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Time for golden oldies

The Indian Telugu Association is hosting a screening of Telugu classics from the golden era of Telugu cinema.



MEMORY LANE A scene from `Devadasu'(below) and veteran cinematographer Kaladhar spoke of the importance of patience and perseverance.

It is a common feature now in Hyderabad to hold screenings of old Telugu classics. In the recent past, Chennai where once such rare gems have been produced hasn't had such fortune. As if to fulfil this demand for discerning Telugu cine goers in the metropolis, the Indian Telugu Association (ITA) is holding a Telugu Film Festival of the Golden Era selecting nine all time favourites that they have called the `nine gems.' ITA was founded by B. Nagesh, its president and M. Sukumar, secretary, to bring all Telugu speaking people in the city under one umbrella and to uphold Telugu literature, culture, traditions besides promoting health and educational needs. Singeetham Srinvasa Rao said that the event has put him in a time machine and took him back to the golden era of Telugu cinema in which he had started his career as an apprentice with director K.V. Reddy.

It was with the festival's inaugural film, Maya Bazaar that the veteran first came into contact with the legendary filmmaker. "It was an unofficial apprenticeship. I was asked to observe the working of various departments from script to editing to get acquainted with the basics. My first opportunity to look through the camera lens came, thanks to the famed cinematographer, Marcus Bartley.

"And it was that magnificent scene where S.V. Rangarao as Ghatothkacha enters Dwaraka," recalled Rao. Veteran actor Padmanabham who sang a few songs said, "Though I have acted in about four five films prior to Pathala Bhairavi, it was this film that won me recognition as an actor. During my 62 years of cinematic life, I haven't seen a director like K.V. Reddy. He is a class apart." He lauded the efforts of the ITA, a nascent cultural organization for holding such a festival in the city. Popular writer, Malati Chendur who served as a member of the censor board for over a decade narrated her experiences.


But the inaugural day's hero was undoubtedly, the 90-year-old art director, Kaladhar who along with Madhavapeddi Gokhale worked for many classics of Vijaya-Vauhini including Maya Bazaar. Replying to the felicitation, Kaladhar attributed the success of yester-year classics to the excellent planning, team work and total dedication from the team. "It wasn't easy to set lighting for a black and white movie. It was a time consuming thing especially for the moon light scenes. Patience, perseverance coupled with foresight and intelligence were the hall mark."

The screening for the nine films in the festival is spread over nine Sundays, starting from September 11 and culminating with the screening of Moogamanasulu on November 6. "It was an uphill task for us to select the nine gems out of 50 all-time hits between the mid-forties and mid-sixties, considered the golden era of Telugu cinema," said M.S. Murty, chairman of the ITA. The other films in the fest are - Bhaktha Pothana, Swargaseema, Malleeswari, Devadasu, Peddamanushulu, Missamma and Narthanasala. The screenings are held at the Russian Cultural Centre.

M.L. Narasimham

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