In an era of 2000s when Telugu Cinema was totally in a different world of Rayalaseema, Fast Paced Fight sequences, Punch Dialogues and heavy budget in the form of expensive sets for the film production, there was a whiff of fresh air in the year 2004. Then came some films which not only made the audience re-think where they are going, and what they really want from life.
The classic debate of simple vs glorified life started again after these films were released. These films made people think in the “slower” and more realistic pace away from the commercial cinema.
Such films made the audience as well as film makers realize the importance of Simple Living and the importance of story/dialogues more than needless action sequences and ear-breaking background music.
Such films proved once again that for a film to be unforgettable- the characterization of lead roles is of prime importance more than anything else. One such Epic movie is Rajendra Prasad starrer Aa Naluguru. This movie falls under a bigger category of thought- about the importance of Humanity in life.
At the first look, the film might look very preachy and idealistic for the common film goer. That sure must be because, in the frightening pace of modern era, we feel suspicious about a stranger who would want to offer unconditional help to us also!
When we come to think what life is really about- we come to the prospect of priorities. If the sole priority of life is Money for one person, it can be living happy with what one has for other. There is another category of people (Very few-unfortunately!) who live by sharing/helping others and love family as well as outside world equally and dearly! Aa Naluguru talks about one such character Raghuram (Played Phenomenally by Rajendra Prasad) and the problems he faces in life with such attitude and his journey beyond worldly living.
Story Details: The movie is a story of Raghuram (Rajendra Prasad) and his journey in life. He is a newspaper editor by profession but a philanthropist at heart. His strength as well as weakness is that- he treats people at home as well as outsiders as one single family. Naturally, this attitude earns him lot of opposition in personal as well as professional level. Raghuram’s best friend Subrahmanyam (Subhalekha Sudhakar) is a practical man, who believes in moving with the changing times. Kotayya (Kota Srinivasa Rao) is a pure businessman in every respect- who gives debts to people in the colony Raghuram resides in.
Raghuram’s life starts taking a serious turn when his children demand him to help them financially so that they can settle in their Education/ Job etc., but Raghuram gets more determined to follow his path. When Raghuram’s affectionate wife Bharati (Amani) also demands the same from him, Raghuram gets into a tricky situation to choose what is important in life. Being a person who firmly believes that is love towards fellow human beings is what runs the World, Raghuram feels devastated seeing the opposition in his own house. He takes a debt from Kotayya , agreeing half-heartedly that Money is only important in life- on order to fulfill his family’s wishes.
What more is in store for Raghuram? Is it money or Humanity which celebrates its victory eventually? – is what sums up the remaining movie. As the movie progresses by, there are many twists in turns which showcase how Money and greed transforms an individual and what is really the meaning of living eternally for the people.
People Behind the Screen: The director Chandra Siddartha has to be highly commended for the phenomenal work he did for the film. Every frame speaks of some meaning and the characterizations are crystal clear- right from the beginning. There is no much needed grandeur in the locations he filmed- which are so natural that we feel the lead characters are someone next door! Story and dialogue writer Madan (Who later ventured out to direction as well) is another asset for the film. He showed that a writer with a clear idea in mind can work wonders. Such simple narration about hard realities in life was breathtakingly shown in the dialogues for the film. One such dialogue which a devastated Raghuram tells his family, when he is in agony about Money’s influence goes this way :
“When rupee is asked what you are capable of, it said it would make Harishandra(Popular character in Telugu Mythology who is known for being highly truthful) tell a lie, create a rift between husband and wife, make father and son separated, start enmity between brother and sister, and ultimately even make closest friends fight. I used to think that my house is immune to that rupee. But that rupee literally broke into my house and destroyed all the relationships and sold them off in a calculated manner”
Such dialogues make the audience think where are we going in the mad race of money earning in life! Another contrasting dialogue of Subrahmanyam (Subhalekha Sudhakar) to Raghuram (Rajendra Prasad) about living practically in life goes like this :
Mundhu nee kallaku cheppulu unnayo levo chudu..tarvatha prapanchaniki carpet paruddhugani” “First see whether you have footwear to protect your legs. Then you can arrange for a carpet for the World!”
Music by R.P.Patnaik is adequate and suits the film’s theme. The background song sung by SPB in the climax is one of the highlights for the film.
Performances: Rajendra Prasad is truly the star of the movie who takes the film on his shoulders right from the first frame till the last. His dialogue delivery, variations in mood, body language perfectly suit for the character of Raghuram who is a middle aged family man. Amani delivers another wonderful performance as the affectionate wife of Raghuram. Her role is crucial to the film, because as a wife of an idealist, she has to act like a pacifying wave to her husband as well as her kids. Bharati’s role is like an example of many middle class family women who have this trouble on a day to day basis.
Subhalekha Sudhakar is perfect as the practical friend of Rajendra Prasad and has a important role to play in the story of the film. Kota Srinivasa Rao delivers another fantastic performance as the money minded businessman Kotayya, but his character does not limit to that shade alone. His performance in climax will make every viewer surprised with the changeover along with Kota’s mesmerizing acting skills.
Raja (of Anand Fame) played the role of Raghuram’s elder son . He gave a balanced performance having different shades and the madness required going after Money. Aa Naluguru also explains about the importance of “dignity of labour” and respecting one’s own country along with maintaining the right work-life balance in the fast paced era of Today! The film bagged Nandi Award for the best feature film , best actor (Rajendra Prasad) and best character actor (Kota Srinivasa Rao) for the year 2004.
Cast and Crew: Raghuram- Rajendra Prasad Bharathi- Amani Kotayya- Kota Srinivasa Rao Subrahmanyam- Subhalekha Sudhakar Raghuram’s Elder Son- Raja Music : R.P.Patnaik Written By: Madan Editing: Girish Lokesh Cinematography: Surendra Reddy Producer: Saritha Patra Director: Chandra Siddarth Release Date: 9th December 2004