Maro Charitra (1978 film)
|Directed by||K. Balachander|
|Produced by||Rama Arangannal|
|Music by||M. S. Viswanathan|
|Cinematography||B. S. Lokanath|
|Edited by||N. R. Kittu|
|Distributed by||Andal Productions|
|2 May 1978|
Maro Charitra is a 1978 Telugu-language Indian romantic tragedy film written and directed by K. Balachander. It stars Kamal Haasan and Saritha in the lead with Madhavi and Sarath Babu appearing in prominent roles. The film deals with cross-cultural romance between a Tamil boy and a Telugu girl. Upon release, it was commercially successful and remains a cult classic. Owing to its success in Andhra Pradesh, the film was released in the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka without being dubbed into the respective languages. Balachander won a Best Director at the Southern Filmfare Awards in 1979. Later in 1981, Balachander remade the film in Hindi as Ek Duuje Ke Liye with Kamal Haasan reprising his role. Saritha, the female lead, was, however, replaced by Punjabi actress Rati Agnihotri. The Hindi remake became a success as well. Both the films were listed among CNN-IBN's 100 greatest Indian films of all time in 2013.
The story revolves around a Telugu girl and Tamil boy who fall in love. Their families interfere and ask them to stay away from each other for a whole year which results in a tragic end.
- Kamal Haasan as Balu
- Saritha as Swapna
- Sarath Babu
- J. V. Ramana Murthi
- P. L. Narayana
- Jaya Vijaya
- S. K. Misro
Rama Arangannal, who produced Balachander's previous films agreed to produce the film. Balachander decided to launch Kamal as a lead actor in the Telugu film industry upon the latter's request. Kamal had entered the Telugu film industry through the director's Anthuleni Katha (1976), albeit playing a supporting role. That was followed by a dubbed version of the Tamil film Manmadha Leelai released during the same period. As both the films had a 100-day run at the theatres, Kamal was approached by many Telugu film producers. The actor had to refuse all the offers citing that he wants to be launched as a lead actor through a film directed by Balachander, his mentor. As Kamal is a Tamil, Balachander characterised his role as a Tamil man who falls in love with a Telugu girl and developed the screenplay. Most of Kamal's dialogues were in Tamil.
The film was made by Balachander with the sole intention of introducing Kamal Haasan as a lead actor in Telugu cinema. Having chosen the male lead, Balachander was on a look out for a female counterpart. As the film deals with cross-cultural romance, he decided to cast a new actor to play the female lead. To choose the character, he auditioned a number of girls and finally ended up choosing a "dark-skinned girl with big eyes" named Abhilasha, who was in tenth grade. Though the members of the production unit were unsatisfied with her dark complexion and for being fat. Balachander went ahead in finalising her for the role as he felt she had a homely look and was of the right age to fit in the role. Later, she was rechristened Saritha by Balachander himself. In a 2005 interview with The Hindu, she said that she was the 162nd girl to be auditioned for the film, while also noting that she did not even look good in the photographs that was sent to Balachander. Besides the lead actors, Madhavi who made an impact with Thoorpu Padamara was signed up to play an important role in the film. The film was shot in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Contrary to most of the films that released during the period, Maro Charitra was shot in Black-and-white.
- "Bhale Bhale Mogadivoi" - S.P. Balu, L. R. Eswari
- "Kalisi Unte Kaladu Sukhamu" - S.P. Balu, Ramola
- "Padaharellaku Neelo Nalo" - S. Janaki
- "Vidhi Cheyu Vinthalanni" - Vani Jairam
- "Ye Teega Poovuno" - Kamal Hasan, P. Suseela
- "Ye Teega Poovuno" (pathos) - S.P. Balu
Maro Charitra was released on 9 May 1978. During the first week of release the film performed poorly at the box-office. The film's distributors cited that choosing a dark-skinned girl to play the female lead to be the reason. However, after the second week, the film had a highly successful run in the theatres; it ultimately ended as a box-office success as it ran for 450 days in Andhra Pradesh. Owing to its success in its native state, the producers released the film in the neighbouring territories of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka without dubbing in Tamil and Kannada. It ran for 596 days at Safire Theatre in Chennai, while had a 300-day run in Bangalore. The performances of both the lead actors along with the director won critical acclaim. In 2010, South Scope noted "Maro Charitra once again saw Kamal transform himself, but this time into an out and out urban male ... Kamal let none of them get left out of his wardrobe in the film." In 2013, while Indian cinema was celebrating its 100th anniversary, CNN-IBN listed out "100 greatest Indian films of all time" where both Maro Charitra and its Hindi remake Ek Duuje Ke Liye were mentioned. In November 2015, Kamal noted, "Visual appeal has always gone hand-in-hand with content, since the days of Chandralekha and Maya Bazaar, not just after Baahubali. Maro Charitra had beautiful visuals in black and white."
The film was remade into Hindi as Ek Duuje Ke Liye by Balachander himself in 1981. The film like its original became a box-office success and attained cult status. It also marked the Bollywood debut of many South Indian artists including Kamal Haasan, Madhavi and playback singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam. In the 1981 film, Balachander chose Rati Agnihotri over Saritha as he conceived that a Punjabi girl would be more suitable to the Hindi audience. In 2005, the film was remade in Kannada as Love Story. Despite being labelled as a "frame-to-frame remake" of the original, the film was described as "no match to the original film in any aspect of its making" by K.N. Venkatasubba Rao of The Hindu. Five years later, Ravi Yadav remade the story with the same name in Telugu with Varun Sandesh, Anita Galler and Shraddha Das. Unlike the original, the film was a failure and received negative reviews. A review from Rediff.com noted, "the new-age Maro Charitra is no patch on the original".
||1979||Best Telugu Director||K. Balachander||Won|
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கமல் நடித்த தெலுங்குப்படம்: தோல்வியில் தொடங்கி வெற்றியில் முடிந்த "மரோசரித்ரா"
- "வரலாற்றுச்சுவடுகள் – திரைப்பட வரலாறு 939". Daily Thanthi (in Tamil). 9 June 2008.
கே. பாலசந்தர் இயக்கத்தில் கமல் நடித்த "மரோசரித்ரா" சென்னையில் 600 நாள் ஓடியது
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