Poola Rangadu (1967)

July 06, 2018 12:00 am | Updated 05:31 am IST

starring A Nageswara Rao, Sobhan Babu, Jamuna,Vijaya Nirmala

It was a challenging task for producer Dukkipaati Madhusudana Rao, the Annapurna Pictures boss, who had by then produced eight super hit Telugu movies in a row and had to make his ninth venture a big success. The reason was he had to give a boost to his protégé and partner, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, who was at that time facing a lean period with a row of flops. Dukkipaati held a story session with Gollapudi Maruthi Rao, who was then working in All India Radio, Hyderabad. Maruthi Rao suggested adopting A.J. Cronin’s 1953 novel, Beyond This Place . Dukkipaati liked the idea. In the novel, the hero learns that his father is convicted of murder and, with persistent efforts, he succeeds in proving his father’s innocence. Taking this point from the novel, they were working on the script when Gollapudi was transferred to Sambalpur in Odisha.

The producer then signed Mullapudi Venkata Ramana — who at that time was staying at Vijayawada — to write the story, which he did. But because of his preoccupation, Mullapudi expressed his inability to pen the dialogues. Thereupon, the Visakhapatnam-based popular writer, Muppaala Ranganayakamma, was engaged to write the dialogues.

After going through Mullapudi's story, Dukkipaati felt the need for some improvement in the climax. He, along with Ranganayakamma and director Adurthi Subbarao, landed in Vijayawada and met Mullapudi to effect the needed changes in the story. Drawing inspiration from the Panchatantra Tales, Mullapudi added the Mitra Bhedam episode. Quite interestingly, the producer booked two AC retiring rooms at the Vijayawada Railway Station and stayed there for a week to finalise the script for Poola Rangadu.

The story

Veeraiah (played by Nagaiah) is the manager in Dharma Rao’s (Gummadi) factory. He is implicated in the murder of Dharmarao’s partner Purushotham and is sentenced to life imprisonment. Veeraiah’s son Rangadu (Master Ravi/ANR) brings up his sister Padma (Vijaya Nirmala). Rangadu gets acquainted with Venkata Lakshmi alias Yenki (Jamuna) and they develop intimacy for each other. Meanwhile, Padma falls in love with Dr. Prasad (Sobhan Babu) and they get married. However, things take a difficult turn for her when Prasad’s mother (Malati) learns that Padma is the daughter of Veeraiah who is jailed for murdering her husband, Purushotham. Upset at the disturbed life of his sister, Rangadu decides to find the truth, lands himself in prison and meets his father there. He finally succeeds in bringing the real culprits — Dharmarao and his brother-in-law Chalapati (Bhanu Prakash) to book.

Cast and crew

Though he had made a clean and neat film out of the story given to him, Adurthi was said to have been at first not happy with the final outcome. However, when it won audience approval, he changed his opinion.

Ranganayakamma’s dialogues added punch to the narrative. And she proved that she was capable of penning the banter too in her dialogues. However, the comedy dialogues in the movie were filled by the director himself and his team to get the right punch. They were filmed on Padmanabham, Geetanjali and Suryakantham. Allu Ramalingaiah and Radhakumari, as husband and wife, lent support to the hero and his sister. Chalam played Narasimha, the reason for Padma’s troubles, but who helps Rangadu in his efforts. Popular stage actor, Bhanu Prakash, made his movie debut as Chalapati and proved his worth.

The music sessions were held at the Tungabhadra Dam site under the baton of Saluru Rajeswara Rao. The popular songs were C. Narayana Reddy’s Misa misalaade chinadaanaa (Ghantasala, Susheela), Chigurulu vesina kalalannee (Susheela and debut singer KBK Mohan Raju) and Dasarathi’s Neevu raavu nidura raadu (Susheela).


It was the only time when later day popular director P Chandrasekhara Reddy worked as the co-director for an Adurthi movie.

The prison scenes were shot in real locations at Chanchalguda and Musheerabad Central Prisons, with the permission of PV Narasimha Rao, the then Minister for Prisons in Andhra Pradesh. After a long hiatus Nagaiah lent his voice for himself in the song, Chillara raallaku mokkuthuvunte while Ghantasala sang for ANR. The song was shot with real prisoners participating.

The song Nee jilugu paita needalona niluvanee was filmed in colour.

Beyond This Place was adopted into a film first in Bengali as Sabar Uparey (1955), starring Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen and directed by Agradoot, then in Hindi by Raj Khosla as Kala Pani (1958) with Dev Anand and Madhubala. It was only in 1959 that an English version of the novel with the same title was made as a movie by Jack Cardiff with screenplay by A.J. Cronin.

Released on November 24, 1967, Poola Rangadu celebrated hundred days run. The celebrations were held at Basant Talkies, Hyderabad. Poola Rangadu met with similar success when remade in Tamil as En Annan , starring MGR and Jayalalitha. However, when Adurthi remade as Jeet (1972) in Hindi (1972) it did not do well.

The producer booked two AC retiring rooms at the Vijayawada Railway Station and stayed there for a week to finalise the script for Poola Rangadu.

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