Blast from the Past Friday Review

Manchi manasuku manchi rojulu (1958)

A scene from from Manchi Manusu Manchi Rojulu   | Photo Credit: arranged

Rural based family dramas with a song eulogising the harvest season found favour with a generation of movie goers. One such Tamil movie was A.K. Velan’s Thai Piranthaal Vazhi Pirakkum’ It was such a huge hit that with the profits earned from the movie, the popular Tamil writer turned debut producer-director, could build a studio of his own. Impressed by the movie’s box office potential, producers Sundarlal Nahata and T. Aswatha Narayana (proprietor of Rama Talkies, Vijayawada) bought the Telugu remake rights, signed C.S. Rao as the director and Samudrala Jr., to pen the dialogue. Made under Sree Productions banner, the Telugu version was titled – Manchi Manasuku Manchi Rojulu (M3R).

The Story: Raju, a farmer lives with his sister Janaki whom he adores. Venkatappaiah, a rich man plans to marry off his son Dr. Raghu to his brother-in-law Ganapathi’s daughter Rani, an advocate. Raghu refuses to marry her and Rani takes a vow to marry him at any cost. Raju and the mean Venkatappaiah are at loggerheads. Venkatappaiah plots against him with his Man Friday Kethanna and sends him to jail.

Orphaned Janaki is saved by Raghu and by circumstances marries him. Raju is released from jail and seeks revenge against Venkatappaiah but finding his sister there as the daughter-in-law leaves the place.

Venkatappaiah and his wife Kantham throw the pregnant Janaki out and tell Raghu that she eloped with someone. Janaki delivers a baby. A childless couple Venkatramaiah and his wife adopt the child. Janaki jumps into the river to end her life. Raju saves her and determines to set things right. Wearing disguises, he first brings the child back to Janaki and then unites her with Raghu and finally lures Rani into marriage.

Cast & Crew: What the talented C.S. Rao had to do was to follow the Tamil version’s screenplay almost to a tee. Samudrala Jr. scored with his dialogues that were both light bantered and sentimental. J. Sathyanarayana cranked the camera with Kamal Ghosh as the director of photography. N.K. Gopal and C. Hari Rao’s deft editing also helped the over two hour forty five minute long movie to sustain viewer’s interest.

Except for a few emotional scenes with Rajasulochana (as Janaki) NTR’s character of Raju was mostly etched in a light banter.

With M3R, Rajasulochana proved that she was not only a good dancer but an actor of substance. Interestingly, she had enacted the role in the Tamil version too. Ramanamurthy’s (Dr. Raghu) performance was marked by subtlety and Girija as Rani came up with a neat portrayal.

Relangi (Venkatappaiah), Suryakantham (Kantham), Allu Ramalingaiah (Kethanna), K.V.S. Sarma (Ganapathi), Rajanala (Rowdy Chinna Puli), Peketi Sivaram (Compounder), A.V. Subbarao Sr. (Police Inspector), Nalla Rammurthy (Malokam), Prabhala Krishnamurthy (Venkatramaiah), Subrahmanyakumari (Venkatramaiah’s wife), Vasundhara Devi (doctor), Terla Apparao (Perayya), Yekkala Koteswara Rao ( screen name: Velangi – fake Sadhu) elevated the movie with their performance. Others in the cast were – Moparru Das, Bitta Venkatarao and Gangarathnam.

Ghantasala borrowed a couple of tunes from K.V. Mahadevan’s score from the Tamil version, including the super hit song, Dharaniki Giri Bhaaramaa… a soulful rendition by Rao Balasaraswati filmed on guest artiste Jayasri (Ammaji). Ghantasala’s original compositions, Raave Naa Cheliyaa… and Anukunnadokati ainadokkati bolta kottindile bul bul pitta… were among the other popular numbers. Samudrala Jr. and Kosaraju wrote the lyrics. Pasumarthi Krishnamurthy choreographed for the songs.

Trivia: Before making his grade as producer-director A.K. Velan was a renowned Tamil author and screen writer. He was the dialogue writer for the Sivaji Ganesan-Savitri starrer, Vanangamudi directed by P. Pullaiah. Thai Piranthaal…. was his first film as producer and director. Released on Pongal day in 1958, he harvested such money from the film that he bought a piece of land in Saligramam near Vadapalani in Chennai and built Arunachalam Studio. Later the studio was acquired by actor Chiranjeevi’s family and renamed it Ramcharan Studio. A part of the studio once belonged to hero Krishna.

Cinematographer-director Siva who had directed the Gopichand starrers, Souryam and Sankham and Daruvu with Ravi Teja is A.K. Velan’s grandson.

M. Mallikarjuna Rao, M3R’s associate director was the son of Sr. Sriranjani. He later directed many successful movies including the trendsetter – Goodhachari 116 that catapulted Krishna to stardom.

Prabhala Krishnamurthy who made a brief appearance as Venkatramaiah in M3R acted in a lead role in Prema Vijayam (1936), the first full length social film in Telugu. Gobburi Venkata Ramachandra Rao (he acted as Prabhala’s brother-in-law in M3R) later worked as production manager for NTR and Padmanabham’s productions and produced two films, Basti Bul Bul and Basti Kiladeelu directed by his younger brother G.V.R. Seshagiri Rao.

Both Prabhala and Ramachandra Rao died under tragic circumstances. While crossing the tracks in Kakinada, Prabhala Krishnamurthy was run over by a train.

When Ramachandra Rao was returning to Madras from Bangalore along with writer Rajasri, after narrating a story to the legendary Kannada actor Rajkumar, their car met with an accident.

The driver and Rajasri escaped but Rao succumbed to the accident.

AVM Productions produced a Hindi version of M3R titled, Barkha (1959) starring Jagdeep, Nanda and Subha Khote.

For the Telugu film industry, Manchi Manasuku Manchi Rojulu turned out to be the biggest hit of 1958.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 9:40:11 AM |

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