Very few films in Telugu Cinema speak greatly of Art and pay utmost respect to it. K.Vishwanath is one such director who began this trend with Shankarabharanam, when Telugu Cinema is stuck with commercial films. This film changed the phase of Telugu Cinema forever, witnessing many such artistic epics later. One such fantastic and unconventional Art Epic film is Sirivennela released in 1986. This film broke many regular conventions of Telugu Cinema where the male lead is not invincible- but a blind flautist. The female lead is neither glamorous or dressed in full makeup- but an artist next door but dumb. This legendary film introduced one of the greatest film song lyricists of all time- Sitarama Sastry to Telugu Cinema. His work is so phenomenal in the first film itself that, his name became Sirivennela Sitaramasastry from then.
The film features the musical and emotional journey of a blind flautist Pt. Hari Prasad (Sarvadaman Benarjee) , from a remote village to a great performing artist. He belongs to a remote village with his doting sister (Samyuktha) and earns a living by performing flute for tourists there. He meets Subhashini (Suhasini), an affectionate mute woman who loves painting. Subhashini finds Hari to be incredibly talented and silently admires him for his work. Meanwhile, Hari meets Jyothirmayi (Moon Moon Sen) who unleashes the hidden musical talent in him by making him realize the wonders of nature- so that he could perform better. Hari rightfully becomes a great flautist with her inspiration and falls in love with her, dedicating all his albums to her. Subhashini also starts loving Hari and paints for him. However, Jyothirmayi feels guilty to marry Hari because of her promiscuous past life and commits suicide on the day of their scheduled wedding. A distraught Hari comes to know her last wish of donating her eyes to him and live with Subhashini ever after.
Suhasini took a real challenge of performing the role of a dumb artist and she brings earthliness, poise and brilliant fragrance to the film. Her mild and sensitive expressions add so much value to the overall movie. She looks perfect in simple cotton sarees and adds grace to every costume she adorns. She outperforms everyone in the climax emotional scenes. Sarvadaman Benarjee is excellent as the blind flautist Hari despite looking like a non-Telugu in attire. Saikumar’s sensitive dubbing for him is another asset. Moon Moon Sen played a crucial role of Jyothirmayi and she does it brilliantly. Samyuktha is sweet as the sister of Hari. Subhalekha Sudhakar, Mishro, Ramana Murthy and Sakshi Ranga Rao played in pivotal roles for the film. Meena played a significant role as a blind girl who dreams of watching the moonlight.
The story and screenplay was written by Vishwanath himself along with Sainath who did some brilliant work together for many films that came later such as Swarna Kamalam. Music by K.V.Mahadevan is the life and soul of the film where every song became a gem. Aadhi Bhikshuvu, Ee Gali Ee Nela, Vidhaata Talapuna, Merise Taaraladheroopam, became all time hits. Hari Prasad Chaurasia himself played the flute renderings in the film which give a realistic feel. Sirivennela Sitaramasastry’s lyrics on Lord Shiva and the divinity took the film to sky heights.
Cast and Crew:
Pt.Hari Prasad- Sarvadaman Benarjee
Jyothirmayi- Moon Moon Sen
Hari’s Sister- Samyuktha
Blind Girl- Baby Meena
Written by- K.Vishwanath and Akella Sainath
Lyrics- Sirivennela Sitaramasastry
Music- K.V.Mahadevan and Pt.Hari Prasad Chaurasia (Flute Renderings)
Producers- Ch.Ramakrishna Reddy, N.Bhaskara Reddy, U.Chinnaveerraju
Banner- Geetha Krishna Movie Combines
Release Date- 20th May 1986
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