It was the year 2004. Telugu Cinema was drenched in violence, Rayalaseema, fights, or needless dance sequences with absolutely minimal role to the heroine except for a few dance sequences (Dance literally means western dance and classical dance has almost become extinct in Telugu movies!). The role of heroine was to have no brains, look glamorous, and disappear in thin air with respect to characterization. Another aspect which started blooming those days was that a film with high-budget is bound to be a hit. This made the directors and producers to “create” stories which have scope for special effects and gain back money in this process. Music was becoming extremely westernized and having an Indian Classical number in a Telugu album was slowly disappearing during that time.
Then this movie called Anand arrived( Manchi Coffee Lanti Cinema-tagline!) directed by Mr. Sekhar Kammula. An Engineering graduate who studied MFA in USA has turned Telugu Cinema literally upside down in that year!This movie stunned the audience with the breathtakingly simple way of story telling, yet having a powerful impact on the viewer! Sekhar rose to prominence by Anand and people have started re-thinking about the brilliance of simple life and little happiness which were lost in the course of money earning and building lavish houses on the account of IT industry boom! Bapu was one director who showed that happiness comes from simple living and doing the sweet little things which go amiss in the midst of busy schedule and I can definitely say Sekhar has brought back that wonderful era of simple movies with strong characters and extraordinary story telling technique!
In short, this movie proved the people who think high-budget,star value and needless fight sequences will only work in current Telugu Cinema. It also showed that if a movie is made with honesty and has excellent story line, the audience admire it with all their admiration!
There are many reasons for Telugu people admiring the movie Anand by Shekhar Kammula. Let it be the freshness of it, or a thought-provoking points it emphasized on, or Rupa’s character, or the music……..but I felt it was really a welcome change for Telugu Cinema after the gross commercial movies comprising of loads of budget and show lot of carnage, but no sensible content at all. But, this movie has been my favorite ever since I saw it because, right from the first frame, there was something different in this movie when compared to other Telugu films. The dialogue delivery of the cast looks so natural, as if they are friends next door
Apart from all the aspects of this movie, I loved the character of Rupa played brilliantly by Kamalinee Mukherjee. Despite losing her parents at such an early age, without standing back because of it, she tries her best to live independently and never compromises with her identity. Not that she doesn’t respect traditions and she is a rebel, but she cannot stand if anyone claims her independence. She even comes up to an extent of breaking her marriage with her fiancée Rahul who along with his mother tries to change her in every aspect they could ever think of. They suppress her regarding dressing, job or regional bias, traditions, her way of living and finally when she was asked for wearing the wedding saree which was given by them, she shows courage and tells her would-be mother-in-law that she wants to wear her mother’s saree as she feels that if she does so, her mother is along with her. But when they want to change even her life which she lived in the house she lived as a child, she breaks up her marriage for saving her own neck from those people. Though she initially feels that what she did was wrong and feels regretted, but later she develops such an inner strength which makes any girl who watch her proud. I personally feel that a girl should be like Rupa, who should not sacrifice herself for anyone, rather it might be the guy who she is going to be married, or her parents who gave birth to her. She should not sacrifice most importantly because she is a girl, and inferior to a guy.
It is at this moment, Anand (Raja-who was identified as an actor with “Good guy” image after acting in this film!), an NRI guy who happens to attend this wedding, admires Rupa’s strength and wants to know more about her personality. And the rest of the movie is all about how Anand gets interested about Rupa and after some petty arguments, how both of them get together.
The way in which Rupa deals with the tough situations in her life right from losing parents at an early age and trying to be as self-dependent as possible is really admirable. Sekhar Kammula etched her character in such a beautiful way that I am sure everyone of us must have interacted with a girl like Rupa at some point of life or other. In short, I personally feel there is a Rupa in every girl at heart because independence is a girl’s primary entity.
An important aspect in the storyline of this movie is that Rupa’s parents die in a car accident made by Anand’s father who gets drunk then. This makes Anand feel more guilty and tries to help Rupa by staying near her house as much as possible. At one situation after Rupa’s parents’ death anniversary, Anand asks her whether she ever held grudge against the person who did that accident. Rupa (who is in the vow of silence at that time) asks for a paper and pen and writes she always felt responsible for their deaths but nobody else. And the way she says fate decides it all in a beautiful gesture is one of the best scenes I watched in any of the recent movies!
This movie also throws light on some timid men who are unable to take strong decisions in life through the character Rahul. He is torn between the love for his mother and at the same time wants to gain Rupa by marrying her in some way or other. He takes side of his mother when the time of defending Rupa arrives and feels sad about it later. The confused nature of some modern men who are caught in between tradition and modern values was shown perfectly by Shekhar in this movie!
Another special mention is to be made for the actress Satya Krishnan (Who also acted in Sekhar’s first project Dollar Dreams) as Anita, the bold friend of Rupa! Her dialogue delivery and her easy going nature was like a real treat to watch in the movie! It is indeed true that till that point of time we happened to see north Indian actresses with the typical dubbing voices but Satya did a wonderful job in her happy-go-lucky way of acting and brought life to her character.
The movie is filled with freshness and naturality in every frame, including the songs and background score given by K.M.Radhakrishnan. This movie can be termed as a modern classic in Telugu cinema, because whenever I see it, I never get bored with it!!
The songs and background score by K.M.Radhakrishnan is a huge asset for this film. Whether it is the brilliant use of Thyagaraja Kritis in appropriate situation (Rupa teaches carnatic music during the early morning time in her house!) or the brilliant bit song used to describe Rupa’s character, the music deserves a huge applause! It is needless to say the legendary lyricist Veturi sir brought immense life to the story through his words in every song written! I particularly like Yedalo Gaanam which describes the feelings felt by a girl who is going to be married soon and her little fears and excitement she faces during this course! The same tune was again reused when Anand and Rupa confess their love to each other (Yamuna Theeram) which has all the more fantastic lyrics yet again!
Nuvvena is another wonderful composition with wonderful lyrics about how Rupa and Anand feel when separated. It is not necessarily a love song but about the great times they had together! It also shows the maturity which emanates in their love as it does not start over just for loving each other’s sake but through strong bondage of friendship!
Vacche Vacche has become the rain song of the decade which again speaks of independence and the freedom Rupa feels after breaking the marriage and starts gaining confidence about what she did!
Anand was an attempt to get back the Culture, Music and everything which was lost in Telugu cinema these days because of the advent of more actresses coming from the north and complete change in the music style(western influence).Sekhar was successful in creating a perfect balance between Telugu tradition as well as the contemporary situations(such as Chilkur temple visit, Students going to USA for further studies etc.,).
In short, Anand is like a text-book for people who want to get into film-making and script-writing in the modern era of telugu cinema and a treat for a movie-goer or even a non-film buff to watch and cherish over!
P.S: Special credit for the filmmaker’s official website http://www.amigoscreations.com/ for the wonderful pictures which adorned my article!