is often considered that there are only 5 basic story lines,
like the seven notes with music, which when tinkered with at
different positions, yield the innumerable variations and thus
the plethora of 'different' stories. This formulaic structure
of sticking to these basic lines, more times than not, proves
a hindrance, holding down the story from truly soaring, without
getting bogged down within the boundaries of box-office.
is usually rare, particularly in Telugu industry, that a story
line come along, which does not obey the image constraints and
returns' rules, flouting the normal conventions and trampling
on tenets of box office success formula. And it is no surprise
that these ideas germinate in the fertile imaginations of writers'
of the published word that writer's of the celluloid world.
Anudeep's devotion of Vidyadhari transcends to that level where
the power of love grants him the seemingly 'illusory' powers
(like his ability to grow back his chopped arm), which he uses
not to further his love motives towards her but teach her the
true meaning of love (in it, his love even transcended physicality).
Now imagine a movie writer pitching this idea to the producer!
Chiranjeevi (not the actor, but the character) stages a suicidal
drama to advance his cause of getting IPC 302 section abolished.
Gandhi challenges a capitalist and proves that sky is the limit
for a frustrated genius. Gopi, an abider and protector of the
principles of justice, resorts to jungle law (aaTavika nyaayam)
to rise against the tyranny of oppression. Darka, an practitioner
of occult beyond par, uses his power against himself, to repose
his faith in humanity and love. Subjects as varied as these
comes natural to him (not easy, but natural). The depths he
delves to research each of his topics completely and comprehensively
is unparalleled - be it black magic (a loose translation of
chaeta baDi, baaNamati, biLLa and other traditional occult methods),
or stock market, or Indian Penal Code, or Mumbai mafia's nexus
with the labor unions, or his pet subject psycho-analysis.
arrival on the scene (be it in the publishing world or the celluloid
world) lent a fresh breath of air and a fresh lease of life
clearing away the stench of the stagnation and rut of the rotten.
His works on and off the screen can truly be termed as "different".
He remained the backbone behind the launch of a star to super
stardom, rise of a fledgling production house to a powerful
production company and introduction of the concept of variety.
To borrow John Lennon's (of Beatles fame) most famous infamous
quote, he was more popular than Jesus Christ - Yandamoori Veerendranath.
Yandamoori's initial foray into the publishing world was marked
with difference (yugaantam, parNaSaala, rushi, niSSabdam neeku
naaku madhya, duppaTlO minnaagu and the like) that made people
to sit up and notice, it was that wild and crazy mix of occult
sciences with the natural sciences, coupled with hypnotism and
pure horror, that he concocted for "tulasi daLam",
which earned much needed cheers from the readers while earning
some jeers from the critics, in the process. Though the similarity
to William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist" was acknowledged
by Yandamoori, it was for the pure earthiness of the plot and
the ingeniousness in construction (the Saili and the Silpam)
that (y)ear-marked 1980 as the advent of a writer, for whom
story telling was more important than the story that he was
trying to tell.
his arrival, the novels that were adapted to the screen, strictly
revolved around the familiar family drama themes (and the same
5 basic story lines concept), the nucleus families, the joint
families, the transition from joint to single families, the
trials and the tribulations ensuing, the rich boy, the poor
girl and vice-versa, and to quote muLLapooDi - banDeDu kashTaalu,
kunDaDu kaNNeeLLu. And since most of the writers were of female
orientation (YaddhanapooDi Sulochana Rani, MaadireDDi Sulochana,
Koduri Kousalya Devi, Ramalakhsmi, Ranganaayakamma etc), movies
made around the same period (the mid and late 70s) effused of
effeminism, and probably contributed to the rise of "mahiLaa
chitraalu". Enter Yandamoori, and the age of male and macho
themes dawned on both the celluloid and publishing worlds.
Even before "tulasi", the sequel to "tulasi daLam",
was adapted to the screen (and badly at that), it was his ground-breaking
work "abhilaasha" that was first adapted to the silver
screen, thanks to the producer K.S.Rama Rao's enthusiasm in
bringing to screen this inventive and exciting work of fiction.
Chiranjeevi (not the actor, but the character) is no Chiranjeevi
(not the character, but the actor). He is not a do-all, be-all
personality. His clumsy, self-effacing style, that is seriously
out of atleast two steps with the rest of the society endears
Aparna for his lack of guile and the strength of conviction.
And his conviction is no mean task in itself - to argue and
convince Supreme Court to abolish Indian Penal Code most dreaded
section - 302. The suspense in "Abhilaasha" is all
home-grown, in it, the bad guy does not make his appearance
just at the conclusion, reveal his ridiculous motive, that flies
completely in the face to what was built up until that point,
contributing toward an unsatisfying ending to the brilliant
premise. Abhilaasha is as much about suspense as it is about
sincerity. The way Yandamoori pits one against the other, bouncing
Chiranjeevi between the walls of conviction and suspicion, brought
out for the first time, the common man in uncommon circumstances
theme. A truthful adaptation (by Satyamoorthy), a nice blending
with the music (by Illayaraja), a sincere performance by Chiranjeevi
and taut direction by A. Kodandarami Reddy, made Abhilaasha
the best adaptation of a Yandamoori's work to the silver screen
('Thriller' as "mutyamanta muddu" comes in second).
(Cont'd in part 2)
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