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maTTilOa maanikyaalu
best movies, yet box office failures
tell a friend

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.


Hope is a dangerous feeling. It conveniently masks the current turbulence and makes the mind focus only on the all too distant future. It forces the mind to refuse all the possibilities of a situation going wrong in any number of ways and instead leads it to believe that despite all the pitfalls, all the thorns, all the trials and tribulations, it can see what it has believed in happening in all that too distant future. Hope is a fuel to perseverance. It sidesteps all the potential land mines and continues egging on the mind into truly believing that the light at the end of the tunnel is no slight of the eye afterall. It encourages the spirits when at the points of its lowest ebbs or at points when it is in deep trenches, to pull itself by its own bootstraps and follow the prescribed path in search of that all too bright distant future. Hope is a mirage. It lures the mind into seeing something that never existed and that something that would never exist. It keeps the mind into following the never-ending road to the never-existing land. Hope is a torch. It casts its long shadows guiding the efforts and spirits in the right direction over the paths of present that would eventually lead up to that bright future. Hope is a see-saw. It alternates between despair and desperation. It is caught in the tug of war the between the little glimmer of the optimism and the great gloom of pessimism. But for all its downsides, for all its misgivings, for all its trouble spots, Hope is still a good feeling, a good companion in those long stretches of the journey into the unknown.

nireekshaNa pegs its entire existence on this single emotion of hope. When fate, circumstances, and to a certain extent, coincidence plays foul with the couple in question (hero, who is a forest officer and heroine who is a tribal lady), hope remains the only faithful companion by their side, trying to raise their spirits up at all the necessary intervals, providing them with enough fuel to continue their lives amidst the distress, duress and stress. nireekshaNa, an adaptation from its malayalam original, sets obstacles one after the other in the line of their collective fates, and watches the couple as they maneuver the hurdles one after the other, without losing that all important companion that carries them through the end of this turbulence - Hope. Balu Mahendra, the director of the movie also doubling as the lensman, picks up this hopeless (or full of hope, depending on the perspective) subject of hardships, desparations, longing, and separation that sans any commercial ingredients and assembles the crew of Illayaraja (music), Veturi (lyrics) and Jandhyala (words), to translate into words and sounds the single emotion of hope, that surfaces everytime during trying times. Mahendra does a reverse with nireekshaNa, to what he has earlier attempted during Moonram pirai (Vasantha Kokila). If Kamal Hasan builds up all the love, caring and tenderness till the end for Sridevi only to lose her at the end, Bhanu Chander saves up all the passion, emotions, and undying hope till end for Archana, to get one chance of meeting her, one chance to let her know how, inspite of all the hardships that he had to go through, he still has preserved the image of her, the idea of her still deep in his heart, and all the trials and troubles in the world, can toy with his body and not with his spirit.

"aakaaSam aenaaTidO anuraagam aanaaTidi", "chukkallae tOchaavae, ennellae kaachaavae", "yamunaa endukae nuvvu intaa nalupekki naavu", "tiyyanni daanimma kommallO nanTaa" - Veturi steps in to chart the progress of the movie through his lyrics (set to Illayaraja's original malayalam tunes), encompassing the whole story of the movie in "tiyyanni", depicting the thoughts of the untouched innocence in the every day lives of tribal folk in "yamunaa endukae nuvvu", (the pick of all) wondering about the depths and heights (adyantaalu) of true love "aakaaSam aenaaTidO" and handling the theme of the movie, hope, with all the resignation and with all the aspiration in "chukkalae tOchaavae". During the period when Veturi was ruling the commercial medium (coincidentally with Illayaraja) penning his usual styled words (some times deep, most of the times shallow, some times meaningful, most of the times, inane), nireekshaNa made him to step aside his beaten track and get back to the world where words mean something, words reflect something and words depict something. Ponder over the lyric for "aakaaSam aenaaTidO" -

ae puvvu ae taeTi dannadO
ae naaDO raasunnadi
ae muddu ae mOvi dannadO
ae poddO raasunnadi
bandhaalayi penuvaeyu vayasuku
andaalae daasOhamanagaa
mandaaram virabooyu pedavulaku
madhuvulanae chavichooDamanagaa

while trying to reason why an educated, well-spoken forest officer have to fall for a uncivilized and uncultured tribal lady. If destiny proves a major factor as to why someone has to end up with someone (or why someone ends up with someone else), hope gives an even greater reason for why the pursuit has to continue, despite all the odds, for the simple reason that destiny has to be met. The justification of this pursuit given with a "kaalaanne niladeesi kalalaku, ivvaalee velalaeni viluvalu", offers a glimpse into Veturi's depth and prowess both as writer of careful insight and one of great intellect.

nireekshaNa tested the mettle of their love. nireekshaNa forged their union by fire. nireekshaNa challenged the conventions of separation. nireekshaNa created the deep depths of longing. Above all, nireekshaNa showed the way through hope. An interesting venture on proving a point about hope, by concluding that hopelessness cannot survive in the face of indomitable spirits.


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