If a film is being remembered even after several years of its release, there sure must be something unique about it. If such uniqueness is there, the film sure must have created an impact on the audience. One such film is Osey Ramulammma, starring Lady Superstar Vijayashanthi in the leading role. Whether it’s a film or a story, there sure should be some inspiration along with a moral behind it. Let it be Ramayanam where Rama kills Ravana, or Mahabharata where Pandavas win over Kauravas, this pattern can be observed. But, there is a difference between a combat between two people, and the people who follow up a rebellion path. At present, we are in an era which comprises of People. One of the major responsibilities of an Art work is to speak about the problems people face in the society. When a film is based on such theme, the audience can see their own selves in the film. Naturally, such films go closer to a viewer’s heart. Osey Ramulamma is undoubtedly a film which falls under this unique category.
1997 was the time when Vijayashanthi was in tremendous form as a female lead in Tollywood. Her image was elevated to new levels with films like Kartavyam, Pratighatana, Asayam and so on. Precisely at such moment, ace director Dasari Narayana Rao began this project. The story was not that new then. It deals with the struggle of Telangana people. During the reign of Nizam dynasty, and later in the realm of local rich Dora clan, Telangana region was not devoid of many Ramulammas. But, until then there was no film which depicted this issue realistically. Bapu attempted such theme in his venture Kaliyuga Ravanasurudu but this was something very different. The film amazingly represents the Telangana History and culture in language as well as the dressing style. However, the Telangana struggle was not the only inspiration for Dasari Narayana Rao to make this film. The story of Phoolan Devi, a daring lady who showed a real rebellion to bandits as well as the government in Northern India also forms an inspiration to it. Getting raped in childhood, and witnessing lot of struggle in early life, Phoolan Devi grew up with vengeance as her bread and butter and brutally killed those who showed such suffering to her. She is one courageous woman who held her head high by doing justice to her vengeance .Here, Dasari took the backdrop of Doras in Telangana for his film instead.
The character of Ramulamma is a representation of backward classes in Telangana Region. She works as a maid in a Dora’s residence as a slave. She is an innocent young girl who is quite obedient towards her mistress. But misfortune hits her so badly. She gets raped by the Dora for whom she works as a slave. Nobody arrives for her rescue or show a tinge of sympathy towards her- when she needed it the most. It is when Komaranna, a revolutionary singer comes to her help by giving her strong support. He teaches her to rebel against the people who tormented her and gives her heaps of courage. He also teaches her that nothing is lost in a combat, except for the vengeance which is embedded in every nerve of her. But Komaranna dies in a battle with the government which despises any resistance, or questions their wrongdoings. As a result, Ramulamma is left all alone yet again. But already by then, Ramulammma becomes more of a powerful force under the training of Komaranna. Hence, she dedicates her life in searching for those people who made her life an irreparable suffering.
Performances and Technical Aspects:
Though the story looks quite routine on paper, Dasari Narayana Rao used all his expertise and experience and made a wonderful script. He included issues like Telangana struggle, Naxalites resistance, inspirational songs for the common people, Doras and Dorasanis cruelty in the film. By this, a story which has all shades of emotions emerged. He himself acted as Komaranna in the film. Experienced actors like Ankusham Rami Reddy, Ashok Kumar, Narra, Shankuntala and so on gave memorable performances. Accordingly, the film got the completeness because of such a good team.
All these aspects are one level. But it is the music director Vandemataram Srinivas, who in real life is quite popular in the rebellious songs speaking about common people’s struggle. His tunes gave the much needed flavor for the film. The title song of the film reverberated in every household for many days after the film was released. Suddala Ashok Teja, a revolutionary song lyric writer penned six songs for the film. Every song in the film is a classic. It is interesting to note that popular music director M.M.Keeravani sang a song for the film. Shyam K.Naidu’s cinematography was breathtaking, with the beauty of Telangana Region explored by him through the camera. For a film to be successful, every department of it should excel. That is the reason Osey Ramulamma turned out to be a great film.
Story, Dialogues, Songs and Script- Literally every department excels in the film. There won’t be unnecessary boasting about the issue anywhere in the movie. Despite this, no character in the film restrict themselves in showing their emotions or their natural brilliance. Ramireddy and Ashok Kumar acted in the negative roles which still bring chills to the spine of the viewer. Komarannna character is ideal for Dasari Narayana Rao. Coming to the lead role played by Vijayashanthi, she showed her acting par excellence in the film. Films like Kartavyam and Pratighatana showed only certain shades in her acting skills. But this film has Vijayashanthi play multiple shades such as innocence, helplessness, sadness, revenge, anger in her character. Her histrionics change accordingly for each of the emotions required for the scene. Director’s brilliance is evident in showing her according to her age and situation in the film. Vijayashanthi undoubtedly blended with ease in every respect for the role of Ramulamma.
Dasari Narayana Rao did multiple roles for the film such as Director, Actor and also created sparks of revolution as a powerful dialogue writer. Alright, the film is good and the songs are good. Infact everything is good about it. But is it a sweet memory which can be reminded of after five or ten years of its release? No...it is a story of a girl who was born just like every other person in the world, but instead of happiness she saw suffering throughout her life. Because, whether it is the British Rule, or Nizam’s rule, or the oppression of Doras, or finally a Democracy - The unsafe environment for a woman has not changed much. There may not be the clan of Doras now, but the oppression still exists. Veturi said long back in a song “Magadoraladhee Lokam“ (This world is for Dominating Men). That is why even after 60 years of Indian Independence, the dream of Mahatma Gandhi remains unfulfilled. A woman cannot go around freely even in daylight. Though there are numerous laws against this evil, men with cruel intentions still roam freely and continuing their wrongdoings. Is there any newspaper without a news of rape, harassment, or crime against a woman till date? But not everybody can transform into a Phoolan Devi or Ramulamma by taking law in their hands. But as long as such situations where the law itself falls prey to the affluent exist, we continue to remember Ramulamma. When remembered, an innocent young girl, who was shattered in the shadow of a Dora, leading to heart wrenching emotion. Just like Tilak says “Em Lokam Thalli” (What sort of world is this, oh Mother!”), we wouldn’t know whether to feel sad or confront the system. It is when we wish to watch the climax of Osey Ramulamma. When Ramulamma does the task which we cannot do, claps automatically come from us and then we understand why the film was so successful and reached the hearts of common audience.
1997- Vandemataram Srinivas won Nandi Award for Best Music Director. 1997- Vijayashanti won Nandi Award for Best Actress & Filmfare Award for Best Actress - Telugu