'Veera Telangana' goes back in time to capture the historic struggle by farmers.

His commitment to progressive cinema is total and unquestionable. He is perhaps the only filmmaker who has made all his films based on the ideology that he has strongly believed. Actor, writer, director, producer and music director R. Narayana Murthy is celebrating his silver jubilee year as a producer in a grand manner by bringing to celluloid a subject close to his heart, Veera Telangana. This will be his 22nd production under Sneha Chitra banner. Most of the actors are newcomers and hail from Telangana region. Murthy played the revolutionary ballad singer yadagiri famous for his lyric, bandenka bandi katti… that reverberated throughout the region in 1944-50 during the Telangana farmers' armed struggle.

“The story dates back to that period when the Telangana farmers uprising, spearheaded by the Communist Party of India, took place in which about 3,500 villages participated and about 4000 people became martyrs. The struggle is to get their land back, to have a square meal and to liberate themselves from bonded labour. As a result of the armed struggle, about 10 lakh acres of land was distributed to the landless. Ironically, they could not get the land pattas.

“Under the Nizam rule, Doras, Deshmukhs, jagirdars, zamindars, Patels and Patwaris wielded power. On September 15, 1947, when the Nizam surrendered to the Union army, these Doras to Patwaris changed their colours and caps. They wore Gandhi caps and the Union army handed over the hard-won land by the poor farmers to the landlords. This is the genesis of the plight of a Telangana farmer that we are witnessing even today, after over 60 years after Independence. His life did not change for the better. In fact it has become worse. For this film, I have taken incidents that happened between 1944 and 1950,” said Narayana Murthy.

He has shot the film in locations where the historic struggle took place — in Warangal, Nalgonda, Karim Nagar and Khammam districts. “We shot some poignant scenes at a place called Bhairapalle where 68 people were decimated by the Razakars. It is as heinous as the Jallianwala bagh massacre. After a thorough research on the subject, I faithfully filmed the happenings without deviations,” he muses and then continues, “Like Gandhi for Richard Attenborough and The Legend of Bhagath Singh for Raj Kumar Santhoshi, for me it will be Veera Telangana,” he concludes.

Music plays a major part in his films and Murthy himself has composed tunes to the lyrics of ‘praja kavulu' — Suddala Hanumanthu, Yadagiri, Guda Anjaiah, Nandini Siddha Reddy, Nernela Kishore, R. Narasayya, Kotada Srinivas, Yepudi Somanna and Yashpal. Y.S. Krishneswara Rao wrote the dialogues, G. Chiranjeevi handled the camera while Mohan Rama Rao edited the film.

Some of the major characters include Nagendra (played by Shake Bandagi) who dragged the dora to court but was killed. Chakali Ailamma (Karim Nagar Sujatha) hailed as the Veera Nari she led the uprising in Karimnagar area. Thanu Naik (Vangapandu Prasad), Shoib Ullah Khan (Rama Rao) editor of a daily Imrose he fought against the Nizam rule and was killed by Razakars. Gottimukkala Gopal Reddy (Vijay from Warangal), Renigunta (Telangana) Rami Reddy (BHEL Prasad), a nationalist who promoted an armed force to fight the Razakars and Doddi Komarayya (played by Kishore).

Veera Telangana comes at a time when period films have become rare in Telugu cinema. The film is slated to release in June.