Movie: Sankarabharanam (1979)
Cast: Somayajulu, Manju Bhargavi
In an era of baggy pants, grand heists, dons, great horse chases, hero romancing half his age heroine, one man created a new genre of films.
He introduced a 50-year-old hero, made him wear dhoti and sing in the name of Lord Shiva as a token of love and respect and called it ?Sankarabharanam?, thus making it by far the best film in the Telugu film industry. People pondered over the guts of K. Viswanath, the director, in the beginning and later on applauded his excellence in filmmaking.
The movie throws light on the chasm between Classical and Western Music based on the perspective of people from two different generations. The story unfolds with Sankara Shastry, a pundit in classical music and an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. People flock in thousands to relish the sweetness of his music and so does Tulasi, a daughter of a prostitute who falls in love with the music of Shastry and decides to spend the rest of her life in his service. But, she is forced to favour her mommy's favourite client, who believes someone with the beauty of her daughter shouldn't throw away life by wearing anklets.
In order to escape from the web of seduction our poor heroine takes refuge at the hero's after slaying a rich pervert. Society as usual raises controversy between the relationship of Sankara Shastry and Tulasi making her leave his house.
Years pass by and the generation of pop music has taken over classical music changing the life of the protagonist forever. The rest of the story revolves around the episodes which lead to the reincarnation of classical music and the reunion of the lead characters.
Splendid direction, flawless screenplay, inspiring script and heart-warming music serve as the ingredients of this delicious Andhra meal. The characters are so well bound together that not even for a minute do they seem to have gone off tangent.
Somayajulu didn't seem like a debutant at all as he catapulted the character of Sankara Shastry to unbelievable heights. He was so akin to the character, people still call him by the same name. Manju Bhargavi, a famous classical dancer was simply superb as Tulasi and she mesmerised everyone with her striking dance moves.
One man who deserves the credit for bringing together few normal characters with a simple yet inspiring script and breathtaking music and creating a blockbuster is ?Kala Thapsvi? (Art Saint) K. Vishwanath, the man behind movies such as ?Salangai Ozhli?, ?Sirpikul Muthu? with Kamal Haasan and many more classics. The movie cries out loud one simple message to all those who are divided on the basis of caste, religion and creed that music is divine whether it's classical or western and has the power to unite us.
Language has always been a barrier for people watching movies of other languages. This movie overlooks such clich?'s as it narrates the story only through music. It ran to packed houses in Tamil Nadu and Kerala too when released.
Bottomline: If you are longing to watch a classic then I recommend you watch this movie and experience a musical journey.
HARICHARAN PUDIPEDDI, MBA, Indian Business Academy, Bangalore