There were many films in Telugu Cinema based on various sequences from the Hindu Mythological Epic Ramayana.’ Sitarama Jananam’, ‘Sitarama Kalyanam’, ‘Lava Kusa’ ,’Paaduka Pattabhishekam’, ‘ Sita Kalyanam’, ‘Srirama Pattabhishekam’,’ Sri Rama Rajyam’,’Sitarama Vanavasam’,’Mairavana’, ‘Veeranjaneya’- and so on come under this category. However, the complete story of Lord Rama right from his birth to occupying the throne – there were only five films with the name of Sampoorna Ramayanam in the history of Telugu Cinema. In these, three are straight films and two films are dubbed.
Sampoorna Ramanayam was made in Telugu during the year 1936 for the first time. The prominent football player of that age Nidamarthi Surayya hailing from Rajahmundry produced this film. He established the first ever film theatre ‘Krishna Cinema’ in Rajahmundry during the year 1924 and used to play Mookie films of Dada Saheb Phalke. With that inspiration he established Cine Tone Studios along with his brother and made Sampoorna Ramayanam with E.Nagabhushanam, S.B.Narayana in direction department and actors like Pushapalli, Mukkapalli Subbarao, Musanuru Suryanarayana Bhagavatar and so on. But due to technical difficulties the film’s output did not come out well. But recognizing its Historical importance, Mullapudi Venkataramana sent the film to Pune Film Archives by taking permission from the owners.
The second Sampoorna Ramayanam was made in Tamil and was dubbed into Telugu in the year 1958. NTR played the role of Lord Rama, Padmini as Sita, and Shivaji Ganesan played the role of Bharata. Actors who were familiar to Telugu Audience like Nagaiah and G.Varalakshmi played other roles. However, making another person dub for the voice of NTR and having a total dubbing flavor, the film was not much successful. After this, Basanth Vadia Brothers produced Sampoorna Ramayanam in Hindi and it was dubbed in Telugu during the year 1961. Mahakavi Sri Sri wrote the dialogues and lyrics for the film. Prominent mythological Hindi actors of that age- Mahipal and Anitha Guha played the lead roles.
This followed Bapu-Ramana’s Sampoorna Ramayanam in 1972 thereby making an Epic in Telugu Cinema. Stalwarts like Sobhan Babu, Chandrakala, S.V.Ranga Rao, Arja Janardhana Rao played the lead roles in this film. While Arudra and Mullapudi wrote the dialogues, Devulapalli, C.Narayana Reddy, Dasaradhi and Arudha wrote the lyrics. People like Panuganti, and Gabbita wrote the poems. K.V.Mahadevan gave evergreen music for the film. Ravikanth Nagayik’s trick photography was of Hollywood standards. It was greatly admired and received well by the Telugu Audience.
In 1997, prominent producer M.S.Reddy made Ramayanam with Gunasekhar in the direction department and having kids in the lead roles. Lord Rama’s role was played by Jr.NTR and his performance was well appreciated saying he got his grandfather’s looks and acting skills. Ramayana and Mahabharata are such fantastic epics which would be great to watch any number of times provided the film makers have the right talent.