala traps Anjali in this den, Akkineni managed to get rid of the spelling cast of G Vara Laxmi. He reaches the house of 'Pedarasi Peddamma'. After seeking information from her, he manages to go through three story versions of 'Vikramarkuni Katha', 'Kambhoju Raju Katha' and 'Arabian Knights'. And at the end Akkineni manages to reach the den of Mukkamala. The movie ends with Akkineni killing Mukkamala and saving Anjali Devi. G Varalaxmi gets killed by Mukkamala in this process.

This film sports memorable songs like 'Rangaa Bangaaru Prema .. Ee swapna Seema', Nijamaaye Kalaa .. Nijamaye Kalaaa', EE Seema Velasina Haayi', 'O Swapna Sundari .. Ninu Kaanaga Naitinigaa', 'Aaagani Vegame Jeevitam' etc.

More than the direction of Ghantasal Bala Ramaiah, histrionics by ANR, Anjali, G Vara Laxmi, Siva Ram, its the music of Subbarayan and the voice of Ghantasala and R Bala Saraswati that lingers in the hearts of the viewers for ever.

(PS: Check out the sequence of cast in the poster image above. Can you read in between lines?)

Source: 'Alanati Chalana Chitram' by KNT Sastry (published by Cinema Group)

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