Raithu Bidda- A revolutionary classic.
A farmer is considered the backbone of India as it is a top agricultural country. However modernized we could be today, but the fact still remains undeniable that we are all dependent on farmers for our basic amenity in life. Unfortunately for farmers, life is always hard and it only grows harder throughout. Before independence, during Zamindari system, their condition was worse than it is now. The first ever Telugu film that showcased all their issues, which discussed, debated and also offered solutions to their problems was Raithu Bidda.
Gudavalli Ramabrahmam, the visionary director, who debuted with a thought-provoking film Malapilla, announced on the day of its release that Palnati Yuddam would be his second film. But during his stay in the Composite Madras State, he witnessed the plight of many farmers caused by the Zamindars and decided to make a film on the same, a battle against the Zamindari system.
The story is set in a village called Nagapuram. There are basically two groups in the village, one is of the framers and the other of the Zamindars. During the time of elections, Ramireddy represents the farmers’ group and Venkayya represents the Zamindars’. They both compete with each other and few other rich men like Kanakayya (Shavukar) take the side of Zamindar, with the help of Village Karanam causing a lot of trouble to the farmers. Meanwhile, Shavukar summons Narsi Reddy, an active member of the opposition farmers’ group to vote for the Zamindar. When he refuses to do so, Shavukar compels him to repay his debts and drags him to the streets.
Narsi Reddy’s guts attract Zamindar’s attention and he tells him not to repeat such rebellious acts. But when Narsi Reddy doesn’t obey, the Zamindar outrages and ruins his daughter’s marriage alliance. Even after facing a lot of problems, Narsi Reddy and his family strive hard for the victory of farmers.
As a part of elections, the Zamindar arranges for a play called Kuchupudi Bhagavatham. He locks people inside the hall from going to the polling booth. The farmers’ representative Ramireddy learns about this appalling activity of the Zamindar and the people inside collectively break out of the hall. Ultimately, victory chooses the farmers. This makes the Zamindar furious and he sends his men to destroy the farmers’ colony. Other village heads along with Shavukar continue to torture farmers to repay their loans. They squeeze everything out of Narsi Reddy, who loses his son in the process. During the same time, the village gets hit by floods. Shavukar loses everything, which eventually makes him realize his wrong deeds. He along with the Zamindar regret their cruel behavior and ultimately unite with farmers as one.
Who played what?
Famous theatre artist Ballari Raghavayyachari portrayed the dynamic role of Narsi Reddy. Gidugu Sitapati played the role of Zamindar and V. V. Subbayya played the role of Karanam, V. V. Raghavan as Shavukar, K. Raghava as Ramireddy. Surya Kumari, Parvathi Bhai and Varalakshmi played other important roles. Kosaraju penned lyrics for the first time in this film along with acting as well.
People behind the screen:
Story, Direction- Gudavalli Ramabrahmam
Dialogues: Tripuraneni Gopichand, Tapi Dharma Rao
Lyrics: Kosaraju, Senior Samudrala, Tummala Sita Ramamurthy, Nelloru Venkatarama Naidu.
Music Director: Bhimavarapu Narasimha Rao
Choreography: Vedantham Raghavayya
Cinematography: Sailen Bose, Ghutan
Banner: Saradhi Films.
Raithu Bidda- A sensation:
By the time of its release, the Zamindars protested against the film demanding a ban. Some Zamindars went forth and burnt a few prints of the film which lead to major disturbances. The then British government banned the screening of the film in a few areas. This is the first film in Indian cinema that was imposed a ban by the government. Interestingly for this film, ANR’s elder brother tried approaching Gudavalli Ramabrahmam to cast ANR in the film. But the director doubted if he can fit into such roles and said NO to ANR. However, ANR was cast as a hero in Ramabrahmam’s other films like Mayalokam and Palnati Yuddam.
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