Poster of the Telugu version
|Directed by||Kadiri Venkata Reddy|
|Produced by||B. Nagi Reddy
|Screenplay by||Kadri Venkata Reddy|
|Story by||Pingali Nagendra Rao|
|Distributed by||Vijaya Vahini Studios|
Mayabazar (English: Market of Illusions) is a 1957 Indian-mythological epic bilingual film written by Pingali Nagendra Rao and directed by Kadiri Venkata Reddy. The film was produced by B. Nagi Reddy and Aluri Chakrapani under the banner Vijaya Vauhini Studios in Telugu and Tamil with a partly different cast. N. T. Rama Rao, S. V. Ranga Rao and Savitri played key roles while Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Gummadi Venkateswara Rao, Relangi Venkata Ramaiah, C. S. R. Anjaneyulu (Telugu version) and Gemini Ganesan, D. Balasubramaniam, K. A. Thangavelu, M. N. Nambiar (Tamil version) were seen in important roles. The film was the eighth in the series of the adaptations of the folk tale Sasirekha Parinayam and concerns the role of Krishna and Ghatotkacha in the marriage of Sasirekha, the daughter of Balarama, with Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna.
The film was made with an estimated budget of 200,000 with a final film length of 5,888 metres (19,318 ft). Ghantasala composed the film's music and Marcus Bartley was the cinematographer. The film was edited by the duo C. P. Jambulingam and G. Kalyanasundaram, while Madhavapeddi Gokhale-Kaladhar were the film's art directors. The Telugu version was released on 27 March 1957, and the Tamil version on on 12 April 1957. It was also dubbed into Kannada.
Post release, the film was a commercial success and went on to become one of the evergreen classics of Telugu and Tamil cinema and was touted as a landmark in Indian film's cinematography, art direction and visual effects with the technology available at the time. The film has received the Filmfare Award for Best Film in Telugu and was also featured at the 1957 International Film Festival of India and Indonesian Film Festival. The Telugu version's digitally remastered and colourised version was released on 30 January 2010 which too was commercially successful.
- Note: This plot summary refers to the original Telugu version of the film
Subhadra, the sister of Balarama and Krishna marries one of the Pandavas named Arjuna and their son Abhimanyu loves Balarama's daughter Sasirekha. Both families decide to conduct their marriage once they reach adulthood. By the time Abhimanyu and Sasirekha turn adults, Pandavas lose in a dice game to the Kauravas led by Duryodhana due to the manipulation of Sakuni. Krishna is furious for the act of Dussasana insulting Draupadi and saves her. Balarama decides to teach a lesson to the Kauravas and reaches Hastinapuram. Sakuni and Duryodhana together shower utmost respect towards Balarama and after manipulating him, they seek his favour by asking that Sasirekha be married to Duryodhana's son Lakshmana Kumara. They do it with the intention of forcing Balarama and Krishna to support them if Pandavas wage a war after the completion of their fourteen year exile. Unaware of this, Balarama accepts.
Balarama's wife Revati refuses to honour her previous commitment of conducting the marriage of Sasirekha with Abhimanyu due to the present financial position of the Pandavas. Krishna then manages to send Subhadra and Abhimanyu to Ghatotkacha's ashram. Initially, Ghatotkacha assumes them to be intruders in his forest and attacks them, but later apologizes for his misunderstanding. When Subhadra narrates about what happened of her son and Sasirekha, Ghatotkacha decides to play some trickery in Dwaraka. He first, with the knowledge of Krishna and a servant girl, flies the sleeping Sasirekha along with her bed, from Dwaraka to his forest. Next, using his magical powers, he assumes the form of Sasirekha and goes back to Dwaraka and wrecks her wedding with Lakshmana Kumara.
He creates a Mayabazar and makes Kauravas stay there where his retinues create havoc. On the wedding day, Ghatotkacha makes Lakshmana Kumara loose his mental balance by appearing in different tantalising forms. Meanwhile, back in the forest, Sasirekha is married to Abhimanyu in the presence of Krishna. When Sakuni accuses Krishna for all the misdeeds, the former is made to speak the truth using a special box and Ghatotkacha reveals his real identity. While the Kauravas are sent back to Hastinapuram, Sasirekha's parents accept her wedding and bless the newlyweds back at the forest. All thank Ghatotkacha for conducting the marriage who then credits Krishna as the mastermind behind everything happened.
- Common Cast
- N. T. Rama Rao as Krishna
- S. V. Ranga Rao as Ghatotkacha
- Savitri as Sasirekha (Telugu) / Vatsala (Tamil)
- Rushyendramani as Subhadra
- Sandhya as Rukmini
- Nagabhushanam as Satyaki
- Allu Rama Lingaiah as Sarma
- Vangara Venkata Subbaiah as Sastry
- Madhavapeddi Satyam as Daaruka
- Remaining Cast
- Akkineni Nageswara Rao (Telugu) / Gemini Ganesan (Tamil) as Abhimanyu
- Gummadi Venkateswara Rao (Telugu) / D. Balasubramaniam (Tamil) as Balarama
- Mukkamala (Telugu) / R. Balasubramaniam (Tamil) as Duryodhana
- C. S. R. Anjaneyulu (Telugu) / M. N. Nambiar (Tamil) as Sakuni
- Mikkilineni Radhakrishna Murthy (Telugu) / V. K. Srinivasan (Tamil) as Karna
- Chaya Devi (Telugu) / Lakshmi Prabha (Tamil) as Revati
- R. Nageswara Rao (Telugu) / E. R. Sahadevan (Tamil) as Dussasana
- Suryakantham (Telugu) / C. T. Rajakantham (Tamil) as Hidimbi
- Ramana Reddy (Telugu) / V. M. Ezhumalai (Tamil) as Chinnamaya
- Relangi Venkata Ramaiah (Telugu) / K. A. Thangavelu (Tamil) as Lakshmana Kumara
After the success of Patala Bhairavi (1951), its production company Vijaya Productions selected the entire technical crew of that film for an adaptation of Sasirekha Parinayam (1936) which was also known as Mayabazar. Kadiri Venkata Reddy wrote the film's screenplay and also directed this film which was produced by B. Nagi Reddy and Aluri Chakrapani of Vijaya Productions. Pingali Nagendra Rao wrote the story, dialogues and lyrics. Ghantasala composed the film's music and Marcus Bartley was the film's cinematographer. The film was edited by the duo C. P. Jambulingam and G. Kalyanasundaram and Madhavapeddi Gokhale-Kaladhar were the film's art directors. Singeetam Srinivasa Rao worked as an assistant director in the film.
The film was made as a bilingual film in Telugu and Tamil languages with a slightly different cast. In the place of Akkineni Nageswara Rao, who played Abhimanyu in the Telugu version, Gemini Ganesan played the role in the Tamil version. Savitri was the female lead in both the versions and her role was named Sasirekha and Vatsala in Telugu and Tamil versions respectively. The film was the eighth in the series of the adaptations of the folk tale Sasirekha Parinayam.[a] N. T. Rama Rao was initially hesitant to play the role of Krishna in this film but accepted after Venkata Reddy insisted him to do so. Special care was taken on his attires and body language. This was the first time in his career that Rama Rao played the role of Krishna.
S. V. Ranga Rao played the role of Ghatotkacha in the film and Nageswara Rao described him as the film's male lead in many interviews. Gummadi Venkateswara Rao and Mikkilineni Radhakrishna Murthy were cast for the roles of Balarama and Karna in the Telugu version respectively while Sita was cast for a supporting role as Sasirekha's maid in the film. Those three, along with Nageswara Rao were the only people alive in the film's cast during the release of the digitally remastered version. Relangi Venkata Ramaiah was cast for the role of Lakshmana Kumara, Duryodhana's son in the film and because of his popularity, a special song was shot featuring him and Savitri. Allu Rama Lingaiah and Vangara Venkata Subbaiah played the role of Shakuni's lackeys, Sarma and Sastry in the film.
D. S. Ambu Rao, the assistant of the film's cinematographer Marcus Bartley, said that the film was shot strictly by the screenplay and light set by Bartley. The song "Lahiri Lahiri" was shot at Ennore, a suburb in Chennai. The outdoor shooting of the song lasted for 10 to 15 seconds and Bartley created a moonlight illusion for the song which made it the first Indian film to do so, according to Ambu Rao. He added that while erecting the set of Dwaraka, 300 miniature houses were created in about 50 x 60 feet space and were electrified. All of them were erected under the supervision of the art director, Gokhale, and no two houses looked alike. The estimated budget for both the versions was 200,000.
Themes and influences
Though Mayabazar is said to be a mythological film based on a fictional take on Mahabharatha, film artiste trainer and director L. Satyanand opined that the film can be called a science fiction or a comedy satire touching all aspects right from action to drama and from comedy to science fiction. The film basically revolves around the love story of Balarama's daughter Sasirekha (Vatsala in Tamil) and Arjuna's son Abhimanyu.
The characters of Krishna and Balarama along with their respective wives have difference of opinions over the couple's love affair. To introduce the film's theme, Venkata Reddy uses a magic box equivalent to a Television screen which displays whatever is dear to the viewer's heart. In that box, Sasirekha's character sees her lover Abhimanyu, Balarama sees his favourite disciple Duryodhana and Balarama's wife seeing an array of jewellery, indicating her materialistic behaviour.
Mayabazar was opined as a tribute to Telugu culture, language and customs of the land, especially in the scenes where Balarama rudely asks Subhadra to leave when she confronts him with displeasure at his decision to separate Sasirekha and Abhimanyu. Though the film is a story of Paandavas and Kauravas with the Yadavas pitching in, the Pandavas are never shown but are only heard of in the film.
Album cover of the Telugu version
|Soundtrack album by Ghantasala|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
Ghantasala composed the film's music. The soundtrack consists of 12 songs, the lyrics of which were written by Pingali Nagendra Rao and Thanjai N. Ramaiah Dass for the Telugu and Tamil versions respectively. The sound mixing process was supervised by A. Krishnan and Siva Ram. It was processed by N. C. Sen Gupta and A. Krishnamurthy took charge of the orchestra. P. Leela said in an interview that while recording the songs of this film, one of the songs sung by her took 28 takes and the fifth was finalised by Ghantasala. The song "Lahiri Lahiri" ("Aaga Inba Nilavinile" in Tamil) was based on the Mohanam raga. The song "Vivaha Bhojanambu" ("Kalyana Samayal Saadham" in Tamil) was taken almost with the lyrics from Surabhi Nataka Samajam's plays of the 1950's which again was sourced from the 1940's Janaki Sapadham harikatha records of B. Nagarajakumari.
Nagarajakumari was inspired from a song composed by Gali Penchala Narasimha Rao for Sasirekha Parinayam (1936) directed by P. V. Das. That song's tune was inspired by Charles Penrose's 1922 song, "The Laughing Policeman" which Penrose composed under the pseudonym Charles Jolly. Narasimha Rao improvised that song by mixing Mexican croon. The soundtrack was marketed by HMV and the album cover depicts a still of S. V. Ranga Rao as Ghatotkacha.
|1.||"Neeve Naa"||Ghantasala, P. Leela||02:48|
|2.||"Choopulu Kalisina Shubhavela"||Ghantasala, P. Leela||03:13|
|3.||"Lahiri Lahiri"||Ghantasala, P. Leela||03:49|
|4.||"Bhali Bhali"||Madhavapeddi Satyam||02:55|
|5.||"Neekosame"||Ghantasala, P. Leela||03:25|
|6.||"Aha Naa Pellanta"||P. Susheela, Ghantasala||02:33|
|8.||"Vivaha Bhojanambu"||Madhavapeddi Satyam||02:26|
|9.||"Vinnava Yesodhamma"||P. Susheela, P. Leela||03:37|
|10.||"Dayacheyandi"||Ghantasala, K. Ravi, Pithapuram Nageswara Rao, P. Susheela||07:21|
|11.||"Srikarulu Devathalu"||M. L. Vasanthakumari||03:48|
|1.||"Patupadum Kuiliname"||P. Leela||03:21|
|2.||"Aaha Inba Nilavinile"||Ghantasala, P. Leela||02:45|
|3.||"Neethana Ennai"||Ghantasala, P. Leela||02:45|
|4.||"Thangame Un Pole"||S. C. Krishnan, Savitri||02:17|
|5.||"Dum Dumyen Kalyanam"||Jikki, Ghantasala||02:39|
|6.||"Kannudan Kalandhidum Subadhiname"||Ghantasala, P. Leela||03:13|
|7.||"Kalyana Samayal Saadham"||Trichi Loganathan||02:26|
|8.||"Unakkagave Naan Uyir Vaazhvene"||Ghantasala, P. Leela||03:25|
|9.||"Dhayai Seiveerey"||S. C. Krishnan, Sirkazhi Govindarajan, P. Susheela||06:18|
|10.||"Pambaramaiaadalaam"||Jikki, P. Susheela||03:21|
|11.||"Bale Bale"||Sirkazhi Govindarajan||02:55|
|12.||"Vinnava Yashodamma"||P. Leela||03:37|
The Telugu version of Mayabazar was released on 27 March 1957, whereas the Tamil version was released a month later, on 12 April 1957. Both the versions have a final film length of 5,888 metres (19,318 ft) and were given a "U" (Universal) certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification. The film was dubbed into Kannada, and was featured at the 1957 International Film Festival of India and at the Indonesian Film Festival.
A special screening of Mayabazar was held at the Lalita Kala Thoranam, Public Gardens, to celebrate its 50th anniversary on 7 April 2007. The celebration was jointly organised by the Department of Culture, Andhra Pradesh; Film, TV and Theatre Development Corporation and Kinnera Art Theatres. Akkineni Nageshwara Rao and C. Narayan Reddy, who were associated with the film, were felicitated on the occasion.
G. Dhananjayan in his 2011 book The Best of Tamil Cinema, 1931 to 2010 praised the songs as "excellent", the script as "interesting", and the film's making. He mentioned Savitri's performance as the film's highlight, especially in the scenes where Ghatotkacha assumes her form. W. Chandrakanth of The Hindu wrote "The greatness of the director lies here - he successfully reduces all characters to ordinary mortals displaying all the follies of human beings except Ghatothkacha or Krishna. And then he injects into the Yadava household a Telugu atmosphere, full with its simile, imagery, adage, sarcasm and wit. The result - a feast for the eyes and soul. That is Mayabazar for you". The Times of India praised the film stating "With a powerful cast and a strong script, this movie is a stealer. Savitri, NTR, ANR, SV Rangarao and not to mention Suryakantam add layers to their characters. Of course, the language and the dialogues, simply unbeatable. Some of the scenes are simply hilarious."
Digitisation and colourisation
Mayabazar is the first Telugu film transformed from black and white to colour version and full scope. Sound system has been re-mastered from mono track to DTS 5.1 channel system. In late November 2007, a Hyderabad based company named Goldstone Technologies acquired the world negative rights of 14 classic Telugu films produced by Vijaya Vauhini Studios, Mayabazar being one of them, to release their digitally re-mastered versions in colour. Mohan had years of experience during his work in AIR which made him think of redoing the sound on DTS. A team of 165 people worked for eight months. He used 0.18 million shades of color to arrive at a tone similar to that of human skin and used 16.7 million color technology. They had to restore the audio, clear the distortion, raise the voices and find instrumental musicians to perform the same background music to record them on seven tracks instead of a single track. The sound effects were also redone.
Apart from colouring the clothes and jewellery, Mohan said that the song "Vivaha Bhojanambu" and the wedding scene in the climax were the most challenging sequences, as food items should look real after colouration in the former. For the latter, Mohan explained "Each and every rose petal strewn on the pathway had to be colored. Further, each frame in the climax has many actors. In technical parlance, we refer to a set of colours used for skin tone, clothes, jewelry and so on as different masks. If five or six masks were used on one character, the presence of many actors in a frame called for that much more work". Three songs "Bhali Bhali Deva", "Vinnavamma Yashodha" and "Choopulu Kalisna Subha Vela" along with many poems were removed/deleted from the remastered colour version to maintain print quality.
The total budget of the film's digitalisation was estimated to be 75 million. The colour version was released on 30 January 2010 in 45 theatres in Andhra Pradesh. The colour version also received positive reviews and also became a commercial success. Despite it's success, Mohan decided not to remaster the remaining 14 films saying that most of the producers who sold the rights of the negatives to TV channels lost control over them adding that there were a lot of legal issues over ownership and copyright issues whenever other producers try to do something on their own.
The film is considered as one of the evergreen classics in Telugu cinema, particularly for its use of technology. It is also remembered for Nagendra Rao's dialogues "Evaru puttinchakunte maatalela pudathayi" (How would words emerge if none invents them), "Subhadra, aagadalu, aghaaityalu naaku paniki raavu" (Subhadra, these attrocities mean nothing to me) and phrases like "antha alamalame kada" (Is everything fine), "Asamadiyulu" (Friends), "Tasamadiyulu" (Enemies), "Gilpam" and "Gimbali" (Antonyms of Bed and Room mat) which became a part of the generally spoken Telugu language later.
In January 2007, film critic M. L. Narasimham, writing for The Hindu, placed Mayabazaar alongside other films Mala Pilla (1938), Raithu Bidda (1939), Vara Vikrayam (1939), Bhakta Potana (1942), Shavukaru (1950), Malliswari (1951) Peddamanushulu (1954) and Lava Kusa (1963). Rama Rao reprised the role of Krishna in the unrelated Tamil film Karnan (1964), and various unrelated Telugu films like Vinayaka Chaviti (1957), Sati Anasuya (1957), Deepavali (1960), Sri Krishnarjuna Yuddham (1962), Sri Krishna Pandaveeyam (1966), Sri Krishna Tulabharam (1966), Shri Krishnavataram (1967), Sri Krishna Vijayam (1971), Sri Krishna Satya (1972), Shri Krishnanjaneya Yuddham (1972), Daana Veera Soora Karna (1972) and three other films and became an ideal actor for Krishna's character in Telugu cinema till date.
In February 2010, film artiste trainer and director L. Satyanand compared Mayabazar with The Ten Commandments (1956), Ben-Hur (1959), Mackenna's Gold (1969), Sholay (1975) and Avatar (2009) saying that they "are evergreen and never fade away from the mind", adding that they appealed to the people of their respective generations and continue to do so to this day. He praised Bartley's cinematography stating "The film was definitely ahead of its time. It is still a mystery how Marcus Bartley could morph Sasirekha through the ripples in the pond. It was an absolute masterpiece, considering the equipment in use, those days. In the absence of hi-def cameras, computer generated visual effects and high-end computers, the direction, cinematography and visual effects were efforts of sheer human genius."
A poll conducted by CNN-IBN in May 2013 listed the film as the greatest Indian film of all time. In August 2013, Nageswara Rao's son actor Akkineni Nagarjuna wished the film be remade in accordance to the tastes of the present day audience. Andhra Pradesh State Government planned to introduce the film as a part of the tenth standard English syllabus from 2014. The fourth unit of the English text book was named "Films and Theaters" and there was a special mention of Mayabazar and its actors along with two images from the film.
In popular culture
Telugu director Mohan Krishna Indraganti named his second directorial venture as Mayabazar which released in 2006 and was also a fantasy film. The film was produced by B. Satyanarayana and regarding the title, he said that he was an ardent fan of Mayabazar and chose to name the film after writer D. V. Narasaraju insisted him to do so, saying that this is the only apt title for the subject. Director Krishna Vamsi called Mayabazaar as "epic, than a mere classic" and also said that the film's tagline "Sasirekha Parinayam" led him to title his 2009 Telugu film.
The Tamil film Kalyana Samayal Saadham (2013) was named after the song of the same name. A 1987 Telugu film directed by Jandhyala Subramanya Sastry and a 2011 Telugu film directed by Veerabhadram Chowdary were named after the song "Aha Naa Pellana". Both of them were successful. A Tamil song written by Thamarai and composed by Harris Jayaraj for the film Yennai Arindhaal (2015) was titled after this film's name. The scene where Krishna reveals his identity to Ghatotkacha at Dwaraka was utilised in a crucial sequence in Gopala Gopala (2015) where Pawan Kalyan played the role of Krishna.
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