Magic– This term holds fascination for every person right from their childhood, irrespective of nationality, creed or region. When one wants to describe the most defining moments of their life, they call it Magical. Why? Perhaps the memory of watching a magician performing tricks on stage in early childhood days creates such an amazing impact on a person! The presence of Magic in monotonous real world makes the person not only cheerful but also hopeful about things to happen especially when he/she is down with troubles!
Hindu Mythology/Epic Works have abundant magical/folklore stories which had adventure,magic, miracles and interesting characters as well. The two great Epics of Hindu Mythology- namely Ramayana and Mahabharata influence generations of thought and challenge the reader with imagination! These books speak of righteous way of living, principles, way of dealing things in practicality through some wonderful characters in totally believable manner! One can learn numerous things by reading these Epic books and apply them brilliantly in real life too.
What has Magic and Mythology got to do with my post on Mayabazaar? Mythological epics are full of spells, incantations and duels between the good and evil. It also shows that how some evil personalities misuse the power of magic and create destruction and right on time, the savior in the form of God comes and rescues the common public of that age. If in Ramayana the god was Lord Rama, it is Lord Krishna who is the hero in Mahabharata. He doesn’t act the warrior but give the needful advises and acts quite clever in aiding Pandavas (Five Brothers) against their rivals Kauravas in Kurukshetra war.
Indian Cinema was deeply influenced and guided by these Epic books during its young era (Late 1940s to 1950s) and Telugu Cinema was of no exception. There were a bundle of Epic based films which dealt with various mythological stories and also touched the Folklore (Another dimension to the magical films genre). Mayabazaar was one such films which marked a milestone for beginning of excellence and grandeur in Telugu Cinema- in every aspect of Film Making- Let it be Acting, Direction, Set Design, Music, Comedy and what not!
It would be surprising to say that many of the recent Hollywood film/Book series such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter were also inspired from these epics and gained worldwide popularity – not only because of the Magic element, but also about great memorable characters and humane values. If observed closely, one can find so many analogies between the characters from Ramayana and Mahabharata to these two most successful film series of all time.
Mayabazaar defined what Entertainment coupled with perfect quality means. We are at such an age where the Quality of Cinema is getting compromised for the Entertainment and Business factors but back in 1950s itself, the makers of Mayabazaar showed the audience how beautifully both can go hand in hand. A film can become successful only when it entertains and amuses the audience- irrespective of his/her economic status, way of living and you name it!
Writing about this marvel is truly a challenge for me because it is very difficult to choose which are of the film appeals to me the most. Is it the breathtaking performances of actors? The excellent oneliners which characters speak generating flawless comedy? Fantastic Soundtrack with timely songs as the film progresses?
The best way to unleash all these factors is by watching the film and remembering some of the most notable aspects of the film through this write up!
After some beautiful title score and grand visuals, the film begins with introduction of the main characters in the film. Lord Krishna (Played by NTR) steals the show where he along with his wife Rukmini Devi participate in the function of his niece Sasirekha (Daughter of Krishna’s brother Balarama- Played by Gummadi, another noted actor!) .
The song describes the happy times between the families, including Lord Krishna, his brother Balarama and sister Subhadra ( Wife of the warrior Arjuna- one of the Pandava brothers). Subhadra’s son is Abhimanyu who has great affinity with Sasireka right from the childhood days. Owing to his father, Abhimanyu is flawless in archery. The director B.N.Reddy shows characterization so perfectly right from the first frame of the film.
Sasirekha is quite feisty, confident and ready to challenge Abhimanyu even in smallest of the sports which they come across. Seeing the pangs of affections between Abhimanyu and Sasirekha, their respective families feel quite delighted to get them married when time comes in the near future.
In the mean time, the Kauravas (Rivals of Pandavas) under the guidance of their uncle Shakuni ( A great player of dice- CSR gave life to this role) lure Pandavas in a game and get them punished for leaving their own kingdom. It is a known fact that Dharmaraja (Eldest and most righteous of Pandava brothers) has a weakness for game of dice and that leads Pandavas into trouble. Right to this incident, Subhadra takes leave from her brothers’ house and leaves along with Abhimanyu. Sasireka gets quite upset with this scene but consoles herself as time passes by and growing to a young lady (Savitri- can there be any other actress who can play this role so perfectly?).
We get to see Lord Krishna visit Balarama’s kingdom in tour and brings some interesting gifts to all with him. He gifts his dear brother an interesting device called Satya Peetham (Similarities to the Lie Detector equipment which today’s policemen use?) which , on stood by it can make any person tell their innermost secrets and utter truth! Krishna feels quite delighted to see Sasirekha and gifts her another great gift Priyadarshini ( Which is almost an aesthetic version of Laptop/iPad and webcam video calling!) in which one can see their most lovable possession when opened.
Sasirekha opens her newly acquired gift with high anticipation and opens it. Quite to the brilliance, she watches the grown up Abhimanyu (ANR at his elegance best!) singing a great song “Neevena Nanu Thalachinadhi” to her lovable childhood sweetheart Sasirekha! This song is such a delight to watch as we see Sasirekha also beam with happiness and sings along with Abhimanyu! Watch out for the wonderful expressions of Savitri as Sasirekha and it is needless to say the acting brilliance of ANR, as far as romantic roles are concerned!
This sort of duets are unique in Telugu Cinema- Where the hero and the heroine are separated from each other but still delighted to sing together – thanks to the wonderful device Priyadarshini!
The interesting scene- which defines the characters and the storyline comes next when everybody else in Balarama’s family watches Priyadarshini- owing to the rule that they should see their most favourite person/thing.
We get to see Sasirekha’s mother glancing at the Priyadarshini later where she watches lots jewellery and riches- which shows the nature of her (Becomes more evident later in the plot of the film!). Balarama also watches in fun seeing Duryodhana (One of the Kaurava brothers) in return. Lord Krishna also watches Shakuni (Leading to the shock of everybody else- dreading some serious thing to happen!) , who feels quite amused surprisingly. Lord Krishna being knowledgeable in everything perhaps finds Shakuni’s presence in the story now quite challenging!
Things take a serious turn when Kauravas devise a clever plan to please Balarama in order to create quarrels between him and his brother Krishna- and also get Duryodhana’s son Lakshmana Kumar (Played by the most comical Relangi!) in marriage to Sasirekha. They feel that by doing so, Pandavas can be thwarted and think very cleverly to fool Lord Krishna in this regard.
But Lord Krishna is quite intelligent and ready for any circumstances which come in his way- and he is determined to get Sasirekha and Abhimanyu married, as they are very much in love!
It is time to give a magical pause to this fantastic story- stay tuned for the real plot, magic,adventure and loads of entertainment!