Continued from the part 4:
This year also witnessed unhealthy competition between producers,
who resorted to making two films on the same subject. They were
LAKSHMAMMA of Sobhanachala, directed by Gopichand and SRI LAKSHMAMMA
KATHA of Pratibha, directed by Ghantasala Balaramayya. The former
featured Ch.Narayana Rao and Krishnaveni in lead roles while in
the latter ANR and Anjali figured in similar roles. But the latter
film fared better at box office. Vijaya's `PATALA BHAIRAVI' made
in 1951, gave a real break to NTR. He attained star image with
Vauhini banner gave a number of enchanting films, under the chairmanship
of Moola Narayana Swamy. It was constructed under the supervision
of B.N.Reddi. The first film made was Vandemataram (1947) directed
by B.N.Reddi. MALLEESWARI in the year 1951 was another good film
directed by him. It was a musical too. B.N's other directorial
ventures included 'Swargaseema', 'Devata', 'Sumangali', 'Bangaru
Papa', 'Bangaru Panjaram', 'Rajamakutam' and 'Rangula Ratnam'.
The last mentioned introduced Chandramohan.
In parallel, K.V.Reddi began making films for Vauhini. From him
came 'Pothana', 'Vemana' and 'Pedda Manushulu'. And then he made
under Vijaya banner of Nagireddi and Chakrapani combination, 'Patala
Bhairavi', 'Gunasundari Katha', 'Maya Bazar' (in Telugu and Tamil),
'Jagadekaveeruni Katha', 'Harischandra', 'Uma- Chandi-Gowri',
most of which earned big money for Vijaya. GUNASUNDARI KATHA was
an experiment by itself with Kasturi Siva Rao, a comedian, as
hero. It clicked and made good profits.
Nagireddi and Chakrapani acquired Vauhini studios on lease and
produced SHAOCARU (1950) under Vijaya Productions banner. L.V.Prasad
was its director. This film gave a good break to another stalwart
of Telugu cinema S.V.Ranga Rao. Janaki was introduced to Telugu
screen and is still known as 'Shaocar Janaki'. As part of their
new venture Vijaya booked NTR, Ranga Rao, Sriranjani, Padmanabham
Balakrishna, K.V.S.Sarma, Chadalavada, Vallam Narasimha Rao, Sriranjani
and many more as permanent artistes on contract basis. PATALA
BHAIRAVI not only gave fillip to NTR's artistic career but also
made big money for Vijaya. MALLEESWARI directed by B.N.Reddi and
made under the banner of Vauhini was also released in the same
year. Though the film did not do good business, it earned name
to the director and technicians. It stands out as a monumental
musical in Telugu cinema. B.N.Reddi told me that the film made
some money in its second run. The combination of lyric writer
Devulapalli Krishna Sastry, music composer S.Rajeswara Rao and
singers Ghantasala and Bhanumathi was at its best.
The production number began mounting and in 1952 as many as 26
films was released. But most of them were flops. Tatineni Prakasa
Rao, who became full-fledged director this year, handled PALLETOORU
of Peoples Art Productions. It was a big hit. Vijaya productions
`PELLICHESI CHOODU', directed by L.V.Prasad, was also a successful
entertainer. The other events this year were launching of own
banner, by Mukkamala Krishnamurthy, well-known character actor,
particularly for villains roles and production of DASI with Lakshmirajyam
as producer. Vinoda produced its maiden venture PREMA.
But DEVADAS, made under Vinoda banner is still considered to be
one of the best films made in Indian cinema. It not only earned
name for ANR, but also for Savitri and C.S.R. It created box office
history and continued to make money in its repeat releases. Subbaraman's
music score and Ghantasala's rendition made the film a great musical.
Ravu Balasaraswati also rendered some immortal songs. The lyrical
quality also arrested the attention of the knowledgeable. Most
of them sound abstract, but carry specific meaning - particularly
the songs 'Jagame maya' and 'Kudi Yedamaite'. The lyrics sound
a different brand of their own.
Bhanumathi made CHANDIRANI in three languages - Telugu, Tamil
and Hindi- simultaneously and directed it, besides playing title
role. Thus she is regarded as first woman director of Telugu cinema.
Music score was also hers. This year introduced Kamalakara Kameswara
Rao as director with his maiden venture - not so successful CHANDRAHARAM.
But he steadily grew.
Prajanatya Mandali laid roots for powerful social plays and through
it, many talented artistes emerged. Dr.Garikapati Raja Rao was
one of its founders. He used to run a theatre and when he launched
a film titled PUTTILLU, he introduced Jamuna, great actress. Many
Praja Natyamandali artistes also joined the main stream of cinema,
w ho included Devika, Allu Ramalingaiah, music composers Mohandas
and T.Chalapati Rao, choreographer Venugopal, writers Sunkara
Satyanarayana and Vasireddi Bhaskara Rao, noted burrakatha artiste
Nazer 'Puttillu' is remembered for good performances and for introduction
of talented persons. Ghantasala tried his hand at film production.
But the resultant product PAROPAKARAM, like its title, helped
others only, but not the producer.
(Next Monday, Sri Gudipoodi Srihari will talk about NAT
and the great film of the era)
here to read the interview of Sri gudipoodi Srihari