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maTTilOa maanikyaalu
best movies, yet box office failures
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by Srinivas Kanchibhotla

Here is the series that throws light on some of the box-office failures that deserve to be ranked as some of the best movies of Telugu industry. With it, want to highlight the efforts that went into the making of the movie, so that our current generation would never ever forget these long and forgotten gems.

Ee Chaduvulu Maa Koddu

Is rewarding merit the only way a society can progress or is making an attempt to bring along with it the underclassed sections the right move in the right direction? Merit moves the society forward but if the weight of the underprivileged drags on and starts becoming an unwanted burden, how long, how far and how fast can the progress be achieved? Can the ill-effects of over 3000 years of injustice targeted specifically at certain sections of society be mitigated by, say, 50 years or 100 years of grants, sops and special privileges? And finally, should the future generations be made to stand to trial to the sins and crimes committed by their forefathers? What is the statute of limitations on foolishness, arrogance and collective wrong-doings? Can good-will be (en)forced by the government? Who is constantly at the cross-hairs in such a volatile environment - government or the people? There are more questions than there could ever be answers; there are more wrongs here before one could sight a right; there are elements of mistrust, ill-will and mutual hatred whenever the issue in question is brought up at any forum - Reservations.

The movie in discussion was made about 20 years ago. But the issue, the players and the victims remain as fresh and as contemporary as ever. When the country was formed half a century ago, several studies and several commissions went into finding a viable and tenable solution to the question that raged from pre-independence days - what constitutes social justice? Here is a segment of society that continued to be raised, remained and razed in the same dark corners for generations together, too afraid to come into the light and join the mainstream, for the fear of unwanted and misdirected castigation. This segment that has mushroomed in the dark shadows of the society, in the name of a system whose intentions were division of labor, at best, and segregation and discrimination, at worst, suffered for centuries together with no end in sight. What then would be the right way, the justified way and the human way to bring them back to the mainstream, sincerely apologize for the injustices meted out to that segment and respectfully offer WHATEVER was necessary to bring it to the table and seat it with the rest of the society, giving it its due respect and more importantly, MORE THAN ITS DUE SHARE?

Anybody in the right mind would neither object nor contest bringing their long lost and forgotten brethren into the same step, same stride and same sprint, for, that is what progress really means - understanding not only the challenges that lie ahead but rectifying whatever mistakes that had been done before. Consequently, quotas were established, special aids and tools were supplied, a concerted effort towards the upliftment of the downtrodden class was made with good intentions. As time progressed along and the baton was passed down to the next generation (and the generation after), there emerged a new class of people, with either vague or no idea of how worse it was for that segment till just a few decades ago, who started to grow resentment and disenchantment for the step-motherly treatment that the government is meting out to them, at their loss and at their dime. So the question eventually came out - AT WHAT COST! At what cost is the quota system going to continue for years on; what visible signs of progress, development and upliftment should the administration see or made aware of to realize that the segment has indeed joined the mainstream and finally end the special care; is quota system the same as the much maligned caste system applied in reverse.

"ee chaduvulu maa koddu" remains as the first movie to voice the discontentment of the so called privileged class against the reservation system. Vejella Satyanarayana, the man committed to the cause of making only socially relevant movies, tackled the controversial, yet justified, reservation system from the perspective of the other side, indicating that victims lie on either side of the spectrum, immaterial of the caste or creed they were born into, injustices were borne by one and all, as long as favor system is in place (in the name of caste in the earlier days, and in the name of quotas in the latter period) and resentments were loaded the same anger, desperation and frustrations, no matter which side of the argument one espouses. Vejella brings up a very valid argument in that he questions if quotas were needed for the same 3000 years to completely nullify the effects of the caste system that had been in vogue for that same period; whether the same inhuman treatment should be meted out to the progeny of the perpetrators for centuries to come, if every equation needs to balanced out, injustice for injustice, inhumanity to inhumanity and finally insanity to insanity; if progress indeed is selecting a starting point and try to move forward from there on. If only finding solutions were as easy as asking those troubling questions...


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