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Showing posts from July, 2009

Sati Savitri (1933)

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Synopsis: Aswapathi, a Prince, ruling over the kingdom of Madra. For years after his Royal Wedding with Queen Malavi, hid did not have a child. He thereupon invoked Savitri, his favourite deity, and through her grace, he had a daughter who bore the same name as the goddess. As years went by, Savitri was always playing in the palace and in the forest with her companion Vasanthika. 
One day her pet deer escaped into the forest, both Savitri and Vasanthika ran after the creature but found that she was held and kept in captivity by Prince Satyavanta, son of king Dyumatsena. Savitri then recalled the features of the young man whom she saw in the dream. Eventually she got her deer back but could not forget Satyavanta. She made a portrait of her beloved, and was worshiping it daily.
In the meantime her parents anxiously contemplating her marriage when Narada paid a visit to them and strongly prevailed upon them to have a matrimonial alliance with Satyavanta. The marriage was celebrated with al…

Ramadasu (1933)

Cast: Arani Satyanarayana (Ramadasu), Ghantasala Radhakrishnayya (Kabir Das), Nellore Naga Raja Rao (Tanisha), K. Srinivasa Chary (Dharmakartha), Venkata Subbayya (Ahamak), Ghantasala Seshayya (Srirama), MS Ranga Rao (Lakshmana), Saraswathi (Kamalamba), Rampapa (Sitara Begam)
Cinematography: Krishna Gopal
Audiography: RC Wilman, CN Nigam
Director: Akhtar Nawaz
Banner: East India Film Company (Culcutta)
Trivia: This was based on Dharmavaram Gopalacharya's stage play 'Ramadasu'.

Prithvi Putra (1933)

Cast: Kalyanam Raghu Ramaiah, Parupalli Satyanarayana, Surabhi Kamalabai
Director: Pothina Srinivasa Rao
Banner: Saraswati Movietone
Notes: The first cinema hall in Andhra Pradesh was Maruthi Talkies in Bezawada constructed by Pothina Srinivasa Rao in 1921. This theatre was inaugurated on October 23 that year. The theatre still exists. It was the beginning of the birth of cinema theatres. The first talkie ever made in India, Alam Ara, was first released in this theatre. It enjoyed such a pride of place that all the films made at Bombay and at other production centers were first released in Maruthi Talkies, along with their release in Bombay. Srinivasa Rao also turned producer-director with his film titled Prithvi Putra in 1933, under his own banner Saraswathi Movietone. He was also the film's script writer.

Chintamani (1933)

Synopsis: Chintamani was based on the legendary story of a Sanskrit poet and devotee of Lord Krishna named Bilwamangal. Bilwamangal (Pulipati), a resident of Varanasi, was a Sanskrit scholar, who gets infatuated towards a courtesan called Chintamani (Ramatilakam), a woman of ill-fame. As a result he deserts his wife. However, Chintamani is an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna and spends most of her time singing bhajans in praise of Lord Krishna. His attraction towards Chintamani eventually draws Bilwamangal closer towards Lord Krishna and transforms his life forever. Bilwangal, himself, becomes a devotee of Lord Krishna and pens a monumental Sanskrit work Sri Krishna Karnamritam.
Cast: Pulipati Venkateswarlu, Ramatilakam
Director: Kallakoori Sadasiva Rao
Banner: Madan Studios

Shakuntala (1932)

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Cast: Yadavalli Suryanarayana (Dushyanth), Surabhi Kamalabai (Shakuntala), Bakurupanda Venkata Rao, Nellore Naga Raja Rao
Director: Sarvottam Badami
Banner: Select Pictures Circuit (Bangalore)
Notes: Surabhi Kamala Bai played the protagonist's role in Bhakta Prahlada - the first Telugu talkie. But how many of us know she was born on stage while her mother Leelavati, a veteran theatre artiste, was giving a performance. Leelavati was playing the character of a pregnant woman, and the crowd for a moment thought Kamala's birth was part of the play. Elated as they were, they threw coins while the pregnant mother actually wreathed in pain.

Sri Rama Paduka Pattabhishekamu (1932)

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Cast: Yadavalli Suryanarayana(Rama), Surabhi Kamalabai (Sita), Bakurapanda Venkata Rao (Bharata), P. Ramatilakam, Nellore Nagaraja Rao
Producer: Chunnibhai Desai
Director: Sarvottam Badami
Banner: Select Pictures Circuit
Release Date: 24 November

Bhakta Prahlada (1931)

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Bhakta Prahlada is the first Telugu talkie movie made in 1931 by H.M. Reddy, a pioneer in Indian film industry. It is a classic mythological drawn from the Vishnu Purana. Prahlada, the son of the demon Hiranya Kasipa (Subbaiah), defies his father and worships Vishnu. He is imprisoned but Vishnu protects him.
Cast: Munipalle Venkata Subbaiah or V.V. Subba Rao (Hiranya Kasipa), Krishna Rao (Prahlada), Surabhi Kamalabai (Leelavathi), L.V. Prasad (friend of Prahlada), Doraswami Naidu (Indra), Chitrapu Narasimha Rao (Brahma and Chandamarka), BV Subba Rao
Story: Dharmavaram Krishnamacharyulu
Music: H.R. Padmanabha Sastri
Lyrics: Chandala Kesavadasu
Cinematography: Govardhanbhai Patel
Producer: Manikyalal Seth
Director: H.M. Reddy
Banner: Bharat Movietone (Sri Krishna Film Company)
Budget: Rs. 20,000
Duration: 108 mts.
Release Date: 15 September 1931
Trivia: Valluru Venkata Subba Rao (V.V. Subba Rao) was born in Munipalle near Ponnur. So, later he called as Munipalle Subbaiah. He took highest remunerati…

Bhoja Kalidasa (1940)

Cast: Parepalli Subba Rao (Bhojudu), Addanki Srirama Murthy (Kalidasu), Kannamba
Director: Hanumappa Viswantha Babu

Vara Vikrayam (1939)

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Synopsis: The story was about a middle class revenue inspector, a Gandhian Punyamurthula Purushothama Rao (Daita Gopalam), his wife Bhramaramba (Sr. Sriranjani) and their two daughters - Kalindi (Bhanumathi) and Kamala (Pushpavalli). Rao was against giving dowry. But he was forced to sell his ten acre rice field to pay dowry to marry off his elder daughter Kalindi to Basavaraju (Kocharlakota Satyanarayana) adopted son of Singaraju Lingaraju (Balijepalli Lakshmikantha Kavi). Marriage brokers Pellilla Perayya (Peri Ramachandra Murthy) and Vivahala Veerayya (J. Satyanarayana) con with Lingaraju to make Rao agree to pay the dowry. Upset that her marriage would leave her parents penniless, the sensitive Kalindi commits suicide by jumping into the well.
Lingaraju refuses to return the dowry money even though the marriage was not performed. Kamala who is more assertive decides to teach a lesson to Lingaraju. She agrees to marry his son much against the wish of her father. After the marriage, …

Chandika (1940)

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Cast: Bellari Raghava, Kannamba, Peddapuram Raju, Puvvula Ratnamala, Vemuri Gaggaiah, Arani Satyanarayana, Lalita Devi
Writer: Muttaneni Venkata Chenna Kesavulu
Music: Kopparapu Subba Rao
Cinematographer: Kamal Ghosh
Producer: Mirjapuram Raja
Director: R.S. Prakash
Banner: Bhavani Pictures

Mahananda (1939)

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Cast: Addanki Srirama Murthy, C. Krishnaveni, Kannamba, Parupalli Subba Rao
Director: Dronamraju China Kameswara Rao Producer: Mirjapuram Raja
Banner: Jaya Films

Grihalakshmi (1938)

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Synopsis: The film tells of the decadent dancer, Madhuri (Kanchanmala), who seduces the upright Dr. Krishna Rao (Ramanujachari) into leaving his good wife Radha (Kannamba). The doctor becomes an alcoholic and is framed for the murder of Vishwasa Rao, the trustee of his father's estate. Krishna Rao's brother-in-law Gopinath (Nagaiah) helps the hero and later offers shelter to a destitute Radha. Radha has a scuffle with Madhuri, falls down the stairs and becomes mentally unbalanced, ending up waling the streets of Madras denouncing god, truth and justice.
Cast: Chittooru V. Nagaiah (Gopinath), Kannamba (Radha), Kanchanamala (Madhuri), Gauripathy Sastry (Prachanda Sastry), Ramanujachari (Dr. Krishna), Govindarajula Subbarao (Ramlal Seth), Sarala (Santhi), Rohini (Rohini), MC Raghavan (Viswasa Rao), Koteswara Rao (Rama Rao), Kanthamma (Manikyam), Anjanibai (Ganga), Doraswamy (Prosecutor), Hanumantha Rao (Advocate), Nagabhushanam (Judge), Appalaswamy, Jagadeesan
Story and Lyrics: Sam…

Kanaka Tara (1937)

Cast: Dommeti Suryanarayana (Kroorasena), Kannamba (Kamala), Kamala Kumari (Tara), Arani Satyanarayana (Pratap), P. Suribabu (Sadhu), Manjari (Manjari), Sivalenka Basavayya Sastry (Udayasena), M. Durga Prasad (Kanakasena), Veerraju (Vimala), Hemalatha (Radhabai), Chitra (Ratnabai), Gangarathnam (Elli), Anjanibai (Pushpa), Subbulu (Champa), Elisetty Satyanarayana (Dheemantha), K. Hemambara Das (Ramjetti), MC Raghavan (Durjaya), Kumpatla Subba Rao (Malligadu), K. Narasimha Murthy (Veerapala), KV Krishnayya Chowdary (Soorapala), Bhanu Prasad Singh (Bhilla), K. Nagabhushanam (Matimantha)
Story: Chandala Kevasa Das
Dialogues and Lyrics: Samudrala Raghavacharya
Music: Bhimavarapu Narasimha Rao
Cinematography: DB Chawan
Editing: BR Barodkar
Art: OR Embaraiah
Director: Hanumappa Vishwanatha Babu
Banner: Saraswathi Talkies Ltd.
Trivia: This is the first folklore movie in Telugu.
This was based on Chandala Kesava Das's stage play 'Kanaka Tara'.
This was debut movie of Samudrala Raghavacharya…

Sarangadhara (1937)

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Cast: Banda Kanakalingeswara Rao (Sarangadhara), P. Santha Kumari (Chitrangi), Sr. Sriranjani (Rathnangi), Addanki Sri Ramamurthy (Raja Raja Narendra), Pulipati Venkateswarlu (Subuddhi), Kochcharlakota (Matimantha), Balamani (Chandrasena), Ramudu (Hema)
Dialogues: Tapi Dharma Rao
Lyrics and Verses: Vemuri Sundara Ramaiah Sharma
Music: Maruthi Seetharamaiah and Akula Narasimha Rao
Cinematography: RA Kambale
Art: TVS Sharma
Producer: Ramaiah
Director: P. Pullaiah
Banner: Star Combines
Trivia: Not just in the stage play, Santha Kumari acted in the movie Sarangadhara (1937), during which time the director of the movie P. Pullaiah fell in love with her. They eventually married the same year. Santha Kumari played a negative role of Chitrangi with equal √©lan.
This was the debut film for Pullaiah as a director.

Draupadi Vastrapaharanam (1936)

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Synopsis: Arjuna arrives at Dwaraka and invites Sri Krishna fro Dharmaraja's Rajasuya Yagna. Nakula goes to Hastinapura and invites Kauravas for the Yagna. All the kings of Bharata varsha arrived at Indraprastha for the Yagna.
After performing Yagna, Dharmaraja is accordance with advises of Bheeshma and Narada, goes to offer Agra Pooja to Lord Sri Krishna. Sushupala contradicting the superiority of Krishna deliberately accuses him before the assembly of Kshatriya Princes. Krishna, conscious of the lapse of time for pardoning Sushupala's hundred faults, severs his head with Sudarsana Chakra.
Duryodhana is very much prejudiced at the inestimable reputation achieved by Pandavas. His malice is enhanced when he enters the mysterious Maya Sabha and by accident strikes his head against the wall and again when he falls into the water which appears to him as floor. Bheema's mockery together with Draupadi's laughter fanned the infuriating fire of Duryodhan's averice.
Duryodh…

Harischandra (1935)

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Cast: Addanki Srirama Murthy (Harischandra), Kannamba (Chandramati), Bheema Rao (Lohitasya), Pulipati Venkateswarlu (Nakshatrakudu), Bandaru Naidu, Akula Narasimha Rao
Story, Dialogues and Lyrics: Balijepalli Lakshmikanta Kavi
Music: BG Temble, Kha Sahib Burjikhaw
Director: T.A. Raman
Banner: Star Combines Ltd.
Trivia: It was made with a budget of Rs. 1 lakh and take six months to make.
Noted director P. Pullaiah worked for this film as assistant director.

Seetha Kalyanam (1934)

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Synopsis: Viswamitra is preparing for the performance of a great Yaga for the peace and prosperity of mankind. While he sits meditating, to carry it through successfully, as any such attempts were spoiled by Rakshasas who completely invest the neighbouring forests and wreck all such attempts, he finds great many Rishis horely-harassed by the evil deeds of Ravana and his minions are praying to the Lord Vishnu to free from their troubles. Vishnu appears before them and comforts them that he has already incarnated himself as the son of Dasaratha and he would surely end their troubles. Viswamitra has seen his own vision and starts to Ayodhya seeking the aid of Rama.
Dasaratha is in his durbar when Viswamitra enters and asks the support of Rama for defending his Yaga against the Rakshas. Dasaratha at first unwilling to send his son but on the advice of Vasishta he allows Viswamitra to take Rama and with him Lakshmana also. In their journey to Yagasala they meet the she-demon Thataki and Ra…

Bhagya Chakram (1968)

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Cast: NT Rama Rao, B. Saroja Devi, Rajanala, Padmanabham, Mukkamala, Linga Murthy, Vadlamani Viswanatham, PJ Sharma, Peketi Sivaram, Seetharam, Jagga Rao, Chalam, Surabhi Balasaraswathi, Geethanjali, Rushyendramani, Jyothi Lakshmi, Kanakam, Prabhavathi, Kakinada Rajaratjam, Baby Mallika
Dialogues and Lyrics: Pingali Nagendra Rao
Screenplay: KV Reddy
Playback: Ghantasala, P. Susheela, LR Eshwari, Madhavapeddi Satyam, Swarnalatha, Pithapuram Nageswara Rao
Music: Pendyala Nageswara Rao
Cinematography: Kamal Ghosh, KS Prasad
Editing: Vasu
Art: Gokhale
Fights: Syamsundar
Choreography: Pasumarthi Krishna Murthy
Makeup: Peethambaram, Veerraju
Costumes: TN Rama Murthy, MA Rahman
Publicity Designs: SV Chalapathi Rao
Producer: PS Reddy
Direction: KV Reddy
Banner: Jayanthi Pictures
Release Date: 13 September
Songs:1. Aasa niraasanu chesitiva - Ghantasala
2. Vaana kaadu vaana kaadu varadaa raajaa - P. Susheela
3. Kunda kaadu kunda kaadu -
4. Mana swaami naamam
5. Neethoti vega lenu
6. Neevu leka nimushamainaa
7. …

Uma Chandi Gowri Shankarula Katha (1968)

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Cast: NT Rama Rao, B. Saroja Devi, Relangi, Padmanabham, Ramana Reddy
Story and Dialogues: Pingali Nagendra Rao
Screenplay: KV Reddy
Lyrics: Pingali Nagendra Rao
Music: Pendyala Nageswara Rao
Cinematography: Madhav Bulbule
Art: Gokhale, Kaladhar
Choreography: Pasumarthi Krishna Murthy
Producer and Director: KV Reddy
Banner: Vijaya Productions
Release Date: 11 January
Trivia: Vijaya Productions is one of the pioneers in Telugu cinema in terms of content, conceptualization and execution. KV Reddy directed 5 movies under this banner. While Nagi Reddy and Chakrapani produced all the movies except Jagadeka Veeruni Katha, Satya Harischandra and Uma Chandi Gowri Shankarula Katha; KV Reddy produced these three along with directing them.
This movie, along with the other flop in this combination in 1965, Satya Harischandra, signified the end of KV Reddy era.

Satya Harschindra (1965)

Satya Harischandra was an important role for NTR to fill in the variety of characters (especially mythological) that he played-even if it did not do well. SV Ranga Rao was asked to play the role of Viswamitra, which he rejected-having played Satya Harischandra himself in the hit film of a still bygone era [1956]. This 1965 release with NTR, unfortunately, bombed at the BO and was compared to SVR's Harischandra which the viewers seemed to prefer over the new and novel version. Relangi, who played Nakshatrudu in the previous Harischandra movie, played Kala Kaushikudu in this one.
The earlier two Satya Harischandra movies that came out had the very same dialogues and songs, so being what he is, KV Reddy decided to try new dialogues and lyrics with the old, old play.The movie bombed, shocking the production house so used to blockbusters and consistent, if not constant success. The familiar territory that the popular play tread on was gone, and the novelty did not strike a chord with t…