Till part 2 of Aa Naluguru post we have seen only the preliminary troubles which Raghuram faces in his life in the form of family members, outsiders and at work. But little does he or we audience are unaware about how big the problem of his attitude turns out to be. His strict ideals about loving people and not money challenges Raghuram so much that he gets to really fight for making his soul and real nature alive till the very end- and even beyond it!
Throughout the film Raghuram believes that people at his house give value to his ideals and follow them in a sincere manner but very soon he understands its actually the other way around. To be more clear, they are torn between the ways of the world and Raghuram’s ideals about life.
The first challenge Raghuram faces in the house is through his younger son, who fails to secure a rank in EAMCET examination and demands his father to pay donation and get him a seat in Engineering. Raghuram is obviously against the idea and he clearly tells his son that he would invest money only for studying but not for buying education ( “Chaduvukovataniki Enthaina Karchu Pedathanu..Chadhuvu Kontaniki Kadhu” – a great line from our protagonist Raghuram!). The frustrated younger son starts off saying it is a sin to be born in such house where he can’t even afford to study further.
The next challenge comes from the elder son of Raghuram (Played by Raja) who requests his father to give money as a bribe for his S.I post. Despite performing well in all the tests, thanks to the Corruption in India, Raghuram’s son has to pay bribe for attaining the post. Raghuram continues in his own way of thinking saying that we must fight against the system by putting a case leading to more fury by his son. He also stresses on the point that he doesn’t want a corrupt employee from his house, and that is what his son would become if he pays a bribe and gets the post. The declining faith in Indian Judicial system was clearly shown in Raghuram’s elder son character where he bluntly says he believes only in bribe but not in courts.
Raghuram’s wife becomes the silent observer of all these incidents and just like any other middle-class mother of kids, she expects her husband to give away the money so that her children get settled in respectable positions. But our dear protagonist is determined in fight for his values, and get totally involved in the same.
As if things cannot get more worse than this, Raghuram’s daughter along with his son-in-law come up with another proposal asking for money to head to US for a software job and settle there. If not mentioned before, Raghuram’s son-in-law is a typical unemployed youth who believes in fetching quick money and work less, by going abroad. The change of tone in Raghuram’s daughter voice at the moment when her father refuses to give money makes us think –
“Is money playing much more invisible force on every individual, including family members and friends?”.
These aforementioned scenes of word exchanges between Raghuram and his family members were shown so realistically and brilliantly by the director, and not to forget the fantastic acting performance by Rajendra Prasad as the determined protagonist who strives very hard to keep his character and ideals alive.
Sadly, the strict and honest decisions of Raghuram are totally misunderstood by his family members, including his wife (Though she is somewhat considerate about her husband). They start giving less respect to Raghuram and in one situation his daughter doesn’t even send food for her father in office. Though such scenes look quite dramatic in the first look, at one situation or other we happen to see closest of the relationships destroy just for the sake of money matters off late!
Things turn worse when Raghuram’s son-in-law devises a cruel plan along with the other frustrated individuals in the house to start a chit fund company in the former’s name and start making use of the good name. Even worse comes by when Raghuram’s children get ready for the same (Out of desperation to get what they want or for umpteen reasons!) leading to shock of Raghuram himself. He gets so furious with them and at the same time feel his views are dangerously threatened.
A very big thought process starts off in Raghuram’s mind in which he feels if money isn’t given to them, they will not look back to even do some crime and thereby losing morals.
As already known, Raghuram is such person who keeps values, and morals sky high, and at a top notch level- more than anything else. When he tries to appeal the same to his close people around (Such as wife and his best friend Subrahmanyam), they also suggest him to keep his values aside and settle his family members first.
After some deep thinking, he decides to get money from various sources (Against his will) such as Kotayya, his Muslim family friend Masthan and his boss. The scene where Raghuram admits near Kotayya that money only directs life, than relationships is really heart wrenching and even the heartless (As he is shown till just the climax of the film!) the latter feels sorry for him. Raghuram feels highly indebted to all these people who gave him timely financial help and makes a mental vow that he should never cheat on them.
One interesting view point of Raghuram is shown even at this mental turmoil he is facing here. When Kotayya makes fun of him saying the lady who asked for donation to cure her daughter suffering from cancer (Which was written about in part 2) is a cheat and the girl is not having the deadly disease, anybody else would start feeling upset that unnecessarily the money was given to the wrong person. But our Raghuram feels delighted for the reason that the little girl is not having cancer in the first place!
The scene where Raghuram returns house with money ( Leading to the utter amazement and happiness of the children and son-in law), is perhaps one of the best scenes as far as relationships and money is concerned in Telugu Cinema. Raghuram looks at the artificial happiness which the kids show when money is given to them, he starts saying the following line .It is for sure another fantastic depiction of the complex nature of money and its impact on human beings:
“Rupayi Rupayi nuvvem chesthavu ani adigithe, Harishcandrudi tho abaddham adisthanu, bharya bharthala madhhya chicchu pedathanu, thandri biddalni vidadeesthanu, annadammula Madhya vairam penchuthanu, aakhariki prana snehithulani kooda vidagodathanu andata. Alanti rupayiki naa illu minahayimpu anukunnanu. Kani adhe rupayi naa intlo chorabadi bandhalni kilo lekka thookam vesi ammesthundhi anukoledhu. “
“When rupee is asked what you are capable of, it said it would make Harishandra(Popular character in Telugu Mythology who is known for being highly truthful) tell a lie, create a rift between husband and wife, make father and son separated, start enmity between brother and sister, and ultimately even make closest friends fight. I used to think that my house is immune to that rupee. But that rupee literally broke into my house and destroyed all the relationships and sold them off in a calculated manner”
Watch the same scene below:
After this heart wrenching scene, Raghuram feels very upset with the intrusion of money in the house. He feels so devastated that his ideals are threatened and even literally killed by his family members.
Extremely saddening situation occurs next, when Raghuram dies in sleep before he could see the next day’s Sunrise. Raghuram’s son-in-law is the first person to see her father unconscious and tells his wife about the same. Being to his cruel self, he asks his wife to remain silent and says he along with Raghuram’s sons will go anonymous for some days so that the money will be saved. Their cruel nature comes off so much at heights that Raghuram’s elder son himself says let us get rid of this situation and until the final rites are finished, it is better to be in a secret location.
Raghuram’s soul gets so furious with this scene and comes to know they are in the same city secretly in some hotel. Kotayya and Masthan who come to know about the demise react in totally different ways (While the former is furious, the latter is devastated!) and hope that they can get the money back by asking Raghuram’s children who would be in the death ceremony.
The climax unfolds in a shocking way when the doctors from organ donation camp arrive to take the eyes of Raghuram’s body and come to know his death wasn’t natural but a suicide (Through a cinematic situation where a crumpled suicide note is found!). Raghuram’s wife soon realizes the good nature of her husband and understands the cruel nature of her children and starts cursing herself for not understanding him throughout his life.
On the contrary and ironically, so many people start arriving at Raghuram’s death ceremony which proves that he lived a life of love and helpful nature which earned him so much of adoration around. A Television programme also starts airing about Raghuram and it is when Raghuram’s younger son starts realizing his father’s greatness. More scenes unfold when the taxi driver of this cruel trio (Raghuram’s sons and son-in-law) stops the car in middle of the road to just follow the procession of the great man.
The final question arrives with who should perform the final rites of Raghuram. Just at the precise moment, the sons of Raghuram get to the place (against their will). Raghuram’s soul as well as the messengers from hell watch this sequence with pent up tension. Just at the moment of rites being performed, Kotayya cuts off the elder son asking to repay the money immediately and then perform the last rites. Everybody (Except Raghuram’s soul who feels extremely happy that Kotayya caught his criminal minded sons in the right time!) gets so furious about Kotayya’s behavior and start saying let us look about money matters after the rites are over.
But Kotayya is a staunch businessman who declares he will not let the rites happen until the money is given back. Then the people who are present there start giving off whatever little sum of money they have- just to make Raghuram’s value higher and regain the respect he possessed.
In the end, we come to know that Kotayya behaved the way just to make Raghuram’s children understand the greatness of their father but not for the sake of money. The acting skills of Kota Srinivasa Rao come into being here- which make us tell he is the pride of Telugu Cinema- as far as character actors are concerned!
The background song “Aa Naluguru” which arrives during this situation is another asset for the film. For its fantastic lyrics and excellent rendition by S.P.Balasubhrahmanyam.
Watch the song below:
Raghuram’s soul feels utterly happy as he was the ultimate winner- with his ideals and his life did not go wasted at all. Even after death he lived in the hearts of hundreds of people, in the form of humanity, ideals and individuality. Immediately the messengers from hell transform into divine people and take contented Raghuram’s soul into Heaven.
The last rites of Raghuram are performed by those four people – who understood his nature throughout and hence the film’s name – “Aa Naluguru!” (Those Four people!)
Undoubtedly one of the best films in Telugu Cinema during the post 2000s era, Aa Naluguru remains to be given a prime position in the Unforgettable Telugu Cinema list!
Marapuraani Chitralu remembers Rajendra Prasad, Amani, Kota Srinivasa Rao, dialogue writer Madan and the director Chandra Siddarth- along with the complete team of Aa Naluguru. This film makes us re-think about our value system and how much the “Money” factor is influencing our way of living, in this fast paced era of post 2000s!