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VandeMataram (1939)

Director:B.N. Reddi
Music: Chittor V. Nagaiah
Story:B.N. Reddi from his short story Mangalsutram
Dialogues:Samudrala Raghavacharya
Lyrics:Samudrala Raghavacharya
Cinematography: K. Ramnoth
Banner:Vauhini Pics

Chittor V. Nagaiah,
Usha Rani
Story:Vauhini's debut production is also that of the pioneering Telugu film-maker Reddi. The elaborate melodrama, based on Reddi's own unpublished short story, presented problems of uneven development in terms of an emotional conflict between an innocent feudal rural female and a -worldly-wise capitalist urban male. Hero Raghu (Nagaiah), an unemployed graduate, insists on marrying the village girl Janaki (Kanchanmala) despite the opposition of his scheming mother who -wants a dowry. Raghu's unemployment problems continue despite his migration to the city, leaving his wife in the clutches of her mother-in-law. When Raghu wins a lottery for Rs 5 lakhs and returns home, he finds his wife and infant son have left. Although his mother insists he marry again, Raghu goes to the city and dedicates himself to social work, including building factories in order to create employment opportunities. In this he is assisted by his rich female college friend, provoking gossip about their relationship. Raghu's -wife, now a poor flower seller, sees her husband with his new friend and believes he has remarried. Eventually the misunderstanding is resolved. A major commercial hit, the film engages the agenda of the reform and nationalist movements: Raghu names a lottery-ticket seller Vande Mataram, meaning 'Hail to the mother' and one of India's national anthems, and tramples underfoot his 'foreign' degree in a scene that caused censorship problems. The film also introduces numerous stereotypes e.g. the suave urban crook and the stage-struck villager (who marries the hero's sister).

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