Blast from the past Movies

EEDU JODU (1963)

Jaggaiah with Jamuna  

Why was the period up to the early Seventies considered the golden chapter in Indian cinema, and in Telugu in particular? Most of the films produced during this period were driven by strong content and did not merely depend on the dancing skills or the action scenes of the hero. And most filmmakers of the time believed that besides providing entertainment, they had a social responsibility too. One such producer-director was Korlipara Balagangadhara Tilak, popularly known as K.B. Tilak, who made some meaningful films under his Anupama Films banner.

An activist of Praja Natya Mandali, Tilak was also influenced by noted Bengali writer Sarath Chandra Chatterjee’s literary works. Taking a leaf from one of Sarath’s works, Tilak engaged eminent writer Pinisetty Sriramamurthy to pen a story about the circumstances that led an old man marrying a young woman and finally reuniting her with her beau.

The Story

Santha (Jamuna) and Dr. Venu (Jaggaiah) are in love. While Santha’s sick mother Parvathamma (Malati) waits to perform their marriage, her co-sister Rangamma (Suryakantham) plots to get her daughter Sobha (Manimala) married to Venu. In the process she wins over Venu’s status-conscious mother Sundaramma (Hemalatha). Aghast at the development, Parvathamma dies.

Rangamma enacts a drama of compassion towards Santha, brings her home and along with her brother Chalapati (Ramana Reddy) succeeds in separating her from Venu. Rangamma then manages to perform her marriage with an old widower Lakshmipathy (Gummadi) who reluctantly agrees to marry her on his guru’s (K.V.S. Sarma) advice. Lakshmipathy treats Santha as his daughter. Venu is shell-shocked to learn about Santha’s marriage. Lakshmipathy overhears their conversation. He decides to unite the lovers. Upset at Rangamma’s plan to perform the wedding of Sobha with Venu and not with his son Anji (Chalam) as promised by her, Chalapati spills the beans that in a drunken state when Lakshmipathy was unable to tie the knot, it was Rangamma who had actually tied it when he switched off the lights. Lakshmipathy asks Chalapati to enact the same drama of creating darkness and performs the marriages of Santha with Venu and Sobha with Anji.

Cast & Crew

Technically a well- made movie. The story flowed smoothly with Tilak, an editor-turned-director at the helm. Debutant cinematographer V.V. Ram Chowdhary’s work needs special mention. Apart from shooting some portions in Narasu Studios and Prasad Productions, Tilak made a major part of the movie in a bungalow owned by his engineer turned businessman friend, Ch. Subbarao in the posh locality of Nungambakkam in Madras.

Pinisetty’s germane dialogues added strength to the actors’ performance. For seasoned actors like Jaggaiah, Jamuna, Suryakantham, Hemalatha, Malati, Ramana Reddy and Chadalavada Kutumbarao (in the role of Suryakantham’s meek husband) the characters they enacted were tailor-made. The scene in which Jamuna pleads with Jaggaih to work in the hospital built by Lakshmipathy and not to desert it because of her, was a fine example of her prowess in portraying a heavy scene in subtlety. Debutante Manimala gave a neat presentation in company with Chalam. Allu Ramalaingaiah put in a cameo appearance as compounder Ramalingachari.

As the story progresses, it appears as if Lakshmipathy is emerging as the real hero of the movie. His fine-drawn performance as an alcoholic without the cliché won appreciation from none other than the veteran Hindi film actor Ashok Kumar who wondered how Gummadi could pull it off without an iota of overacting. Interestingly when the movie was remade in Hindi, Ashok Kumar played the role.

Pendyala Nageswara Rao mostly used western instruments while composing the tunes for Arudra’s lyrics. Popular among the songs were – Idemi laahiri idemi gaaradi, Chirugaali vantidi arudaina chinnadi (Ghantasala, P. Susheela), Panchar panchar panchar (P.B. Srinivos & chorus) and Suryuni chuttu thiruguthundi bhoogolam (Vasantha, P.B. Srinivos).

Trivia

A Japanese cultural troupe visiting Mahabalipuram saw the song Idemi laahiri… being filmed on Jaggaiah and Jamuna and were so fascinated with the music, they requested for a repeat play of the song.

As he was busy with other production works, Tilak requested his close friend K.S. Prakasa Rao to direct the song Panchar panchar panchar shot on Chalam and a group of college students.

Tilak had a wish to see his friend since their Bombay days, T.V.S. (Pratibha) Sastri as a director as he felt the co-producer of the all-time musical classic, Jayabheri was well versed with film technique. Down with fever Tilak asked Sastri to take his place and direct a scene on Jaggaiah and Jamuna as the shooting could not be postponed. Unable to say no to him, ‘Pratibha’ Sastri completed the day’s work. Jaggaiah complimented him for his work, but Sastri went back to his first love, film production.

Cinematographer V.V.R. Chowdhary later took to projector lens and movie camera service and is quite popular.

Manimala later acted in a few films and married ace Tamil comedy and character actor ‘Venniradai’ Murthy.

As the censor officer G.P. Sastry found it objectionable, Tilak had to remove the scene in which Gummadi asks Jamuna to remove the ‘thali.’ It was replaced with a divorce scene. K.B. Tilak also directed the film’s Hindi version, Kangan (1971), produced by Vikas Chitra with Sanjeev Kumar and Mala Sinha and Ashok Kumar cast in the role played by Gummadi. At the request of Ashok Kumar, Gummadi played the role of his guru. Vempati Sathyam was retained for the Hindi remake too.


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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 6:27:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/EEDU-JODU-1963/article17097766.ece

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