In part 1 of Sagara Sangamam post, we have seen just a shade of our protagonist Balu’s life in which he is strict, serious and perfectionist as far as Dance is concerned. Now it is time to know another vital character in Balu’s life- his best friend Raghupathi played brilliantly by Sharath Babu. The friendship between Balu and him can be described as ideal in every way possible! If the reader wonders what made me say this just in the beginning of this post, it is because Vishwanath sir proves the same in the first interaction which we see between Balu and Raghupathi (As their older selves) after the mishap Balu does in Shailaja’s finacee’s office. Incidentally, Raghupathi works in the same office too!
The scene is such that an angered and anxious Raghupathi meets Balu near a rockside place saying he is utterly upset with his behavior and what makes him still tolerate Balu for such a long time. He even painfully asks what the relation between both of them is as well. The agony and disappointment of his fellow friend becoming so is shown- more than accusing and hatred by Raghupathi. Sarath Babu does a wonderful job in this scene!
After venting out his anger on Balu, as Raghupathi leaves, the former starts off singing a beautiful poem about Friendship which was penned by the latter in a very emotional manner. After hearing the poem, Raghupathi stops to hold his friend back by falling down and then Balu says, no matter whatever he does, Raghupathi has to bear with it with the sole reason –that is friendship. This one scene is a masterpiece where Vishwanath makes a point clear that this film is not only about Fine Arts and Culture, but also about being good human being and giving value to relationships!
As Raghupathi takes semi-conscious Balu (Due to excessive drinking) in a rickshaw back to his home, he goes back to memories- Where this wonderful bond of friendship started from.
The scene drifts to a very young and handsome Balu , with curious expression and passion equally balanced near a Kathak dance class along with his friend Raghupathi (Looking much fresh and relaxed as well!). The extreme love for dance which Balu has is shown just in the scene where he carefully observes the dance steps which students are doing there and incidentally one of the students there notices this. She finds it quite distracting and calls him outside the class asking what they exactly want. Balu tries to explain he wants to learn Kathak in Telugu but the student doesn’t quite understand what he is upto. Then our Balu uses the universal language (That is Dance here!) to convey the message to her saying he already learnt Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam and Kathakali, and now he wants to learn Kathak. As he is poor , he would like to do service to the Guruji and learn in the course. This scene is beautifully portrayed by Kamal Hasan where we understand his passion as well as poverty at the same time!
The student rightfully understands Balu’s anguish and replies in the dance language for the same!
We get to see Balu’s family condition at the same time where he meets his mother (Who does cooking in various functions and events) at a railway station . The scene is so terrific that Balu’s mother gives him little sum of money as gift and Raghupathi comments Balu for taking money from an old lady by depending on her. Balu gets so upset hearing this and returns the money to his mother and angrily says he is ready to do any job(Pertaining to Dance) for earning money!
Raghupathi introduces Balu to a very “popular” dance director Chittaranjan (Mishro- One of Vishwanath’s regular actors!) for films explaining about Balu’s dance talent and requesting him to keep Balu as assistant. This scene itself depicts how indifferent the director is when he hears Balu is a great Classical Dancer, and he is more concerned about his Pet dog and the availability of alcohol in the place residing in! He carelessly asks his another assistant Geetha (Played by Geetha herself!) to help Balu out in composing for a film song in production.
The scene which arrives next is undoubtedly one of those hilarious scenes in Telugu Cinema- and at the same time very saddening too. It is hilarious because of the reactions of film people (of that age!) to Classical Dance and saddening because of the plight of Telugu Cinema those days- where Commercial elements are more valued than the actual art itself!
Scene 2: Vevela Gopemmala –Composing!
Chittaranjan coolly tells the film producer and director that it is he who composed the dance and asks Balu and Geetha to show the same. Balu, being a good classical dancer and an ear for literature, composes a very nice piece relating to Lord Krishna (As the song speaks on the same) and they both enact it wonderfully. As we start relishing the beautiful dance piece, Chittaranjan cuts off straight and says this way!
Chittaranjan: Emiti..Emiti…Emitayya aa ganthulu.Emiti Nuvvu Chesthunnadhi?
What…what..what..What is this Balu?What are these crazy dance steps?What on Earth are you doing?
Balu: Manchi Paata..manchi sahityam kadha ani..
Sir, this is good song and good in literary value..
(The film director cuts short saying)
Alagani kala khandalu teesthamatayya..intha manchi paatani kooni chesthu!
Does that mean we are here to make aristic masterpieces…by ruining such a wonderful song!
Chittaranjan (At a very disappointed tone): Ledhandi..thana sontha paithyam upayogisthunnadu..veedu ishtamocchinattu chesthunadu!
No Sir! This guy is using his own intelligence and doing off whatever he wants to!
(The director’s assistant comes now saying)
Adhe mana director garu kangaru padthunnaru..asale mana cinemalo top hero,heroines unnaru..manchi steps avi lekunda..
That’s what our director sir is worried!There are top hero,heroines in our films and we are in desperate need of steps!
Chittaranjan: Cheppaga..nenu compose chesinadhi veeru veellu chesthunnadhi veru!Sastreeya nruthyam nerchukunna vallani pettukunte ilage meea paruvu,maa paruvu, mana top stars paruvu teesestharu!
Didn’t I tell you? I composed something very different and these guys are doing something else! This is the problem with Classical dancers. They will ruin your, mine and our top stars great prestige!
(The assistant says now)
Asale manadhi prestigious cinema. Oka club dance kooda ledhu! Ee okka paataina..
Our film is a very prestigious film, and there is not even one club dance..Atleast one song..
Chittaranjan : Kangaru padaddhu..adhi manasulo pettukune compose chesanu..gurthundha chesi chupinchana?
Don’t worry..keeping the same in mind I composed..(Addressing Balu he says)…do you remember or shall I show you?
Balu: Hero Herione paatralu pavitramaina paatralu kadha ani..
The roles of hero and heroine are very pristine…that’s why..
Chittaranjan again cuts short saying : Paatralu ouchityalu manakendhukayya!Idhi box office cinema!Top stars!Ooty lu Kodaikanal lu..STEPPULU..STEPPULAYYA!First background enti?
Why do we care about characters and the values?This is Box office cinema which has Top Stars!Ooty..Kodaikanal locations…we want steps! (He stresses this word so much!)..now tell me, what is the first background?
Balu (Flabbergasted already): Hero lekunda Herione rendu avruthalu (Two cycles of taalam used in Music)..
Without Hero the Herione comes for two cycles of taalam..
As he goes on, the director cuts him short saying Aavulu ambothulu manakendhuku ayya (He doesn’t even know the word Avrtham!)
Why do we need cows and buffaloes when Top Stars are there!
Now, the great dance director Chittaranjan spoils the whole composition so badly that the dance steps are not only vulgar but also very odd to look at! On the contrary, the director loves every bit of it! K.Vishwanath uses his imagination in showing how “horrible” one song can be picturized which can spoil everything relating to it! I would rather not mention the directors who used to do the same those days in Telugu Cinema, but it is quite obvious to any Telugu Film goer!
Balu gets so upset with this episode that he almost cries in the end of dance composing sessions and gets furious with his friend Raghupathi for recommending such a crazy dance director for the same!
Watch the same scene below in this link..
The scene now drifts to the current timeline of the movie where Shailaja comes to her house apparently happy about her performance in front of her mother who is none other than Madhavi (Jayaprada’s dignified career best!). As she glances through the reviews of her daughter’s programme, she incidentally (Cinematically as well!) comes across the review written by Balu.
Madhavi gets overwhelmed seeing Balu’s name and enquires Shailaja more about the same. After knowing the terrible state of Balu and his health condition, she immediately reaches Vizag to know about his whereabouts. After trying out for a while, she goes back to nostalgia hoping to locate Balu as soon as possible..
It is now time to see Madhavi’s version of Balu and their wonderful relationship which they had during their young years. It is neither a passionate love story or a one sided love story! Their story has foundation of mutual respect, love for art, and an evergreen bonding which is as eternal as the Sea!
The first look of Madhavi as younger self is quite beautiful as well as individualistic. We see her traditionally dressed and adjusting the lens of a Camera at a temple, trying to take some good pictures. The first impression which we get on her is that she is pretty ambitious and quite passionate about what she is pursuing. She is interrupted by a loud voice singing jathis (in dance) and a terrified kid with a camera. The voice is none other than Balu’s and the kid is a photographer(calls himself but he is not!) trying to take some good photographs of the former.
The photoshoot scene is so funny that every picture which Balu wants, the kid takes in the wrong way! At one instant when frustrated Balu says I will keep a Bhangima ( A Dance posture) and then only the kid should take picture, the innocent kid says he wants it right now thinking it is something to eat!
Madhavi observes all this in silence and tries to capture Balu in different dance postures in a very enthralling manner. Balu,obviously is unaware of this and feels very disappointed when the photos taken by the Kid arrives in the Photo Studio!
As Balu criticizes the kid for taking such awful photographs, and the kid taking his comments quite light hearted, Madhavi arrives in the Photo Studio. The scene is so hilarious that Balu tries to hide his very old (and Battered) camera out of her sight! As Madhavi gets her copy of Photos, the Studio owner coolly compliments Balu for being such a great dancer as the photos are none other than his own!
Balu hesitantly and curiously tries to watch Madhavi’s set of Photographs (Wonderful backgroundscore by ILaiyaraaja is worth mentioning here) and when he watches the best shot taken (Balu flying in the air in a dance pose), Madhavi notices Balu for the first time..
Watch the picture perfect scene in the link below!
Best is yet to come in Part 3 of this Marvel..
P.S: Though I am trying to condense the posts as small as possible, the brilliance of the movie is making me write more and more and I am not at all regretting doing it! Just to even write about it is a huge learning experience for me!