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Portraying Telangana’s woes

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Touching saga: A scene from ‘Bathukamma’.
Touching saga: A scene from ‘Bathukamma’.

Suresh Krishnamoorthy

Hyderabad: A film that was released on May 1, ‘Bathukamma’, is slowly but surely drawing people’s attention to the problems of the backward Telangana region. Produced on the Kakatiya Films banner, the film tries to make a realistic portrayal of events over a span of six decades in the backward region.

Havoc

This includes scenes of poor villagers not being allowed to till lands that were anyway kept fallow and instead, being given away to SEZs and of the havoc that ‘belt’ shops wreak on the daily lives of the poor.

Situations depicted in the film made by M. Chandrasekhar Rao and P. Ramamohan Rao include small girls being sold because their parents cannot raise them and of poor villagers being arrested and shot by policemen on the suspicion that they are helping naxals.

All about land

The story, screenplay and music too is by T. Prabahakar Rao. The story is set in the backdrop of a typical Telangana village where lands are fallow with a leader in power selling them to an MNC in the name of an SEZ.

On ‘Bathukamma’ festival day, villagers find a baby girl abandoned near a lake. They name her ‘Bathukamma’ and the little one is raised in the village.

Bhoomayya, an old farmer, who loses his family in the Telangana Armed Struggle takes up the responsibility of bringing her up.

Supporter

Sindhu Tolani plays a deglamourised role as ‘Bathukamma’ and hero Vijay Bhaskar plays a silent supporter in love with her.

The hero’s strong feelings make him revolt against his own father, who plays a villainous Home Minister in the film. Highlights include a sensitive portrayal by Venkanna as Bhoomayya, whose heart stops when the Home Minister tells him that he has to give up his land.

The lyrics and dialogues by Andesri and Goreti Venkanna steal the show.

‘Bathukamma’ has none of the commercial elements of a present-day movie but as Mr. Prabhakar Rao says, “This is not a film but life, the sentiment of my people.”


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