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, idlebrain.com 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.
Hussain got the process down to a science. When he started
off during the late sixties and continued to dominate the
commercial Hindi film scene during much of the seventies,
his formula was quite simple. He knew the parameters, rather
limitations, of commercial cinema and he played within those
boundaries churning one success after another in Jab Pyaar
Kisee Se Hota Hai, Dil Deke Dekho, Caravan, Teesri Manzil,
Hum Kisee Se Kum Naheen and the like, never attempting to
look beyond realm of the make-believe world that his characters
moved in, never trying to achieve beyond the means of entertainment
cinema. His formula was quite simple - trust the crime angle
to deliver the payoff. Building up a regular emotional drama,
setting up conflict points, resolutions and endings, which
was, and still is, the prototype for a majority of the movies
run the inherent risk of wrong emphases, side-stepping over
key issues, and unsatisfactory endings. On the other hand,
relying on a crime element has the already built-in advantage
that the setup directly dictates the resolution, meaning,
a good setup leads to a better resolution, without having
to look elsewhere to deliver the final emotional payoff.
A funny setup, like 2 desperate guys kidnapping a rich lady
expecting a huge ransom have their tables turned on them,
when the husband wants her wife to be killed to inherit
her riches, naturally flows into a even funnier resolution,
when the wife teams up with the kidnappers and teaches her
husband a lesson. Introduce the crime element right at the
beginning, surround with foot-tapping music, make the characters
as dynamic and as vibrant as possible, one almost can formulize
this Nasir Hussain genre.
Gangaraju, the writer-director of the movie, seems to follow
similar footsteps. Get the core point of the movie dripping
in crime, weave the plot around the element, and show a
logical resolution to the setup. Gangaraju raises the ante
in "Little Soldiers" by mixing the thriller genre
with kiddie picture. Another potential landmine, the kiddie
picture. Make the kid characters mature enough and make
them sound adult, the charm and innocence that is usually
associated with the kid's picture is lost (Most of the AVM's
movies that were released around the early 80s involving
a variety of animals and obnoxious kid characters would
vouch for this). Make the kid characters really innocent
and make them sound too much childish, the charm factor
would lose its effect in a matter of minutes and the script
is left with the unwanted burden of immature characters.
It is precisely for this reason that most of the makers
stay away from children's movies, since the line is too
fine and the path is too treacherous. Bapu's "baalaraju
kadha", Gulzar's "kitaab", Satosh Sivan's
"abhayam" and to a certain extent Shekar Kapur's
"Masoom" serve as the prime examples for kid pictures.
Even among them, the sometimes sentimental and sometimes
philosophical "baalaraju kadha" and overtly sentimental
"Masoom" pale in comparision to Gulzar's "kitaab",
where the script is seen through the eyes of the 8 year
old kid, who runs away from his home unable to handle the
pressures of coping up with studies at school and the over-bearing
of his concerned guardians at home (this plot is interestingly
similar to Sivan's "abhayam", made much later,
with a young Tarun portraying a role reminiscent of Master
trick lies in deciding the right language for the kids.
How well a kid's character comes across the screen is decided
by how well the kid's speak is written in the script, reflecting
and duly respecting the age of the kid and his maturity
level at that age. "ammaa naaga daevataa, maa ammaa
naanna lani kalipi maa jeevitam ellappuDoo sukha SaantulatO
vardhillaeTaTTu varameeyi" - now this dialogue coming
out of a 5 year old kid sounds jarring, distracting, and
more over, very irritating. The serious disconnect between
the age of the character and the type of speak certainly
derails the emotional attachment the audience has with the
character, whereby any subsequent dialogue spoken by that
character is handled with oodles of salt. "ammaa, naenu
first vocchaa" rushes the kid into the arms of the
waiting mother, "aem subject lOnae" asks the mother
suprisingly/disbelivingly, "class lOnchi bayaTiki first
vocchaa" proudly proclaims the 3 year old kid. The
3 year old kid walks into a store, looks around and grabs
a toy plane. She walks to the counter pulls out her baby
purse and gives the store keeper a fake 50 rupee bill. He
looks at the kid, at the fake bill and in a condescending
tone says "ivi nijam Dabbulu kaavammaa". Spat
comes the reply "idi nijam plane kaadu kadaa?".
Situations as these illustrate the understanding of the
writer the kid's age and their mental makeup. What would
become quite obvious at a later age, starts off being curious
at a young age. What turns into a complex situation at a
later age, seems so simplistic at a young age. The mettle
of the writer lies in looking at the complex scenarios of
later day age through the simplistic lens of a young age,
offering amusing, and sometimes practical and realistic
the plot of the movie on their shoulders, the lyrics moves
the story along, letting the audience glimpse at the unseen
facets of a character or a situation that does no normally
come across or which could not normally be put forth in
the spoken word. Sirivennela thrives in such situations.
"gooTi biLLa aaDadaam, sixeru koDadaamu", "correct
game kaadu ayinaa baane undi", "cheruvu lOna dookudaam
eetalu koDadaam", "buffaloes kadi bathroom kaadaa
mari?" thus goes the poetic conversation between a
servant and the kid. Again with the emphasis on the mental
make-up of the kid. Sirivennela comes down to the level
of a 3 year old and poetically puts across a casual conversation.
Also interesting is the prosaic style that he adopts for
such conversational type lyrical word. Take the tune out
of the words, the lyrics sound like a normal conversation.
"tannula koddee pencil lannee swaaha chaestaavae, tinavae
tallee anToo unna annam tinavaemae, bunny paeru chepitae
oorilO andaroo baabOy anTunnarae, daani brother anTae nannae
mundugaa antaa tantunnaarae". The words never leave
the ground, the thought never grows beyond the age, and
yet the simple observations sound funny and witty.
vaammO enta danger!!
aem chaestaavu major??
comics class books chaesi chadivistaa
all days holidays aaDukOnDi anTaa
exams vastae appuDu elaa mari?
maarkulu kooDaa manamae vaestae sari
Credit needs to be given as much to the much under-rated
music director, Sri, for coming up with tune after tune
that would accommodate these excellent prosaic lyrics.
is indeed a brave venture to debut moviemaking with the
potentially explosive combination of crime thrillers and
kids pictures. It is indeed a miracle to pull of a near-perfect
kids picture where kids act their age, speak their language,
do things that suit their level and still end up interesting.
For all the risks, for all the potential landmines, for
all the twists and turns, Little Soldiers ranks as one of
the best kids movie made by adults for adults.