Daana Veera Soora Karna
|Daana Veera Soora Karna|
|Directed by||N.T. Rama Rao|
|Produced by||N.T. Rama Rao|
|Written by||N.T. Rama Rao|
|Starring||N.T. Rama Rao
Gummadi Venkateswara Rao
|Music by||Pendyala Nageswara Rao|
|Studio||Ramakrishna Cine Studios|
|Release dates||January 14, 1977|
|Running time||233 min.|
|Box office||2 Crore|
Daana Veera Soora Karna is a 1977 Telugu mythological film produced and directed by N. T. Rama Rao. He played three pivotal roles: Karna, Duryodhana, and Krishna. The film also starred his sons Nandamuri Harikrishna and Nandamuri Balakrishna, who played the roles of Arjuna and Abhimanyu respectively, while Sharada, Chalapathi Rao, Kaikala Satyanarayana and Gummadi Venkateswara Rao essayed other important roles.
The film was completed in 43 working days, which was a record, given that each of the three characters played by N. T. Rama Rao (NTR) took at least three hours to put the makeup and two hours to remove it. NTR never used to see the rushes before the release; thus they edited the film within days, without seeing the rushes. Kannappa, who earlier worked for NTR's Manushulanta Okkate worked for this film, too. As there was no time for the work to be checked, one can notice the wire work in a couple of scenes, but the audience never bothered about that. Mayasabha work was not completed by the time of the shooting. So, NTR took close-ups while the paintings were done and long shots once it was completed, in order to save time. However, this detail did not reflect on the screen. Harikrishna and Balakrishna also painted the sets along with the art department personnel.
Many films were based on Mahabharata in Telugu; the difference between those films and this one is the characterization of Duryodhana. While making the Sree Krishna Pandaveeyam itself, NTR projected Duryodhana as 'Suyodhana' with a positive touch to the role. In this film, he projected Duryodhana as a well-educated person who knew dharma and other things much better than anyone. Some people even say that the title of the movie could actually have been Maanadhana veera suyodhana — such is the importance and characterization of Suyodhana.
This is the first film shot in Ramakrishna Cine Studios in Hyderabad that was started on 7 June 1976 by Tamil superstar M. G. Ramachandran. On the same day, he clapped the muhurth shot for this film. This is the 248th film for N. T. Rama Rao, fifth film for both Balakrishna and Harikrishna's, and the third film on Ramakrishna Cine Studios banner.
While NTR was busy with the DVSK, Krishna was busy with the production of Kurusketram. While the former was completely made locally in Ramakrishna Cine Studios, Kurukshetram was shot in Mysore, Rajasthan, and other places with huge settings. Three people who worked for both the films were C. Narayana Reddy, Kaikala Satyanarayana (Duryodhana in Kurukshetram), and Gummadi Venkateswara Rao (Dharmaraju in Kurukshetram).
Initially, NTR wanted ANR to play the role of Krishna as heilm Chankya Chandragupta if he was given a choice. NTR's original plan at that time was to make Chanakya Chandragupta with him in the role of Chanakya and Balakrishna in the role of Chandragupta. When ANR offered to do the role of Chanakya, NTR made changes accordingly and did the role of Chandragupta. However, the script was not ready yet, and there was news that Krishna was planning the film Kurukshetram with a story line similar to Dana Veera Soora Karna. Thus, NTR started DVS Karna immediately, with an intent to release the film for Sankranthi at any cost.
Sharada, who worked with NTR in Jeevita Chakram many years prior, acted as Draupadi. She had a lot of doubts before agreeing to do the role. Most of all, she was nervous to work with NTR as she was aware of his strictness. On the first day of the shooting, she was so nervous that she took a lot of takes for her part. After the shooting for the day, NTR talked to her and made her more comfortable. After that film, she did many films with him. Actually her re-entry into the films in her second innings was with the NTR's Chandashasanudu.
Chalapathi Rao did three roles (Jarasandha, Atiratha, Indra) and also appears in two other getups as disguises of Indra, while Jayabhaskar did a dual role (Surya, Ekalavya). It was NTR who gave a chance to Dhulippala as Sakuni in the film Sree Krishna Pandaveeyam. For this film also, he was chosen for the same role for a remuneration of Rs. 1116/-!
Balakrishna played the role of Abhimanyu, which got him very good recognition. Hariskrishna did the role of Arjuna. After Thatamma Kala, this was the second and the last film where all the three of them worked together. This was the only film in which you can see NTR's daughters, even for a second, on the screen in the dance scene of "Jaabili Kante Challanidi". Though the complete song was shot, ANR suggested that the scene should be deleted and NTR took out the song before the censor. However, one can still see his daughters on the screen for a moment.
The scene of Indra meeting Karna asking him his Kavacha Kundalas is also a famous scene in the movie.
Script and dialogues
After much mulling over and asking around, they finally zeroed in on Kondaveeti Venkatakavi to write the script and dialogues for the film. At that time, he was the principal of a Sanskrit college. Kondaveeti Venkatakavi (KVK) is an atheist, and he thus rejected the offer. When NTR personally went and requested, he was unable to say no and both NTR and KVK started working on the script. With this film, KVK got lot of name.
Dialogues of the film became very popular. The film's dialogues were released as LP and audiocassettes and sold very well. HMV, the company that released the audio, claims that there are considerable sales of the cassettes, and CDs, even now. Particular scenes such as the first meeting of Karna and Suyodhana, Sakuni's encouragement to Suyodhana to go to the raajasUya yaagam, the Mayasabha scene and the subsequent mental upset of Suyodhana, the scene that precedes Draupadi's vastraapaharaNam, and the raayabaaram scene are all famous for their lengthy and complicated dialogues.
The dialogues were immensely popular even though they were in chaste bookish Telugu (graanthikamu). Notable is the "positive spin" that the dialogues give to Suyodhana's character without changing the original story any much, particularly in scenes such as vastraapaharaNam and raayabaaram, where he projects himself as the good guy and Pandavas and Krishna as crooked minds. While most mythological and folkloric movies since the 1950s were all in more or less colloquial tongue (vaaDuka bhaasha), this movie from the 1970s used graanthika bhaasha completely.
- Most of the verses in DVS Karna are taken from Paandavodyoga Vijayam and Sree Krishna Raayabaram by the famous poet duo Tirupati Venkata Kavulu. Pundareekakshayya had got the rights for these while making the film Sreekrishnaavataaram in the past. Krishna wanted to use them for Kuruskshetram and gave a blank cheque to Pundareekakshayya, who refused the offer and gave the rights to NTR for free.
- S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Peesapati Raghuramayya (who was famous on the stage for the role of Krishna) sang the Raayabaram verses initially, but NTR was not satisfied with that. He even thought of using the verses that originally rendered by Ghantasala for the film Sri Krishnavataram. It was Saluri Rajeswara Rao who suggested to use V. Ramakrishna for the verses. Once the film was released, Ramakrishna got a lot of name.
- Padmalaya Studios got the rights of Ghantasala's Bhagavadgeeta audio after his death and used those verses in Kurukshetram, while DVS Karna has "prosaic" Bhagavadgeeta for the most part.
- Initially, Saluri Rajeswara Rao was the music director for the film. The songs Ye talli ninu kannado and the verses were all set to music by him. While he recorded the songs, rest of them were done by Pendyala Nageshwara Rao. However, the title card shows only Pendyala's name. The film has ten songs and 35 verses. This might be the only film which has so many singing items (Lavakusa, maybe?). This was the last movie for Pendyala. **Correction** DVS Karna is not his last movie. Prema Deepaalu (1987) is his last movie -- source: ChimataaMusic's Swarnayuga Sageetha Darsakulu book (2011).
The film was censored on 12 January 1977 and was released on 14 January. (DVS Karna was released with 30 prints in all, but Gemini was unable to print all 30 prints in the short time given, and thus the film was released in 14 centers on the first day and in 16 centers the next day.) The film ran for 100 days in 9 centers and 250 days in Hyderabad Shanti Theatre. DVS Karna's cost was less than ten lakhs. It earned more than one crore in the first run itself! Another record of the film was that it was sold for 60 lakhs for the repeat run in 1994 with 30 prints and earned more than one crore in the repeat run too! (The distributors invested ten thousand per area and got a one scope print per district from Gemini Labs).
DVS Karna can be claimed to be one of the lengthiest films in Telugu film industry and even in the Indian film industry on the whole! Its running time is 4 hrs 17 minutes. Out of this, NTR can be seen on the screen for nearly four hours, which is also a record! (Though Raj Kapoor's magnum opus Mera Naam Joker runs for 4 hrs 24 minutes, the film was later trimmed by forty minutes.) A Russian cultural group that visited India at that time saw the film and was wonderstruck with the film, and NTR's abilities that sustained and entertained a lengthy film!
Box office performance
- The film had a 100-day run in 9 centres.
- The film had a 250 day run in Hyderabad.
- The film collected huge amounts in its time and even in repeat runs.
- Annaa Devudu Ledhanaa (Lyricist: C. Narayana Reddy; Singers: S. Janaki)
- Chithram Bhalaare Vichitram (Lyricist: C. Narayana Reddy; Singers: S. P. Balasubramaniam, P. Susheela)
- Idhira Dhora Madhiraa (Lyricist: C. Narayana Reddy; Singer: S. Janaki
- Jayeebhava Vijayeebhava (Lyricist: C. Narayana Reddy; Singers: S. P. Balasubramaniam, G. Anand)
- Kalagantino Swamy (Lyricist: Dasarathi; Singers: P. Susheela and M. Ramesh)
- Raa Raa Itu Raa Raa (Lyricist: C. Narayana Reddy; Singer: S. Janaki)
- Thelisenule Priyaa Rasikaa (Lyricist: C. Narayana Reddy; Singers: P. Susheela and S. Janaki)
- Ye Thalli Ninu Kannadho (Lyricist: C. Narayana Reddy; Singer: P. Susheela)
- Yela Santhaapammu (Lyricist: C. Narayana Reddy; Singer: V. Ramakrishna)
DVS Karna was the first Telugu film to collect more than Rs.1 Crores in those days with second and third release.
In the first twenty years after its release, DVS Karna sold the highest number of tickets beating all the new releases for the year in 13 years. Lava Kusa is the only other movie with re-run value beyond three releases.