In the realm of hundreds of thought provoking films in the stream of Telugu Cinema, one film which was released in late 80's shined like an eternally Golden Lotus flower. Literally every department of the film excelled in all respects. Let it be fantastic performances, Dialogues, Story, Screenplay, Comedy, Sentiment, Love Story, Music and Direction- the film was perfect in all these spheres. Most importantly, the characterizations in the film were rock steady and the every scene makes the audience think about various aspects of life- such as Respect to Fine Arts, Relationships, Wishes, and what not!
The film is none other than K.Vishwanath’s Swarna Kamalam starring Venkatesh and Bhanupriya in lead roles. The legendary film completes silver jubilee today and it is a right time to not only remember the film but also cherish the wonderful moments it gave every person in Telugu Household!
Swarna Kamalam is a thought provoking journey of a dancer named Meenakshi (Bhanupriya) and her transformation from a disinterested dancer to somebody who explores the world of dance like never before. Her disinterest in dance is because of her father Vedantham Seshendra Sharma, despite tremendous talent in dance, lives in poverty. Meenakshi is the modern girl of the 80s who dreams of individual life, riches, luxuries and fast paced life against Fine Arts and getting recognized as a dancer. Her elder sister Savitri (Devilalitha) is a singer and more grounded personality compared to Meenakshi. Owing to Meenakshi’s family situations, a belief that there is no recognition for Indian Fine Arts gets strongly into her mind. It is at this juncture Chandrasekhar (Venkatesh) enters her life and instantly recognizes he talent as a dancer. The rest of the film is about how Meenakshi realizes the greatness of Indian Fine Arts and how her relationship with Chandrasekhar evolves as a new fragrance.
Apart from the main storyline, the film is adorned with amazing songs and fantastic dance performances by Bhanupriya in every frame she appears as a dancer. Her histrionics are a treat for the film – Let it be as a disinterested dancer or the realized dancer! Swarna Kamalam is a breakthrough for Venkatesh as well with his mellowed yet balanced performance- and earned him many fans as a classy actor with style! The comedy track between Akhilam (Srilakshmi) and Omkaram (Sakshi Ranga Rao) who reside near Meenakshi’s residence is another highlight of the film.
Every song shines with golden brilliance in the film. Maestro Ilaiyaraaja’s music, Sirivennela Sitarama Sastry’s lyrics take the film to entirely new level of classicism.
On the eve of Silver Jubilee for Swarna Kamalam, here are some of the interesting facts about the legendary film:
- The popular Odissi dancer in real world, Sharon Lowen acted as herself in the film. Her role is quite important to the plot of the film who makes Meenakshi realize about the greatness of classical dance. This is perhaps the only Indian Film in which she acted.
- The song Sakhiley for which Sharon Lowen performs in the film is an original odissi dance composition, which was wonderfully used by K.Vishwanath in the film. This shows the directional abilities of the legendary director
- The film’s songs were shot in many exotic locations around India which include Sanchi Stupa, Puri, The Himalayas and so on. Most of the film was aesthetically shot in Visakhapatnam. Hence Swarna Kamalam became another classic film which was shot in Visakhapatnam!
- Swarna Kamalam was showcased in Indian Panorama section of International film festival of India for the year 1988
- The actor who played as Savitri’s love interest in the film is also a real time violinist who was completely apt for the film’s theme. There is a wonderful scene in the film where he proves that his talent is music alone by playing the violin, and the background music for it is one of the best in Telugu Cinema
- It is interesting to see S.P.Shailaja and Subhalekha Sudhakar, the real time husband and wife dub for Savitri and her husband’s characters in the film! Their voices add so much for the film’s natural value!
- Some of the greatest stalwarts in Indian Classical dance choreographed different songs in the film.
Gopikrishna- Ghallu Ghallu
Sheshu- Akasham lo
Smt.K.Umaramarao – Koluvai Unnade
Seenu- Shiva Poojaku
K.V. Satyanarayana- Aangikam and Cheri Yeshodaku (Bit songs in the film)
This is one of those few films in Telugu Cinema which was taken utmost care in the dance department.