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2.07.2008

MUTHYALA MUGGU 1975


Direction: Bapu.
Presenter: M. Sukumar.
Producer: Maddali Venkata Lakshmi Narasimha Rao (MVL).
Banner: Sri Rama Chitra.
Cinematography: Ishan Arya.
Lyrics: C. Narayana Reddy, Gunturu Seshendra Sharma & Arudra.
Music: KV Mahadevan.
Singers: Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna, SP Bala Subrahmanyam, Suseela & Ramakrishna.
Story, Screenplay & Dialogues: Mullapudi Venkata Ramana.
Cast:
Sridhar,
Sangeetha,
RaoGopala Rao,
Kantha Rao,
Arja Janardhana Rao,
Baby Radha,
Master Murali,
Allu Ramalingaiah,
Nutan Prasad,
Suryakantham,
Mukkamala,
Mada,
Halam,
Jayamalini,
Sakshi Ranga Rao, and Others.
Story:
Hindu mythology has always been a great source of themes for our filmmakers. They have borrowed freely many stories from them and converted them into beautiful films. The very first Telugu talkie 'Bhaktha Prahlada' was based on a story in the Bhagawatham. The story of Rama, or 'The Ramayanam' as it is called, has been made into beautiful films like 'Sampoorna Ramayanam', 'Seetha Kalyanam', 'Seetha Rama Kalyanam', etc. The first two films are by the great creative duo Bapu and Ramana.

Great lovers of this great epic, they have gone on to create a social version with the scene of action as around Bhadrachalam and aptly titled it 'Andala Ramudu'. No surprise then that when they think of a new film, they are naturally drawn towards the epic again. To be a bit different from their regular trend, in 1975, they took the post-Ramayana story and adapted it as a social movie. The result is, as you might have correctly guessed, is 'Muthyala Muggu'.

'Muthyala Muggu' is the story of an innocent woman separated from her husband by the evil designs of a crooked man, aided by a modern-day villain, who is ready to do any evil job for the sake of money. Unable to bear the misery of their mother, the victim of the villain, her twin children set about to bring to light the evil plot, and succeed in reuniting the couple. The similarities between the Uttara Ramayana story of Rama, Seetha, and their twin children Lava and Kusa, and that of 'Muthyala Muggu' are too many to be told again. Even the character of Hanuman finds a place in this film.


'Muthyala Muggu', though released some 30 years ago, is very fresh in the minds of Telugu cinegoers because of its total native touch. Very rarely do you find a film, which, like Mutyala Muggu, can be classified as a typical Telugu film.

'Muthyala Muggu' created a new trend in the evolution of characters, the presentation of events, and the rendering of dialogues. It redefined villainy in the Telugu movie. Mullapudi Venkata Ramana says, "We, in the film world have certain standard notions about the character of a villain. He looks rugged, wears a crooked look, and doesn't try to hide the fact that he is a villain. But do we ever come across a man who admits to being a cheat, and cunning, cruel and notorious? I feel that in real life, we don't see a villain attired the way a cine-villain dresses! Everywhere around us there are villains, looking like us but doing the things we don't do! So I thought why not show a villain who is different from the typical cine-villain?"

That was how the lively character called Contractor took shape and evolved in the movie. This new age villain is a man with a vision and a monster with a mission. He is smart enough to know that even his trusted assistant is bound to cheat him. So he warns him, 'aa mukka ne lekkette mundu cheppala!', meaning that 'you should have told me this before I counted the notes'. He further warns his trusted lieutenant, his assistant, that he may end up in the dikky of the car, (dikkilo einchesta!). For this unusual villain, all the villainous jobs he undertakes are contracts. He finishes them with perfect timing. Even his accomplices like the dancer Halam or the Nithya Pellikoduku (Nutan Prasad) are like professionals employed by a company. The dancer even says 'Kamarajo, Somarajo.. Esina chota dooti eyyavu gadaa..', emphasizing the fact that hers is a regular job with duties at different places.


The two characters of Maddela Vaallu is a wonderful satire on the flatterers surrounding the present day politicians, who are more or less contractors affecting our day-to-day life. How interesting to see in real life now, those similar to the filmi character of the contractor in the movie! Ravu Gopala Rao, as the Contractor, ensured for himself a permanent place as the most sophisticated villain of the new age. His dialogue delivery set a new trend in the film industry, and the LP records of the dialogues sold like hot cakes!

The characters in 'Muthyala Muggu' are too well polished for any one to forget. The husband Sridhar is just an ordinary mortal who suspects some affair between his wife and the midnight caller. The character of the wife evokes sympathy because, in spite of her innocence, she has no chance to prove her innocence. She walks out of the house silently, and lives under the protection of the priest, who too is a victim of the contractor's villainy. The priest is the Bapu-Ramana version of saint Valmiki.

The genius of the duo can be further seen in the characterization of the role of Allu Ramalingaiah, who, in the end turns monkey-like in his actions and gestures, as a punishment for his wrong doings. What a brilliant performance Sri Allu delivers as a man bitten by a monkey! The character of Sridhar, who just goes to attend the marriage of his sister's friend, and becomes the groom himself, is also superbly drawn. He sums up his character in one single sentence that he has married the girl because he has been unable to bear the comments that the money his father has earned by unjust means the money he has donated. This reminds of Lord Sri Rama, who would do anything to safeguard His father's honor.


'Muthyala Muggu' was shot mostly outdoors in the famous Gyan Bagh Palace in Hyderabad and on the Pulidindi Canal. Even the shooting in Gyan Bagh Palace was sudden and unexpected. Actually the shooting was planned in Sarathi Studios. The dates of the stars were all fixed and they even arrived in Hyderabad. But, as it often happens, when producer proposes, the studio owner disposes. It so happened that the studio floor meant for the set of the contractor's house was not vacant. They were just wondering what was to be done, when, as a God-sent, Sri BV Ramana Rao, a Drug Controller then, told them of the Gyan Bagh Palace, and with the help of Sri Gunturu Seshendra Sharma and his Poetess-wife Smt. Indira Devi Dhanrajgir, arranged for the uninterrupted shooting of the film there.

Many scenes in the film, like bringing the body of Rayudu in the Dicky, the entry of Mada as Panchadara Gurnatham, his discussions with the Contractor, etc., were all shot there. Even the song 'Enthati Rasikudivo Theliseraa..' was shot on Halam and Mukkamala on the lawns of the same palace. The jewellery shown in the film was also from the personal collection of Smt. Indira Devi Dhanrajgir. We cannot forget the beautiful lyric 'Nidurinche Thotaloki Paata Okati Vacchindi..' penned by Sri Gunturu Seshendra Sharma. It is the only lyric he has penned for a movie!

Bapu and Ramana are great music lovers. They requested the Mandolin player Sri Sajjad Hussain to allow them to enrich the film with his mandolin rendering for almost 16-minutes in the film, while showing the intimate scenes between the newly weds, Sridhar and Lakshmi. The tunes set by Sri KV Mahadevan to the lyrics of Sri Arudra and Sri CiNaRe were outstanding in all respects. Particularly, the title song by Arudra reverberates in almost all the Telugu households. The song 'Sri Rama Jayarama Seetharama..' sung by Sri Mangalampalli Bala Muralikrishna sets the mood for a great show.

The famous cinematographer of the Coke Ads, Ishan Arya was the cinematographer for the film. When Bapu came to know that he was the cinematographer for the film 'Garam Hava', directed by Sri MS Sathyu, he had no hesitation in asking him to take up the job, which Ishan Arya fulfilled with perfection. The photography in the picture is a feast to the eyes.

'Muthyala Muggu' was not meant to be the title of the film. Actually, Bapu and Ramana wanted to select a different title for the film. They were calling it 'Muthyala Muggu', but thought of some other name. They went on postponing the naming of the film. But as days went by, they developed a liking for the name and chose to release it with that name.

Trivia: Do you know that the Super Hero of the Telugu film world, the late NTR used to say that of the few Telugu films he liked most, 'Muthyala Muggu' takes the first place. He was all praise for the native touch in the film. He even used to repeat the dialogues of the film and was immensely happy with the treatment of the story in the film. "Can you ever imagine that one can make such a beautiful social version of the Uttara Ramayanam? That is their greatness!" he used to say.

It is also a well known fact that when Sri NTR, as the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, entrusted Bapu and Ramana with the project of preparing Telugu video lessons for the school-going children, he gave them a single line direction saying "I want these lessons to be as good and native as your Mutyala Muggu cinema". This itself is a great compliment to the great creative-duo.

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Early Tollywood

1 Comment:

devender said...

excellent movie for ever

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