Earthly voice, royal physical structure, clarity in diction and amazing ease in delivering even the toughest lines which have complicated Sanskrit grammar, breathtaking histrionics, commanding gait- all these aspects are present in one and only SVR! Though he proved it many times with his memorable performances, Nartanasaala strengthens this fact perhaps in a little higher note. SVR was awarded best actor award in Djakarta International Festival for that year as well. Despite the short screen presence, SVR made his character Keechaka immortal with his superior acting skills.
The film is based on Viraata Parvam from the Epic book Mahabharata. As a result of clever plan made by Shakuni and Kauravas, Pandavas lose the game of dice and go to forest exile. After staying in forest, they are supposed to stay in a kingdom hiding their identities in order to complete the exile period. Pandavas hide their real identities and join in different jobs- Arjuna as Brunahannala (Sr.NTR), Dharmaraja as an advisor to the king viraata and so on. Keechaka is the brother of Viraata’s wife Sudheshna. Keechaka is an invincible warrior and nobody has the dare to oppose his word in the kingdom. Once Keechaka looks at Sairendri (Savitri) who is none other than Draupadi- the wife of Pandavas and immediately falls for her beauty. He puts pressure on his sister in order to send Sairendri to his private chamber and lusts for her. An upset Draupadi discusses this matter with her husbands and as per plan, she invites Keechaka to ‘Nartanasaala’ and insists that he comes alone. Bheema, who is in the disguise of a cook in the kingdom arrives as Sairendri, and kills Keechaka.
SVR is flawless as Keechaka in this film. His character defines lot of multiple shades such as Love, Lust, Aggression, Anger, Fear and so on. His dialogue delivery when he falls for Draupadi is best till date. He proved that no other actor can take his place and immortalized the role of Keechaka. Sr.NTR did a challenging role as the eunuch Bruhannala, with feminine traits and body language. Savitri is phenomenal as Draupadi in disguise and looks brilliant in every frame. Mukkamala is ideal as the king of Viraata. Sobhan Babu, Relangi and L .Vijayalakshmi get memorable roles.
Dialogues by Samudrala Senior work wonders on the audience. Keechaka’s perfect lines are an asset. Music by Susarla Dakshina Murthy is one of the main reasons for the brilliance of the film. Songs like ‘Sakhiya Vivarinchave’, ‘Dariki Raaboku Raja’ , ‘Janani Sivakaamini’, ‘Naravara O Kuruvara’, ‘Evvarikosam Ee Mandahasam’ and the classical epic ‘Salalitha Raaga Sudha Rasa’ sung by the carnatic music exponent Dr.M.Balamurali Krishna takes the film to a new level. Choreography is another great aspect for it. Kamalakara Kameshwara Rao’s flawless direction makes it an undisputable epic in Telugu Cinema.
Cast and Crew:
Uttama Kumar- Relangi
Abhimanyu- Sobhan Babu
Virata Maharaju- Mukkamala
Dialogues- Samudrala Senior
Lyrics- Samudrala Senior, Sri Sri
Poems- Srimadrandhra Mahabharatam (Tikkana)
Music- Susarla Dakshinamurthy
Producer- Sridhara Rao, Lakshmi Rajyan
Direction- Kamalakara Kameshwararao
Banner- Rajyam Pictures
Release Date- 11th October 1963