In part 1 of this brilliant Golden Lotus, we have seen the beginning of conflict which starts between our protagonists- Meenakshi and Chandrasekhar. This conflict goes on increasing further when Chandu tries to help Meena’s family by helping her father get some scholarship money from the Government. This scene is worth describing in detail as we see how the talented people like Seshendra Sharma are judged by few arrogant Government officials who don’t even know what “Art” is all about.
When Chandu takes Seshendra Sharma to the Government office, they happen to over hear an old man who is a “Ghanaapati” ( I am sure many of the younger generation in Andhra Pradesh also don’t know what it means- thanks to the majority of the current Films and influence which surrounds them!)- who can compose a poem based on given few words spontaneously. The egoistic Government official- Played by Mishro (A talented actor who did an unforgettable role in Sagara Sangamam- directed by Vishwanath sir again- more of that when the film is discussed!) who feels “wasting time” is one of the very bad habits many people have in our society. In an arrogant tone he cuts short the old man’s recital and starts behaving rudely with him. It is when Chandu enters the scene and tells him though this official can never attain the standards of the old man, he can at least respect the gentleman and give the treatment which is deserved by the great artist. After this happens, Seshendra Sharma donates the little money he has to this old man leads us to think about the magnanimous nature of this brilliant Dance Guru!!
I am posting the same scene here as it is one of the most meaningful scenes which makes us re-think of how we treat the great symbols of culture- the learners of Art and Literature in Telugu!
The suspicion and hostility of Meena towards Chandu grows more and more when the latter paints her pictures which are put as hoardings all over the city. Though Chandu looks at Meena as a great dancer and the artist and wants her to improve the same, just like how things in the Modern World go, we tend to doubt the people who are trying to help us selflessly- Meena is one such lady who thinks the same.
In the mean time, Meena’s elder sister Savitri gets married to their neighbour’s son who is sincerely and musically in love with her! The way in which he asks Seshendra Sharma to marry Savitri is another wonderful scene in the film! He confesses musically by playing a mesmerizing violin piece which says it all- his only property is Music and that is what which is claiming to marry Savitri!
Here we also see the directors’ brilliance in showing the contrasting attitude between the two sisters- Savitri and Meena. While the former is composed, subtle and accepts life as it comes, the latter is in the hope of getting a better life and wants to escape the current style of living she is in!!
The rift between Chandu and Meena grows further when Chandu arranges a dance programme of Meena against her will and eventually he happens to slap her to get the programme run smoothly. This makes Meena furious and she does a terrible mistake by intentionally spoiling the programme in the initial stage itself. Here we see how we human beings tend to make faults by taking certain ideals of ourselves too seriously and show the anger on something else! For example, Meena is angry on Chandu’s behavior but she showed her anger on something eternal- that is the dancing skill!
At this course, something terrible happens. Unexpectedly, Meena’s father takes this as an insult to the dance skill he taught itself and comes to the stage to dance. Out of the agony and the enragement, he collapses and dies of heart failure.
Incidents of this sort happen where nobody can be accountable or responsible for it and K.Vishwanath sir’s direction, ILaiyaraaja sir’s music speak mountains about the grief, shock and terrible heartbreak experienced by Meena after her father’s death!
Meena becomes absolutely furious with Chandu in the aftermath of her father’s death and in one scene she even confronts him directly questioning who asked him to bother her to give a dance programme by force and who else other than him is responsible for her father’s death. The sharp dialogues written by Sainath were an asset to this film- and this scene in one such example! One dialogue is worth mentioning which I found very natural when an independent lady like Meena is concerned. When Chandu says matter-of-factly that she should have Tea ( As it is raining outside in the scene) , an outraged Meena says this way.
“Ilanti maryadalu kaadhandi meeru chupinchalsindhi…oka manishini manishi ga gauravinchatam maryada! Aa manishi abhiprayalaku viluva ivvatam maryada!”
“These are not the things which show respect..true respect is to see a person as him/herself! And to give respect to their opinions is real respect!”
This scene make us so empathetic and at a point of time we even feel that Chandu is the real culprit in the scene- that is the power of Vishwanath’s direction and Sainath’s dialogues in which we get so involved into Meena’s character! Needless to say Bhanupriya did her best in every scene and frame in this film!
One might think Chandu would argue or throw the blame on Meena for she being so angered on him, but he is a true gentleman at heart in every respect and action he does! He simply sends her while leaving with a raincoat as it is raining outside! This makes us instantly feel amazed at the coolness and the determination of Chandu to see Meena as a “realized” dancer!
It is now the time for another genius Sitarama Sastry sir to show is lyrical marvel in the song which arrives now- Describing the exact attitude of Chandu and Meena in the song- “Shiva Poojaku”. This song is one of the most aesthetically filmed, composed and lyrically created songs which ever came in Telugu Cinema till date! While Chandu sings
శివ పూజకు చివురించిన సిరి సిరి మువ్వా..మృదు మంజుల పద మంజరి పూసిన పూవా..
“Shiva Poojaku Chivurinchina Siri Siri Muvva..mrudu manjula pada manjari poosina poova!”
A divine sounding bell which bloomed for the puja of Shiva!A flower which is like the tender group of paadas ( fundamental to dance form) !”
Meena sings and dances flawlessly for the same tune this way:
పరుగాపక పయనించవే తలపుల నావా..కెరటాలకు తలవంచితె తరగదు త్రోవా..
“Parugaapaka Payaninchave Talapula naava…Keratalaku Thalavanchithe taragadhu throva!”
“O boat of thoughts..never stop the run you are in…if you bend for the waves the way will not clear!”
Here is the video of the same which is a must watch for Bhanupriya’s excellent dance performance (As both the realized classical dancer in Chandu’s thoughts and the modern lady as herself!) and the brilliant locations handpicked by the Swarna Kamalam team!
Such a simple, yet mesmerizing way in explaining the thought process of both the contrasting characters!! We seldom see such strong, determined yet humane characters in films and Swarna Kamalam truly stands out as a Golden Lotus which has:
Tenderness, Strength together!
Music, Dance and Lyrical brilliance together!
Humanity, anger, and hastiness together!
Laughter, sorrow, pleasure and pain together!
In short, Swarna Kamalam makes us think about the lost fragrance,beauty, and bliss of Indian Fine Arts (Kuchipudi dance in particular!) and the little joyful things which are forgotten in the fast modern paced era!
What happens next..will be seen in detail in the Part 3 of the Golden Lotus!!