Andhra Pradesh

An NTR classic that defies time

It is a tinsel town product that hit the screens during the golden period of cinema, around Sankranthi way back in the year 1966. Made on what is now considered less-than-a-shoe-string budget of Rs. 10 lakh, it was a super hit that ran for 100 days in nine centres grossing the investment many times in the first release and also during all its subsequent releases to date.

In this age and time, it has become common phenomenon for connoisseurs to remember yesteryear classics, especially when they complete 25 or 50 years. It is in this vein that the legendary NTR’s ‘Sri Krishna Pandaveeyam’ is remembered this Sankranthi, not just for the dual role the legend essayed as Sri Krishna and Duryodhana but as director, with screenplay too, to his credit.

Among other reasons that it is still on top-of-the-mind-recall for movie buffs is the role of ‘Duryodhana’. NTR playing the role of Duryodhana immortalised the character with his style, body language and diction in an outstanding manner making it one of the top characters he had ever portrayed on screen in his three-decade career. The entire get-up of the Duryodhana character was changed, so much so that he assumed as much importance as the protagonist.

There is an interesting story about how NTR’s name appeared on screen as director though he had earlier wielded the megaphone for ‘Sita Rama Kalyanam’ (1961) and ‘Gulebakawali Katha’ the very next year. The then president of South Indian Film Director’s Association, P. Pullaiah was said to have approached NTR and told him that releasing a movie without the name of the director amounted to insulting the director’s chair and made him take the credit.

Made on Rama Krishna & NAT Combines (NTR’s own banner), it had dialogues by Samudrala Raghavacharya. The songs that still ring in music lovers’ hearts include ‘Changure bangaru raja’, ‘Mathtu vadalara niddura mattu vadalara’, ‘Priyurala siggelane’ and ‘Swagatham suswagatham’. The lyricists of these immortal songs were Kosaraju, Samudrala and C. Narayana Reddy with music composed by T.V. Raju and Ravi Kant Nagaich being the camera man. Others in the cast were K. R. Vijaya for whom it was a debut in Telugu (as Rukmini) and S. Varalakshmi as Kunthi, Uday Kumar as Bheema, Rajanala (Sisupala), Mukkamala (Jarasandha), and Dhulipala (Sakuni), apart from Chittooru Nagaiah, Sobhan Babu, Naga Ratnam and Kantha Rao. Singers were P. Susheela, Jikki, L.R. Eswari, Ghantasala, P.B. Srinivas, Madhavapeddi Satyam and Pithapuram Nageswara Rao.



Sri Krishna Pandaveeyam , written and directed by NTR with him also playing the roles of Krishna and Duryodhana, hit the screens around this time way back in 1966



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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 3:09:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/An-NTR-classic-that-defies-time/article14001275.ece

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