Kaalam Maarindi (1972) - Retrospective

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 - 15:15
Technical: 35 mm; Black and White; Reels: 17
Cast: Sobhan Babu (as Srinivas Rao), Sarada (as Santhi), Gummadi Venkateswara Rao (as Lakshmipati), Anjali Devi (as Annapurna), Rao Gopal Rao as Koteshu, Chandramohan (Krishnavataram) Geethanjali (Geeta), Suryakantham (Srinivasa Rao's Grandmother), 'Sakshi' Rangarao (Adisheshavataram), Pushpakumari (Thaayaru), Allu Ramalingaiah (as MLA Ekambaram), Ravi Kondala Rao, K.V. Chalam, Potti Prasad, Chalapathi Rao, Devadas Kanakala (debut), Nirmalamma, Baby Dolly, Baby Gowri
Story: Mamatha Productions, K. Viswanath
Dialogues: Bollimuntha Sivaramakrishna
Lyrics: Devulapalli Krishna Sastry, Dasarathi, Kosaraju, C. Narayana Reddy
Playback: Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao, P. Susheela, S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, Ramakrishna, L.R. Eswari, S. Rajeswara Rao
Music: Saluri Rajeswara Rao (100th film)
Camera: Ashok Kumar
Editing: Satyam. K
Art: Kaladhar
Asst. Director: N. Gopalakrishna
Banner: Mamata Productions
Producer: Vasiraju Prakasham
Screenplay, Direction: K. Viswanath
Song Singers Lyrics Cast
chaaturvarNam mayaakRshNam
Ghantasala    Gummadi
E talli paaDEnu jOla Ghantasala, P. Susheela Devulapalli Krishna Sastry Gummadi, Anjali Devi
nijam telusukOnDi Ramakrishna Dasarathi Sobhan Babu
sannajaaji sogasundi Ghantasala, P. Susheela C. Narayana Reddy Sobhan Babu, Sarada
maaralEdulE kaalam S. Rajeswara Rao Dasarathi  
O namO naaraayaNaaya P. Susheela  Devulapall Krishna Sastry Sarada
EmiTayyaa sarasaalu Kosaraju  S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, L.R. Eswari   Chandramohan, Geethanjali
mundarunna chinnadaanni andamEmO Ghantasala, P. Susheela Dasarathi  Sobhan Babu, Sarada


Lakshmipati (Gummadi) is a landlord in a village. Koteshu (Rao Gopal Rao) is his servant who is from a backward class and dies while protecting Lakshmipati's crops, leaving his only daughter in the hands of Lakshmipati. Lakshmipati takes the baby girl to his house against the objections of the villagers and moves to town. Srinivas Rao (Sobhan Babu) falls in love with Santhi (Sarada) who is none other the untouchable girl brought up by Lakshmipati. But Srinivasa Rao's grandmother is very orthodox and is against the marriage. How Santhi brings a change in her with her love forms the rest of the story.

About the film:
The film was dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi who was against untouchability all his life. The film has some very touching and beautiful scenes and moments. For example, Annapurna accepts Santhi as her daughter but is unable to digest when her husband Lakshmipati feeds Santhi from his plate. She tries to hide her emotions with her face bent down as if reading a book. Though the film was based on real-life incidents, some characters and a couple of scenes were inspired by Bimal Roy's classic Sujatha (1959) in which Nutan won a Filmfare award for portraying the title role as an untouchable girl. The role of Geeta (Geethanjali) is entirely inspired from Sujatha too, where Sashikala played the positive role. Geeta accepts Santhi as her sister and never shows any difference and stands for her all the time, portraying the real bonding between siblings.

This film marks the 100th film for music genius S. Rajeswara Rao. The film has super hit songs like sannajaaji sogasundi..., E talli paaDEnu jOla..., mundarunna chinnadaani andamEmO..., etc.. The film itself was a decent hit too, and celebrated 100 days in five centers. It went on to win two Nandi Awards that year for the Best Film and Best Story categories.

Producer Vasiraju Prakasham speaks about the film...
I was working as a journalist in Filmfare, which was a part of the Times of India group. I was the only journalist for them in Madras at that time working for Times of India. I worked there for almost 25 years (1970-1995). The incident that inspired the movie happened in the life of a very near relative. I conceived the basic story line based on the incident, and I went to Sree Bollimuntha Sivaramakrishna gaaru, who expanded it into a full-length story and we approached K. Viswanath gaaru to direct the film for me.

My only choice for the artistes were Sobhan Babu and Sarada. I thought Sarada suited the role well, as she has a very innocent face and beautiful eyes. For the role of the brahmin boy, I had only one person in the mind - Sobhan Babu - and he did complete justice to the role. Sobhan was very disciplined and used to be very punctual in his timings. He used to work only 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but was also very cooperative. He used to work late hours if required. Sarada, on the other hand, is different. We needed to in fact tell her each day that the shooting is over and that she can go home. It was work was the only thing she knew - work, work, and more work! ...Devadas Kanakala was then working in song and drama division, and I called him to ask him to act in the film. He worked only for three hours and completed the whole scene and went back the same day. That was his debut into film acting! Chandramohan, Devadas Kanakala, and I were roommates for some time. I knew Chandramohan from the days of Rangula Raatnam. Owing to the friendship we thus shared, he acted in this film. Incidentally, this was his first film under the direction of K. Viswanath gaaru. All the artistes were completely cooperative for the film ...except one artiste whose name I do not want to mention now, as it's all over thirty years back.

The film was 100th film for Saluri gaaru, we got to know that when he mentioned it casually while recording a song one day. We immediately called all the music directors and singers and arranged lunch for all of them and felicitated him in the recording theatre itself! P. Susheela gaaru was in the recording theater for the song E talli paaDEnu jOla... - she completed it after the feliciation that day. All the singers and music directors in Chennai were there from 12 noon to 4 p.m. that day in the recording theater, which is a memorable moment for me. As it is his hundredth film, S. Rajeswara Rao also lent his voice for a song in the movie after a long time (maaraledulE kaalam, maaraledu ee lOkam...). 

We actually thought nijam telusukOnDi... sung by Ramakrishna (lyrics by Dasarathi) will be a bigger hit than the other songs, but E talli paaDEnu jOla... and mundarunna chinnadaani... were all-time hits, and I am happy anyway!

The film was completely shot in Madras. We planned to wrap the budget up in five lakh rupees, but other than the lead pair I went along with the decision of K. Viswanath gaaru. We completed it in four lakhs and fifty thousand rupees (As a comparison, Sobhan Babu-Sarada combo films like Sarada, Idaa Lokam...! spent about six lakh rupees per film at that time.) Most of the films then were financed by distributors. Lakshmi Films came forward to finance our film. My capital was only fifty thousand rupees, and the rest of the money was arranged by Lakshmi Films. I think the film collected around thirteen lakh rupees at that time, because after the capital investment and the threater rent and other expenses, they gave me five lakhs in the first run. (The distributors used to have rights to the film for four or five years, depending on the contract, and they can screen the film during this time, deduct fifteen to twenty per cent as their commission and pay the rest to the producer).

The film released in 30 centers and celebrated 100 days in five centers at that time - Hyderabad (Venkatesa - it was not 70 mm at that time), Vijayawada, Guntur, Vizag, and Tirupathi were the centers. It won two Nandi Awards that year, Best film and best story. (That was a time when there were no awards announced for the Best Artistes, including hero and heroine.) As we were all in Madras at that time, the state government offered to arrange three extra tickets and accommodation for any artistes that we can choose to attend the function, besides the producer, director, and the writer. Thus, Sobhan Babu, Sarada, and Anjali Devi attended the function along with us. We again felicitated Saluri gaaru at Ravindra Bharathi, Hyderabad then.

Later, my name appeared as the producer for films like Bommala Koluvu and Palle Paduchu, but my contribution was very less for these films, as a matter of fact. Bennett and Coleman, who own the Times of India, never permitted me to do another film after this film. Palle Paduchu was a commerically success that was later remade in Tamil and became a bigger hit than in Telugu. Bommala Koluvu was an average film on the other hand. I still have a zeal to make a film, though I do not have any money to spare for a film. I have a wonderful script to do a film, but due to lack of financial resources, I am not doing it. I can ask Girish Sanghi, my employer, with whom I share a very good relationship, but it's not my nature to use people. So I chose not to do not that.

Article  by : Sri 
Edited  by: Nachaki