In the field of literature, critics say that drama writing is most challenging and the drama “Shakuntala” written by Mahakavi Kalidasu is termed as one of the greatest stage play ever. There were several films made, which were based on this play. Prominent actor, producer and director V.Shantaram made this story as a Hindi movie twice. “Shakuntala” released in 1943 and “Stree” in 1962 were made by Shantaram, which were big hits. It is interesting to know that Shantaram played the role of male protagonist Dushyantha in “Stree”. Telugu Cinema was of no exception in getting influenced by this epic play. iQlik movies exclusively brings you the details about it.
Shakuntala was made in 1932 for the first time in Telugu. “Select pictures circuits” production house made this film after “Sri Rama Pattabhishekam”. The prominent stage actor of that age Yadavillli Suryanarayana Rao garu played the role of Dushyantha and Surabhi Kamalabai played the role of Shakuntala. Nellore Nagaraja Rao, B.Venkata Rao and so on comprised of the remaining cast in the film. But since the film was based on a stage drama, it did not gain much appreciation. Some critics felt the reason might be because of the lack of good photography in the film.
After 34 years since the first Shakuntala film in Telugu was made, Rajyam Pictures production house (Producers: Sridhar Rao and Lakshmi Rajyam) made the film again with popular director Kamalakar Kameshwara Rao garu. Senior Samudrala garu wrote the script for the film and Ghantasala garu composed the music. Sr.NTR acted as Dushyantha, B.Saroja Devi adorned the role of Shakuntala and Nagaiah garu appeared as the Sage. Popular comedian and dialogue writer Ravi Kondala Rao Garu worked as an assistant director for this film. When Senior Samudrala garu was writing script for this film, Ravi Kondala Rao (who also had experience in Stage play writing) wrote some entertaining sequences relating to fishermen during breaks. After coming from the break, Samudrala garu was pleasantly surprised to see these new add-ons and kept them in the film as they were!
Despite having great songs and good acting performances, Shakuntala could not gain the appreciation of Telugu Audience. But when this film was dubbed in Bengali, it was a huge success!
Another interesting fact about Shakuntala - In Anjali Pictures movie “Paradesi” starring ANR and Anjali Devi, the love story between Shakuntala- Dushyantha was beautifully crafted as a drama. Motion effect was used for the first time in Telugu Cinema for it. When the movie became a success, the producer Adinarayana Rao garu again wanted to make a full length movie Shakuntala featuring ANR-Anjali Devi. But when ANR politely refused to do the role saying he would not be suitable for the role of Dushyantha, the project was shelved.
In Sr.NTR’s “Vishwamitra”, the story of Shakuntala was enacted yet again. Sr.NTR’s son Nandamuri Balakrishna played the role of Dushyantha in it.