Swarna Kamalam- The Eternally Shining Lotus- Part 3

Disclaimer: Owing to the unstoppable flow of  Movies,Music and Arts which is present in our life..this post might sound like an extremely longer one for the “general” reader!

Our protagonists Chandrasekhar and Meena are already in extreme opposites by end of Part 2 of this Brilliant Golden Lotus Post!  We, as the audience get so involved and curious to see what will happen next!

Just to retain the suspense element in this regard, I would like to speak about another dimension of this Golden Lotus now!

Characterization is no doubt one of the most important factors for a successful film. It not only means the protagonists but also every person who has a role in a film! The brilliance of the director and story writer lies in the fact that they create characters with strong likes/dislikes and the pattern in which their thoughts travel throughout the film! Till now we saw the strong characters of Chandrasekhar, Meena, Savitri, Seshendra Sharma who have their own spark of individuality and thought process. Now is the time to get into detail about another couple- who is almost skin deep in the “Bhakti” phenomenon!

Swarna Kamalam has got one of the most lovely and subtle comedies ever which came out in Telugu Cinema! One of the best elements of the comedy is that, it does not look as it is patched up ( Like many of the current films where the actual scenes are totally different from the comedy track!). The prodigious skill of the director K.Vishwanath, the tremendous power of Sainath’s dialogues and hilarious acting by Sakshi Ranga Rao as Omkaram, and the best female comedy actress in 80s-  Srilakshmi as Akhilam, who adorned the role of Omkaram’s wife is seen in every frame and every dialogue delivered by them!

I already introduced this religiously hilarious couple at brief in the Part 1 of the Golden Lotus post!  Akhilam (Srilakshmi) is a highly religious lady and lives/breathes with performing puja all the time. She is so involved in doing puja that she even forgets about the soot which accumulates over the frames of gods in their house! One of the best (and funniest) things about her is she does not show partiality in performing puja too! Despite her husband ‘ s(Omkaram played hilariously by Sakshi Ranga Rao- Who has the reputation of acting in drama as well!) feeble attempts to convince her about stopping puja at least for a few days so that he can be relieved, she takes his statements the other way around and wails that the Gods are not listening to her prayers because he speaks nonsense this way!!

One such hilarious scene occurs in the film where the couple performs puja on a god’s frame which is covered totally in soot thinking it is Hanuman but later realizing that it is none other than Lord Ganesh!

Omkaram can be called as a religiously henpecked husband where he follows his wife sycophantically for puja in order to please her to the maximum extent! The excellent dialogue delivery  of Akhilam ( Sounding like an incantation or a musical poem whenever she speaks- with a tinge of comedy!) and an exasperated Omkaram is a real treat to watch in this film!

Another important point which was touched in the film was that- in Modern Era, even Bhakti has become like a medium to be used for some personal gain. Moreover, it is not called as cheating but as the way of living in this competitive World! Knowing this devotional weakness of Omkaram and Akhilam, the young but clever kid Tinku, who is the assistant of Chandrasekhar flatter them saying they are huge devotees and get the house for extremely less rent!

Here is the video which is at the heights of subtle comedy for everybody’s viewing pleasure!

And the scene where Tinku creates a bluff to the couple in order to get the house for lesser rent!This kid is extremely intelligent and the actor who played this role did a phenomenal job in being so convincing!

Coming to the main storyline of the film, an interesting change occurs in Meena’s life after her father’s demise. By the time she settles down from the grief of her father’s death and Chandu also moving away from her (Temporarily!) , she seeks help of her modern friend (Played by Muccharla Aruna-  an actress introduced by the ace director Bharatiraja in Seetha Koka Chiluka!) in order to get a job as housekeeping trainee in a certain Five Star Hotel. Knowing Meena’s nature since childhood, her friend readily helps in this regard leading to extreme joy for Meena! After all, it was the time for her to rejoice as her hopes are coming true!

Chandu comes to know about this interesting news and on the contrary- he does not stop her on the first day itself to go for the job. He even meets her casually when Meena is on her way to office and congratulates her for the achievement. People must be really thinking what exactly is going on in Chandu’s mind and how can he give up his aspiration of seeing Meena as a dancer! The amazing twist and surprise awaits both for Meena as well as the audience in the coming scenes!

While Meena is extremely happy in her job as it deals with glamour and rendering service to Celebrities such as film stars and cricketers, Chandu makes his appearance again near Meena’s boss! He comes as casually as one is going for a morning walk and shows her boss the hoardings for the hotel which he designed. It is obvious that the hoardings contain Meena’s pictures dressed in Kuchipudi costume and in dancing pose!  Meena gets flabbergasted seeing Chandu’s presence near her boss- but her boss is a truly artistic person at heart! Looking at him I wonder many times why can’t we have such bosses in majority of organizations in the current scenario! He gets pleasantly surprised by the news that Meena is the daughter of a famous Kuchipudi guru and extremely talented in dance. But he gets upset when Chandu confesses that she has lost interest in dance due to the strong opinion that there is no recognition for such Fine Arts in the present scenario.

Meena’s boss gets shocked listening to this and immediately dismisses her in the housekeeping job she is in!! (To Meena’s extreme disappointment!). The artistic boss appoints Meena as a dancer in the Hotel for certain days and even offers her five times more salary than what she got in Housekeeping job!

Angered at this new development, Meena is still reluctant to perform at her heart’s consent. In the mean time Chandu introduces her to Sharon- A very interesting person who learnt many Indian Classical Dance forms despite being an American. The first look at her makes us feel so shocked that if an American can follow Indian Traditions with such an ease, then why not the people in India!

On Chandu’s request, Sharon watches Meena’s performance in the Restaurant. Meena becomes too obvious to her character by being self conscious and giving poses for the photographer instead of dancing well, leading to utter disappointment of Sharon. She gets so disappointed that she leaves the place abruptly.

On the contrary, Meena is taken to Sharon’s Odissi performance the next day by Chandu. He does this in order to make Meena understand what she is lacking. The dance performance of Sharon says it all. Extremely poised, graceful and her total involvement is seen in it. One can call this as that brief spark moment where the transformation of Meena starts- at the psychological level!

Chandu realizes this change in Meena’s nature and his determination in making her a great dancer strengthens further. As the days pass by he encourages her with his positive words and suggestions so much that one day Meena decides do dance on her own by taking the anklets with her to a secluded place near the beach (How wonderful a practice place can get?) and it is when she watches Chandu!

The delight and happiness of Chandu seeing the change in Meena comes out as the wonderful song “Kotthaga Rekkalocchena” sung phenomenally by SPB. He sings at his amazing bliss saying the new hope and the transformation has begun now! Meena joins Chandu in this musical feast with her dancing talent and the viewer can clearly see what wonders she can make when she dances with her heart’s content!

This is one of my favourite songs from the film due to the utter simplicity and the transformation of not only Meena, but also the relationship between herself and Chandu!

Watch the song here and have an enthralling visual and musical experience!

Hang on, this song is just the beginning of the transformation of Meena as a great dancer! The best from the Swarna Kamalam team is yet to come where the complete transformation of Meena to an ultimate dancer in the form of “Andhela Ravamidhi” song! Sharon expresses her interest in taking Meena to US for a Dance Performance tour to Chandu-provided Meena dances with her heart’s consent. Chandu realizes the time has arrived to make Meena as the realized Dancer and hence this phenomenal song arrives!

There are few personalities whom I want to quote here responsible for this unforgettable phenomenon!

Vaani Jayaram (at her amazing best!), and SPB (With his honest and much needed support!), ILaiyaraaja (For the excellent Music), Sitarama Sastry (Who won the Nandi Award for its lyrics!) and last but not the least- the KaLa Tapasvi K.Vishwanath!

Watch the realization of Meena and her transformation in the presence of Chandu in the above link!

By the end of the song Meena is out there in ecstasy of tears for realizing the greatness of dance and the worth of the art learnt from her father. Sharon watches her transformed dance and gets pretty impressed with the same.

A sweet, yet painful paradoxical situation occurs now where Meena and Chandu starts getting close to each other, the time for Meena to leave for the Dance Tour arrives!  Along with realizing the greatness of classical dance, Meena also secretly realizes that she is in love with Chandu- the sole reason for her to realize this ultimate nature of dance and the unfaltering support given by him.

As Meena travels to the airport with her sister and brother in law, her mind is on only one thing- leaving Chandu- the person who has helped her so much.

She expects that Chandu would come to give her a send-off but he doesn’t turn up. He sends a letter to Meena and a bouquet. Here we see the amazing goodwill of Chandu and more than anything else- the immense respect he has for her!

Chandu confesses in the letter saying he loved her but he is not sure of what position he holds in Meena’s heart.  The wonderful and emotional dialogues said by Chandu in the letter are one of the best ways to confess love in my opinion! The immense respect, concern and care are the foundations for love- and we see the same in this scene!

I am posting the same scene here not only for the purpose of dialogues but also for the excellent visuals which portray the emotions experienced by Meena as well as Chandu!

Unable to bear this torment, Meena gives up the idea of going to US for the tour thinking that she has to stay with the person who made her realize the art and ultimately- the artistic Meena and Chandu get together!!

Swarna Kamalam- a union of not only one of the greatest characters etched in Telugu Cinema- but also the best team work by Vishwanath sir, Sitarama Sastry,Sainath, ILaiyaraaja and the entire cast and crew who worked for this marvel!

Marapuraani Chitralu salutes the talented people who have been a part of this film along with the audience who appreciate this film with amazing admiration!


4 thoughts on “Swarna Kamalam- The Eternally Shining Lotus- Part 3

  1. venkatesh and banu priya in this film are awesome……i’m a big fan of venkatesh…..but i suggest venkatesh sir to take up good films…which have good story line……sir i want you to do some thriller movies…….plzzzz sir

  2. I think this is the only blog post I’ve seen about this lovely old Telugu classic. I’m really enjoying your blog; so nice to see people writing about these films! In the review above, I’m stunned to read that Sharon Lowen gives an Odissi performance. I’ve never seen that performance in the film on either my DVD or the full version that TeluguOne posted on their YouTube channel. I think it’s been cut from the EVP DVD I have! Do you know which version of the film you watched (DVD, VCD, the manufacturer?). I’m just dying to see her dance! 🙂 Anyway, do keep up the good work – lovely post.

  3. This is surely one of the Greatest Telugu Movies and thanks for a good review.
    A small correction related to the meaning of “Ghanapaathi”, which means a person who can recite a Vedic mantra in a specific pattern. The pattern for Ghanam goes like “12-21-123-321-123-23-32-“. It is the most difficult of all the various existing patterns. Some of the other patterns are “Samhitha”, “Padha”, “Krama”, “Jata”, etc.

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