Punyavathi is one unique film which doesn’t feature Sobhan Babu in his typical attire- with glamor, heroines and lot of commercial entertainment value. The film features stalwarts like Sr.NTR, SVR, Bhanumathi, Krishnakumari and Haranath instead. Nevertheless, the audience admired Sobhan Babu’s portrayal of a youngster with high admiration. When his character was deprived of parents affection, the audience empathized with him. They were in shock when he roamed as a drunkard. They were amazed when the character showed concern towards the poor. They applauded hard when his character united his family members and made the story a happy ending. This is why Sobhan Babu earned a great name for his portrayal in Punyavathi.
Professor Krishna Rao (SVR) is a great educationist. During his youth, he loves a woman named Parvathi (Pandaribai) and gets married to her. The couple has a son Prakash (Sr.NTR) and due to some dire circumstances their family gets separated. After sincere search for his lost wife and son, Krishna Rao marries another woman Padmavathi (Bhanumathi) eventually. This couple has two children Sekhar (Sobhan Babu) and Chitra( Jyothi Lakshmi). Along with these kids, Krishna Rao adopts friend’s daughter Shanthi( Krishnakumari). Padmavathi is an irresponsible woman who neglects family life and goes around clubs and parties. To make things worse, she makes Chitra accustomed to this lifestyle. As a result, Chitra falls for a wrong man Ramesh (Haranath), gets pregnant and commits suicide when she gets cheated. Sekhar gets shattered with his sister’s unfortunate demise and becomes a heavy drunkard in the rice mill he works. He roams around with fellow industry workers in search of affection and love. Meanwhile, Parvathi takes care of her son well and he becomes a lecturer but he grows up with hatred towards his father. Incidentally, Prakash takes guidance from Professor Krishna Rao not being aware that the latter is his father. Prakash even falls for Shanthi who stays in Professor’s house and as time passes by, a great bonding of respect forms between Prakash and Krishna Rao. The saddened parents Krishna Rao and Padmavathi become bedridden with Chitra’s death and with Shanti’s good words, Sekhar comes to the family’s rescue. He unites the family with great difficulty and the film ends happily when Krishna Rao and Padmavathi realize the greatness of Punyavathi- none other than his first wife Parvathi.
Sobhan Babu is extremely good in the role of Sekhar. His role demands lot of emotions, shades and histrionics. It is not an easy task to act confidently on par with great senior artists like SVR, Sr.NTR and Bhanumathi but Sobhan Babu pulls it off with brilliant ease. SVR is earthly as the professor and a considerate family man. Bhanumathi is fantastic as the rash housewife who realizes her mistake later. Haranath is evil as the cheater and Jyothi Lakshmi gets a good role to perform. Krishnakumari is adorable as the balanced woman Shanthi. Pandaribai is adequate in the title role Punyavathi.
The film is great on directional skills thanks to Dada Mirashi. Dialogues by D.V.Narasa Raju are crisply written with wonderful sensibilities. Music by Ghantasala is lifeline of the film and Dr.C.Narayana Reddy’s lyrics make the audience ponder over the issues.
Cast and Crew:
Sekhar- Sobhan Babu
Prof. Krishna Rao- SVR
Chitra- Jyothi Lakshmi
Written by- D.V.Narasa Raju
Lyrics- Dr.C.Narayana Reddy
Producer- Vasu Menon
Direction- Dada Mirashi
Release Date- 3rd November 1967
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