Chiranjeevi, Vijaya Shanti, Suhasini Maniratnam
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Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao
K S Rama Rao
A. Kodandarami Reddy
- Audio release date
Challenge story at a glance
Late 1970s was an era with huge craze for Yandamoori Veerendranath’s novels in Andhra Pradesh. Telugu people admired his novels for the novelty, interesting characterizations, suspense elements and what not! His novels had not only a powerful hero but also strong female characterizations. It was during the early 1980s era a wonderful film trio emerged featuring Chiranjeevi as the hero, Kodanda Rami Reddy as director and Maestro Ilaiyaraaja in music department. Though Abhilasha was the first film which emerged in this combination, Challenge remains to be one of the most unique hits of Chiranjeevi and turned him to an actor with high commercial value along with great performance oriented skills. The film questions many aspects of Indian living such as employment, education, intelligence and the importance of money in human life.
The basic story line is from Yandamoori Veerendranath’s superhit novel Dabbu to the Power of Dabbu. Gandhi (Chiranjeevi) is an unemployed youth but very confident about his knowledge and skills he possess. The film begins with Gandhi trying to save his ill mother but due to lack of money, his mother dies in tragic circumstances. The ward boy (Saikumar) demands a bribe from Gandhi to look after the dead body properly and it was when Gandhi meets Harika (Vijayashanthi) for the first time. Harika is the daughter of Ram mohan Rao (Rao Gopala Rao) a rich industrialist. Gandhi showcases his intelligence with a puzzle and tries to earn money for his mother’s last rites. As the story progresses by, Gandhi meets Lakshmi (Suhasini) a confident young woman who offers him place to say in his house. At one moment Gandhi confronts with Ram Mohan Rao and challenges that earning money is not a great task and anybody would do it easily. An arrogant Ram Mohan Rao humiliates Gandhi in such a way that the latter challenges him saying he will earn 50 Lakhs of rupees in a period of 5 years- lawfully. The rest of the film is about how Gandhi attains this goal with his pure cleverness and who becomes his life partner- Harika or Lakshmi.
Chiranjeevi shines as the unemployed and agitated youngster- a representation of many youth of India during the 80s era. His dialogue delivery, mannerisms and energetic dances was quite instrumental in making the film a commercial hit. Suhasini is brilliant as the earthly woman with lot of positivity and confidence. Chiranjeevi and Suhasini’s hit pair which began with Manchu Pallaki went into commercial dimension with this film. Vijayashanthi is wonderful as the mellowed female lead equipped with brains. Her character is shown brilliantly and she looks graceful in dances opposite Chiranjeevi in the film. Rao Gopal Rao is just perfect as the arrogant businessman and a commanding father. Saikumar is excellent as the ward boy. Gollapudi Maruthi Rao, Rajendra Prasad and others played pivotal roles in the film.
It is not an easy thing to re write a novel with added commercial elements without compromising the essence of the original source. Yandamuri Veerendranath did a fantastic job as the writer for the film. The key scenes involving argument between Gandhi and Ram mohan Rao were brilliantly penned by him suiting the feature film requirements. Lok Singh’s Cinematography is an asset for the film and he showed the beauty of Vizag brilliantly in every frame. Music by Ilaiyaraaja rocked AP during the time of its release and songs like Indhuvadana, Sayamkaalam, Bhama became the anthems of 80s youth. Kodanda Rami Reddy proved yet again that he is a fantastic commercial director with this film.
Cast and Crew:
Ward Boy- Saikumar
Ram Mohan Rao- Rao Gopala Rao
Lakshmi’s Elder Brother- Gollapudi Maruthi Rao
Vidyarthi- Rajendra Prasad
Writer- Yandamoori Veerendranath
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