Subhalekha- A tribute to Individuality and Self-Respect- Part 2

In the part 1 of Subhalekha post we have seen the value which exists in dignity of labour through the character of Murthy played brilliantly by Chiranjeevi. But I was talking in brief about Social Evil called dowry which was confronted by the lead characters we see in this film. Before getting into the key scenes which shape up this phenomenon, I would like to introduce another character named Aadhi Seshayya (Sathyanarayana) who plays a vital role in the story of this film.

Mr.Aadhi Seshayya is a Politician who is exactly like how a businessman thinks. There is nothing wrong if the business ideas are confined to the development of society and professional gains but the speciality of this person is to apply the same business/political rules to real life as well. He thinks of his two sons as a means of investment or a Bank account which gives away interest in annual basis. It is also not surprising to see him make his elder son study Engineering and force his younger son Murali ( Sudhakar at his debut best!) MBBS just to get more dowry at the time of their respective marriages! In one such instance he speaks to his assistant Gurunatham (Raallapalli- another noted actor during that era!) in this way. The dialogues written by Gollapudi mark us with sharpness and straightforwardness giving us the impression of each character in a crisp fashion!

“Gurunadham…asalu maga pillalu ante plus..andhulo B.E, MBBS ante plus meedha plussulu..Manakenni plussulu?Iddharu..andhulo pedda vaadu B.E.Ante 3 lakhs..(when his asst says is it dowry? he sets it apart saying katnam kaadhu..aa degree ki unde hodha). Rendo vaadu MBBS anuko 5 lakhs.”

Dear Gurunatham..if it’s a male child then it’s a plus..added to it if the child studies B.E or MBBS then there is no limit to the plus! How many plus points do we have? Two. In those two the elder guy is an Engineer..that means 3 Lakhs ( When the assistant mentions the word Dowry for this he cuts it off saying..its not dowry..its the status which that degree offers!). If the younger son in MBBS then the rate is 5 Lakhs!

Listening to Aadhi Seshayya speaking this way the viewer definitely feels in what kind of society we are in. Is it a sales market in the name of marriage or the alliance being like a one-way business deal!

Though the elder son of Adhi Seshayya is scared of his father and do not oppose his wrong doings, the younger son Murali, a huge music lover,  is quite unlike his dad in this regard! He is absolutely innocent, admirable and becomes a pain in his father’s throat later in the film! We will get to know more about him later when the appropriate scene arrives in the film!

But as of now I can simply say we need youth like Murali who have the guts to fight the wrong doers- and be in position to question them. I also feel this is real education which helps a person to live a life with ideals!

Coming to the actual story now, The acquaintance between Murthy and Sujatha increases further when the former comes to the college where Sujatha is working for the seat of his Uncle’s daughter. When the seat is not given due to lack of donation payment, Murthy becomes aggressive and fights in such a musical way that the principal comes down the level and obliges him! Incidentally the principal is none other than the person whom Murthy helps out in a remedy regarding spondylitis. Sujatha’s respect for Murthy grows further after this incident.

The story takes a new leap when Sujatha ‘s father arranges an alliance with Aadhi Seshayya’s elder son ( Who is truly a father’s pet- in everything!) and Murthy is sent by his Hotel Manager to serve food and drinks for the same occasion. This scene is one of the most important scenes in the film as many equations between the main characters change by the time it ends! This scene also brings Sujatha’s enthusiastic sister Lakshmi ( Played well by Tulasi) and the Music Maniac Murali into acquaintance- which later turns to love (More of that later!)

Aadhi Seshayya and his son along with his assistant Gurunadham arrive at Sujatha’s place with the former having lot of pride and arrogance (No surprises there!) and they find Sujatha very good ( How come it is always with looks when the bride is concerned?). Aadhi Seshayya cleverly puts up a conversation with his assistant conveying the idea of dowry and extra gifts which he has in his mind. In brief, he demands the following from Sujatha’s father:

1.       3 and a half Lakhs cash (Adhi Seshayya thinks it’s a concession considering the fact that the girl is a  Post Graduate and good looking, otherwise the rate would have been more! These days lakhs has become a common term but those days it was almost like 10 times the value!).

2.       Ambassador car as a gift to the bride groom

3.       Funding for making the bride groom study MBA in USA.

4.       This is the most extreme demand- Control over Bride’s Father’s house!

After telling all this our great Aadhi Seshayya coolly asks Sujatha’s father whether all this is fine with him. Before Sujatha’s father answers his question ( He already is in deep worry of how to arrange all this finances) surprisingly, Sujatha says she does have some objections.

This turns out to be utter shock to everybody in the scene including Murthy and his assistant Potti Prasad ( a veteran actor!) . The shock is due to the fact that bride generally acts like she shouldn’t speak when “Elders” are speaking about money matters no matter how educated, cultured, knowledgeable she can be. The conversation between Aadhi Seshayya and Sujatha is highly thought provoking and the audience feel as if Sujatha is asking all such questions which prop in our mind when the word “Dowry” is heard in real life!

I feel it is vital and most important to include the conversation (and Translation) of the same here just to emphasize the importance of this scene!

Pathbreaking Scene : Confrontation by Sujatha about Dowry..

Sujatha: “Ee pelli ki inni conditionlu pettaru..maa stithi gathulu maa naannagari sthomatha meeku telusanukuntanu?”

You have put so many conditions for this marriage..I hope you know the financial conditions of our family?

Aadhi Seshayya: Telusukovalsina avasaram naku ledamma..maa kurradu B.E Pass ayyadu aa sangathi meeku telusuga?

I don’t need to know about all that..I hope you people know my son has passed Engineering.

Sujatha: Telisthe? (Her father tries to calm her down)

So what if we know?

Adhi: Mari B.E chadivina vaadiki entha katnam istharo kooda meeku telisundali!Asalivevi adakkundane kallu moosukuni kaallu kadigi pillanivvataniki bollu mandhi siddham ga unnaru! Mee naanna garu Adhi seshayya sambandham cheskovataniki vacchadante ivanni ivvataniki siddhapade vacchadani memanukuntam!

Then you people must also be knowing how much dowry is given to a guy who passed B.E. There are countless people who are ready to give their daughters in marriage without even asking these questions. When your father came for the match to me, I assumed he must be knowing to give all these things at ease!

Sujatha: maa nannagaru siddhapadindhi samskaram unna peddha manushulani aasa padi.Kodukuni pakkana pettukuni paade velam paataki kaadhu.

Okka sari atu chudandi (addresses to her parents)aada pillani kannandhuku, a pillaki chaduvu cheppinchi nandhuku..ippudu pelli cheyyali anukunnandhuku tappu chesina vaalla laaga ela nisabhdham ga nilabadda maa amma naannani chudandi.

My father decided to get me married to a family who are cultured. Not with a person who has his son beside him and go for an auction.

 

Just look at that side once. Because they have given birth to a daughter, and making her get good education, and get her married now, by standing silently! they are feeling as if they have did a huge mistake!

Adhi: chusi?Jaali padi kanta thadi pettukommantava paschatappadi lempaleskomantava?Chudammai..ammai asthi chusi abbai anthasthu chusi pellillu jaruguthu untai. Katnalu lanchanalu kotthem kadhu..avi rivazu.

By seeing you mean I should become tearful and feel remorse? Look girl.. they say in marriage, the bride’s property and the bride groom’s status should be seen. These dowry and extra offerings are not new. It is the tradition.

Sujatha: emitandi rivazu?Asalendhukivvali katnam?O guddi daanni cheskunte ivvali.Oka kunti daanni chaduvu samskaram leni daanni cheskuni brathukantha poshisthe ivvali.Kani meeku salakshanamaina pilla kavali.Intedu chakiri cheyyali.Mee abbai tho kapuram cheyyali pillalni kanali, saakali. Veetannitho paatu aa pillalni kanna vallu meeku edhuru chellinchali.Mee badhyathani mee bandhavyanni panchukune aada pillatho paatu meeku lakshalicchi vaallu sajeevam ga samadhi kaavali.Adhi chaalakapothe attha maamalu bhartha pette chitra himsalu mounam ga bharisthu praanalu vadhalali. Anthena?

What is the tradition sir? Why should one give dowry? If you are marrying a blind, physically challenged or a girl who is uneducated and looking after her for life one should give. But you want a good looking girl who should not only do the household work but also live with your son. She should also produce kids and look after them well. To do all this,  the girl’s parents have to give dowry in return. Along with sharing your responsibilities and relationship the girl’s parents have to donate you heavy amounts of money and destroy themselves. As if that’s not enough, the girl has to bear the torture of in laws and husband in silence and die? That’s it?

Adhi: Anthena ante anthe mari!Adhi aadadhi yenado cheskunna kharma.Ee katnalu kanukalu ee nadu nuvvu nenu srushtinchinavi kadhu.Anaadhi ga vasthunna aacharam.

If you say so then it is a fact! This is the fate of woman since long back. These dowry and extra offerings are not created by you or me. They have been there since ages as a tradition.

Sujatha: Aacharam kadhu.Mee lanti swardha parulu gharana ga chesthunna dopidi. Public ga chesthunna donga thanam. Sir, noorellu kalisi kapuram cheyyalsina vallani muddhuga moodu mullatho  kalapali gaani ila mulla teegaltho kadhu. Lakshalu carlu, America tho kadhu.

It is not tradition. It is the mass robbery of selfish people like you. A theft done in public.Sir the people who are to live together for 100 years have to be united with three knots but not with thorn bondages.

 

(Adhi’s ego gets hurt listening to this hard truth and gets up saying he came only seeing the gentleman’s (Sujatha’s father) face but he can’t tolerate more talk from Sujatha now.)

The most important key talk comes next from Sujatha which forms the basis of her bondage between Murthy.

Sujatha says one thing very clearly that parents always hope their kids to be well-off by marrying a guy from a high status family hoping that she will be happy then. But today’s woman cannot enjoy her life by putting her parents’ financial status at stake. She hopes to get a person who will understand her who need not be a rich person but any person who lives with honesty, sincerity who can be clerk, waiter. At least living with such person will give a satisfaction of living happily.

Listening to this the triumphant Adhi advises Sujatha to marry some hotel waiter itself so that her satisfaction would be fulfilled as there are numerous people on streets who are hotel waiters. He even calls such people loafers. Potti prasad (Murthy’s assistant) gets furious listening to this but Murthy calms him down.

Posting this breathtaking argument scene for the viewer’s  thought provoking pleasure!

Predictably, the aftermath of this incident pays huge blow to Sujatha’s professional career as well because Aadhi Seshayya uses his influence in firing her from the job. Sujatha loses from her family also as they feel she has acted utmost foolish in confronting with a gentleman and she cannot get married without dowry or so.

It so happens that Murthy also loses his job after this incident but the ever- optimistic Murthy sings a wonderful song “Ragaala Pallakilo” to Sujatha seeing her distraught about these incidents. The soft and subtle music by K.V.Mahadevan, melodious voices of SPB and Susheela and undoubtedly great acting by Chiranjeevi and Sumalatha made this song evergreen in Telugu people’s hearts! The lyrics of legendary Veturi adds so much of grace to the story as well as the song!

What happens next…will be coming in the Part 3!

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