Saturday, April 14, 2007
Gundamma katha: A must watch for gults
My dad always used to tell me that "Gundamma Katha" is one of the greatest movies ever made in Telugu Cinema. I never believed him when I was a kid. Now, after more than a decade of his passing away, I would like to reach out and tell him I really liked the movie. I watched it a week ago, and I was reminded of my dad so much. The movie is an excellent depiction of the social settings of the late sixties in AP. I was also surprised at the extent to which Telugu Cinema was integrated with world entertainment. Although, Chevy Impalas and western suits were used by actors, morals and ethics dominated the story line and family values were always at the forefront.
Those were the days when cinema was an efficient and effective way of bringing about social change. Great artists dominated the cinescape with their personalities that seemed to be bigger than their on screen roles. Good things they said on screen were more than dialogues and the masses looked upto these artists for their own moral and ethical code. Nothing wrong as long as responsible people were involved in making movies. I pity the state of Telugu cinema in particular which is smitten more by shock value, entertainment and cheap gimmicks. Even if a rare movie does address some key issues in society, they are mostly shoddy treatments. If there is anything that I am ashamed of the Telugu culture right now - it our cinema. Almost all story lines depict a combination vengeance, teenage love, and romance. Cinema has moved away from being normative to being surrealistic and a loss to social welfare in that sense.
My dad was a big fan of SV Ranga Rao, a stalwart in Telugu Cinema. The man was known for his booming voice, excellent portrayal of some of the toughest roles in telugu cinema. My dad resembled SVR a little and in fact played a few mythological roles on theater, those that SVR had donned.
I still remember standing backstage and watch my dad play Bheema, in the scene from Manabharatha when Draupadi was shamed in the Kaurava court. I also remember my dad donning the costume of Lord Yama, in the play Harishchandra. I have vivid memories of his talent on the stage.