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Analysis Scoop Untold Stories Innerviews Research
Telugu Cinema - Past and Present
- Gudipoodi Srihari
(Exclusive for Idlebrain.com)
Gudipoodi Srihari

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 this film.

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.

To be continued.........
(Next Monday, Sri Gudipoodi Srihari will talk about NAT and the great film of the era)

Click here to read the interview of Sri gudipoodi Srihari

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More to come!
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