A legacy of humour

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Relangi Narasimha Rao
Relangi Narasimha Rao


Interview Relangi Narasimha Rao feels clean comedy films will always be appreciated.

He is related to comedian Relangi (his father’s cousin) but that’s where the similarities end. Becoming a director for comedy films was purely accidental. Relangi Narasimha Rao directed his first film Chandamama based on Madireddy Sulochana’s novel but that never hit the screen. Later a series of films Nenu Ma Aavida, Emandoi Srimati Garu,and Ilantha Sandhadi released successively branding him as a happening comedy film director.

Relangi Narasimha Rao started his career as an apprentice to Dasari Narayan Rao and directed about 73 films out of which 65 were primarily based on comedy. Thirty two films had Rajendra Prasad as the hero and the director says, “I never looked for stars in my movies, but just trusted the story.

The director admits that the golden period of Telugu comedy films has long been gone but of late comedians are playing a vital role in the success of a film. Films like Chiruta, Dee, Pokiri, Desamuduru and the latest Krishna have the comedians overshadowing the prime cast. He says the industry has seen the emergence of many comedians but none have had a long standing and successful career like Brahmanandam.

Relangi is known for making clean entertainers but he confesses of giving into double entendre only once. “I have put my heart and soul into making an absolutely squeaky clean comedy drama and around the same time another comedy film which had full of embarrassing dialogues released and passed in flying colours whereas I ended up with an egg on my face. So with anger and vengeance I resolved to make a film on commercial lines with substandard dialogues and it didn’t work.”

Relangi narrates a touching incident in his life that was later woven as an episode in a film that released in 1984, a Jagapati Babu starrer in which Suhasini plays his mother. He continues, “I stopped talking to my mother when I was 15-years old on a flimsy reason and never attempted to get in touch with her as long as she lived. When I heard she passed away I went home to see her for the last time and what I saw was a miracle. She came back to life after 24 hours of passing away. I called her ‘amma’ after so many years and she touched my hands and cheeks and left after five minutes. I can never forget that moment.”

Reminiscing Relangi’s and Ramana Reddy’s work, the director says that they never made an effort to crack jokes. Their body language, Relangi’s walk and Ramana Reddy’s way of lifting his shoulders, his Nellore dialect evoked humour. There was no profanity in the dialogues whatsoever and everything they did on screen was so real. “Now people don’t laugh till the comedians work on their facial expressions.”

The director at the moment is handling Bujji Bujji Babu, a Sunday serial for ETV. He signs off saying that clean comedy has very few takers but despite that he will stand by it.



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