We get to see many directors making films on social issues sans commercial ingredients knowing well that it will not have a decent box office run. These films are clearly made with an objective to get awards. Chaduvukovali is one such movie with a single line theme of achieving complete literacy in the State. Though it is a noble intention, the director could have clearly conveyed his mind in one hour making it a sensible watch; but just to make it a feature film and give it a theatrical release, he stretches a simple premise into a two-hour movie filling with umpteen group dances and songs on education and the country.
The introduction scene has 11-year-old Seeta (Anne) doing the dishes and washing her father’s clothes. She lost her mother when she was a baby and she grows up doing all the domestic work and cooking for her father and even works elsewhere to feed both of them. She is constantly asking her father to send her to school and he refuses citing a flimsy reason that his grandfather and himself did not go to study and education is of no use. This particular scene has a commentary that sums up the entire story of the little girl wanting to study and become a collector. The rest is just enacting the plot and the director fills up the drama with inconsequential comedy by Tagubothu Ramesh and a lad dancing to Mahesh Babu’s popular numbers from films. None of them have any connection with the story and spoil the seriousness in the content.
After Seeta gets through IAS exams with distinction, the teacher does not exult; it is a simple smile and a congratulation from her as if she is tired of wishing her for standing first from standard VII onwards. There is a parallel plot of another child who blackmails his parents for money and movies and plays truant from school.
Finally, the film ends with the collector achieving 100 percent literacy in her district and goading all the officers to spare one hour for educating children and thanking her teacher for helping her reach an enviable place in the society. Cinematography is the only asset in the film. Though the film is preachy, one line is simple and straightforward in emphasising children to study — “kashtam ga kakunda ishtam ga chadavali”. For the child who had worked in innumerable films, this is a cakewalk but the rest of the characters just reel off dialogues without any trace of emotion. It is a film made with a noble intention but the director tries to encash it by aiming at a wrong place and a wrong audience, who cannot understand the essence and objective of the story.