Good vs Evil, Emotional Bonding and Magic- Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari Part 3

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Till part 2 of this magical marvel’s post, we have seen some funny encounters between our lead roles Raju (Chiranjeevi) and Indraja (Sridevi). Jandhyala made sure that the comedy element is never faltered throughout without missing the commercial touch as well. As quoted in the previous part, our dear hero Raju has a habit of confronting the wrong happenings in the city and in one situation, he helps the school teacher (Sangeetha) from being insulted by the local richman Das (Kannada Prabhakar). Naturally, this instigates anger in the goon’s group and they plan to attack Raju and Indraja in a cinematic manner.

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After the heroic stunts and some brilliant show by the hero in teaching the goons a lesson, Das consults his guru Mahadrushta (Amrish Puri) who is an influential wizard having black magic powers.  This person is quite queer and just like any other antagonist for Magical folklore films, he is on lookout for great treasure which would grace him if he sacrifices five women from superior races. Mahadrushta realizes that there is some magical power associated with Raju and Indraja and decides to test his luck by coming all the way to Raju’s residence.

The scene where Mahadrushta tries to psychologically capture Indraja is brilliantly conceived visually, musically and cinematically as well. Indraja, who is naturally a common woman without the ring struggles against the evil powers of Mahadrushta. Just when she is ready to give up her will power and surrender herself, Raju arrives for her rescue. Raju’s natural quest for questioning wrong doings and the power of the ring stuns Mahadrushta and he realizes that he must first find out about the nature of this magical power.

First Confrontation

Amrish Puri’s natural flair for negative roles made him the perfect choice for the role of Mahadrushta. Though his role has shades of his previous popular characters like the Wizard in Hollywood film Indiana Jones: The Temple of Doom and Sekhar Kapur’s Bollywood entertainer Mr.India, he made sure that the Telugu nativity and the dreadfulness is never missed in this portrayal. He in fact shares a very interesting antagonistic chemistry with Sridevi, and it is a treat to watch the silent attack and counter attacks between them.

Sridevi and Shamili

Mahdrushta understands that it isn’t an easy task to get what he wants and orders the sidekicks (Rami Reddy, Tanikella Bharani) to get a piece of Indraja’s clothing in order to find out the same. Just when Indraja is stopped by the goons, things turn in such a way that Indraja gets to drive a car by force. Raju mistakes that action to be Indraja’s clever plan to kidnap the kids and as a result, he slaps her.  A furious Raju warns her not to come to his house again or disturb his life.

But when the kids fearfully confess their mistake to Raju, he immediately realizes his mistake and tries to search for Indraja’s whereabouts. This scene marks the first spark of love between Raju and Indraja and the dawn for a great Human- Divine love story! Just when the audience wonder where has Indraja gone- whether she was captured by Mahadrushta and so on, K.Raghavendra Rao shows Indraja in a sweet school girl attire learning English in the local school! Raju is welled with guilt looking at her and apologizes for slapping her.  But Indraja isn’t sad because she found affection, and care in the slap!

If you might wonder why I am talking so much about this slap incident- it is because this particular scene has led for one of the path breaking songs of Telugu Cinema in terms of commercial brilliance- “Abbanee Teeyani!”.

This song can be termed as a breakthrough for Chitra as a playback singer because till then, it was predominantly S.Janaki who was the first hand choice for Ilaiyaraaja for female playback. Her sweet voice stole many young hearts of the 90s era and needless to explain about Sridevi’s amazing grace in the song. It also redefined the concept of a commercial Chiranjeevi duet being racy or having fast dance moves. The song on the contrary, is a mellowed melody but having the gripping rhythm which became an overnight sensation then! Sundaram Master (Father of Dancing sensation Prabhu Deva) ‘s choreography is another highlight for the song with laid back steps and more focus on the grace factor!

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Watch the song here for the dance and melodious extravaganza!

Things take a dramatic turn when Mahadrushta realizes that Indraja is a divine lady and he has to capture her for sacrifice. In the mean time, Indraja is in personal confrontation. The deadline for her return journey back to the heavens approach by and she is unable to procure the ring from Raju. To make things even more complicated, Indraja is overwhelmed by the love and affection shown by the people of Planet Earth. Many questions about life and the sweetness of human life arise in her mind and just then Das plans to attack the village and capture Indraja for Mahadrushta. His attempts get futile but sadly, the little kid (Baby Shamilee) gets severely injured in the fight. On the same night of Karthika Pournami (Indraja’s deadline), the sad news of kid’s illness shakes everyone in Raju’s abode.

A concerned Indraja

Quite dramatically, the little kid gives the ring from Raju’s finger to Indraja asking the latter to promise her she would never leave Raju. Indraja is left with sadness, emotional conflict and confusion as a result and this entire sequence has been brilliantly conceived. But to the surprise of the audience, Indraja wears the ring and gets her magical powers back! The first thing she immediately does is to cure the little kid of her illnesses and looks up to heavens to get back to her home. One of the kids (Shalini) witnesses this entire sequence and gets obviously stunned.  Raju , who has gone to get medical help for the little kid comes back home to find her completely cured and even understands that Indraja is indeed the daughter of Lord Indra.

Beginning of Bonding

Raju realizes that Indraja was indeed innocent and he along with the kids group start searching for her in the village. Just when hopes pine down, Indraja is seen in the divine attire along with some wild animals in a deep forest. Though she mentally prepares herself to leave the Planet Earth, she is stopped by the innocent friendship, affection and Raju’s love towards her.  It is time for a fantastic duet which speaks of the eternal relationship between Raju and Indraja- the human power and divine power!

Apart from Ilaiyaraaja’s fantastic music, Veturi’s lyrics deserve a special mention here. He writes the feelings of a divine woman as if he has really seen one with amazing perfection. Some phrases like “ Devagaanam antha Yenki Paatalaaye” (“The divine melody has become a folk song!) and “Devathalle vacchi Jaanakalle Maari” (“The divine lady has transformed to Goddess Seetha”) are few examples of his lyrical brilliance.

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The overall treatment of Raju-Indraja’s relationship was done in extremely subtle manner by the director and writer. You wouldn’t see extreme emotions or anything over dramatic and it was indeed a great attempt for a commercial flick of this sort.  Chiranjeevi and Sridevi’s histrionics complement wonderfully each other in every frame they arrive.  It is not at all an easy task for filmmaker to conceive a love story between a typical hero and a divine woman, that too in a convincing manner and Raghavendra Rao gets full marks in this department!

Chiranjeevi and Sridevi

Now that Raju understands divine power in the form of Indraja is with him, he decides to teach Das and Mahadrushta a final lesson. He teases the timid goons with his magical powers and this overall episode has irresistible influence of Mr. India. However, Chiranjeevi’s unique charisma and grace makes it class apart. After some dramatic moments and the ring getting misplaced- yet reaching the hero through divine intervention, the big moment of Raju and Mahadrushta’s confrontation arrives. When Indraja gives the ring to Raju and asks him to finish the evil wizard with the magical powers, our hero refuses to kill Mahadrushta with magical powers but trusts his human abilities.

This teaches a very important fact to us that to do any task, divine intervention or supernatural powers are not needed necessarily and humans are equipped with every strength to do it! Rightfully, the good wins over the evil and just when the time arrives for Indraja to leave Planet Earth, she makes the decision which her heart tells. She throws the magical ring into the sea and returns for Raju’s selfless love and affection.

Climax

The film thereby ends on an optimistic note which keeps human efforts and abilities an edge high over divine powers and miracles.

Marapuraani Chitralu remembers the entire cast and crew of Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari for giving us an unforgettable cinematic experience with thrills, adventure, fun and what not!

A very special mention has to be made for..

Ashwani Dutt for his remarkable production values and grand vision for every stunt and key sequence of the film.

Jandhyala and Yandamoori Veerendranath for thinking of a challenging story and convincing K.Raghavendra Rao about the commercial dimension of it.

Neeta Lulla for Sridevi’s breathtaking costume designing.

The successful musical duo Ilaiyaraaja- Veturi for churning out chartbusters which have tremendous and mesmerizing value!

Stay tuned for the upgraded Marapuraani Chitralu and more exploration of unforgettable Telugu Cinema!

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