Theatrical release 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|
S. Rajeswara Rao
|Distributed by||Vijaya Vahini Studios|
Mayabazar (English: Market of Illusions) is a 1957 Indian bilingual mythological epic film directed by Kadiri Venkata Reddy and produced by B. Nagi Reddy and Aluri Chakrapani for their production banner, Vijaya Vauhini Studios. An adaptation of the folktale Sasirekha Parinayam (in turn based on the Mahabharata), the film was shot in Telugu and Tamil with the same title and a slightly-different cast. The Telugu version features N. T. Rama Rao, Savitri, Akkineni Nageswara Rao and S. V. Ranga Rao in lead roles, with Gummadi Venkateswara Rao, Mukkamala, Ramana Reddy and Relangi Venkata Ramaiah in supporting roles. Gemini Ganesan, D. Balasubramaniam, R. Balasubramaniam and V. M. Ezhumalai replace Nageswara Rao, Venkateswara Rao, Mukkamala and Venkata Ramaiah, respectively, in the Tamil version. The film revolves around the roles of Krishna and Ghatotkacha in the marriage of Balarama 's daughter (Sasirekha) to Arjuna 's son, Abhimanyu.
Nagi Reddy and Chakrapani chose the technical crew of Pathala Bhairavi (1951) to work on Mayabazar, the first mythological film produced by the studio. Venkata Reddy wrote the screenplay, with Pingali Nagendrarao and Thanjai N. Ramaiah Dass assisting with the script, dialogue and lyrics. Ghantasala conducted four songs composed by S. Rajeswara Rao, and composed the remainder of the soundtrack. Marcus Bartley was Mayabazar 's cinematographer, and the film was edited by C. P. Jambulingam and G. Kalyanasundaram. After a year of pre-production, the film began with a crew of 400 studio workers (including light men, carpenters and painters) in addition to the technical crew. Mayabazar, made on an estimated budget of ₹200,000 (valued at about US$4175 in 1957), had a final film-reel length of 5,888 metres (19,318 ft).
The film's Telugu version was released on 27 March 1957; the Tamil version was released nearly a month later, on 12 April. Both were critically and commercially successful, with a theatrical run of 100 days in 24 theatres, and it became a silver-jubilee film. Mayabazar was also dubbed into Kannada. The film was a landmark of Telugu and Tamil cinema, with praise for the lead cast and its technical aspects (despite the technology available at the time). Mayabazar received the Filmfare Award for Best Film in Telugu, and was featured at the 1957 International Film Festival of India and the Indonesian Film Festival. The film was screened at the Public Gardens in Hyderabad for its 50th anniversary on 7 April 2007, and a May 2013 CNN-IBN poll listed Mayabazar as the greatest Indian film of all time.
It was the first Telugu film to be digitally remastered and colourised after a Hyderabad company, Goldstone Technologies, acquired world negative rights to fourteen films (including Mayabazar) in late November 2007. The cost of its digitalisation was estimated at ₹75 million (valued at about US$1663000 in 2010). The digitally-remastered and colourised Telugu version was released on 30 January 2010 in 45 theatres in Andhra Pradesh to critical acclaim. Despite Mayabazar 's commercial success, Goldstone decided not to remaster the remaining films.
This plot summary refers to Mayabazar 's original Telugu version.
Subhadra (the sister of Balarama and Krishna) marries a Pandava[a] named Arjuna, and their son Abhimanyu falls in love with Balarama's daughter, Sasirekha. The families decide to marry them when they reach adulthood. By the time Abhimanyu and Sasirekha grow up, the Pandavas lose a dice game to the Kauravas due to manipulation of Sakuni. Krishna, furious at the act of Dussasana which insults Draupadi, saves her. Balarama teaches a lesson to the Kauravas, and later reaches Hastinapuram. Sakuni and Duryodhana respect Balarama; after manipulating him, they seek his favour by requesting that Sasirekha be married to Duryodhana's son Lakshmana Kumara. They intend to force Balarama and Krishna to support them if the Pandavas wage war after their fourteen-year exile. Unaware of this, Balarama accepts.
Balarama's wife, Revati, refuses to honour her commitment to marry Sasirekha and Abhimanyu due to the financial position of the Pandavas. Krishna then sends Subhadra and Abhimanyu to Ghatotkacha's ashram. Ghatotkacha initially assumes that they are intruders in his forest and attacks them, later apologising for the misunderstanding. When Subhadra explains what happened to her son and Sasirekha, Ghatotkacha decides to try some trickery in Dvārakā. With the knowledge of Krishna and a servant girl, he flies the sleeping Sasirekha (in her bed) from Dvārakā to his forest. Assuming her form, he returns to Dvārakā to wreak havoc on her wedding to Lakshmana Kumara.
Ghatotkacha creates an illusory Mayabazar, and forces the Kauravas to stay there. On the wedding day, Ghatotkacha appears to Lakshmana Kumara in a number of tantalising forms. In the forest, Sasirekha marries Abhimanyu in Krishna's presence. When Sakuni chastises Krishna for the misdeeds, Krishna explains what happened (using a special box) and Ghatotkacha reveals his identity. The Kauravas are sent back to Hastinapuram; Sasirekha's parents accept her marriage, and welcome the couple in the forest. They thank Ghatotkacha, who credits Krishna as the mastermind behind everything, for making the marriage possible.
- Principal cast
- Supporting cast
- Akkineni Nageswara Rao (Telugu) and Gemini Ganesan (Tamil) as Abhimanyu
- Gummadi Venkateswara Rao (Telugu) and D. Balasubramaniam (Tamil) as Balarama
- Mukkamala (Telugu) and R. Balasubramaniam (Tamil) as Duryodhana
- C. S. R. Anjaneyulu (Telugu) and M. N. Nambiar (Tamil) as Sakuni
- Mikkilineni Radhakrishna Murthy (Telugu) and V. K. Srinivasan (Tamil) as Karna
- Chaya Devi (Telugu) and Lakshmi Prabha (Tamil) as Revati
- R. Nageswara Rao (Telugu) and E. R. Sahadevan (Tamil) as Dussasana
- Suryakantham (Telugu) and C. T. Rajakantham (Tamil) as Hidimbi
- Ramana Reddy (Telugu) and V. M. Ezhumalai (Tamil) as Chinnamaya
- Relangi Venkata Ramaiah (Telugu) and K. A. Thangavelu (Tamil) as Lakshmana Kumara
After the success of Pathala Bhairavi (1951) its production company, Vijaya Productions, selected the film's technical crew for an adaptation of Sasirekha Parinayam (1936, also known as Mayabazar). An adaptation of the folktale Sasirekha Parinayam,[b] it was the studio's first mythological film.
Kadiri Venkata Reddy wrote and directed Mayabazar (which was produced by B. Nagi Reddy and Aluri Chakrapani of Vijaya Productions), spending nearly a year on pre-production and casting. Pingali Nagendrarao assisted with the story, script and lyrics. Ghantasala composed the film's score, and Marcus Bartley was the cinematographer.
Mayabazar was edited by C. P. Jambulingam and G. Kalyanasundaram, and Madhavapeddi Gokhale and Kaladhar were the film's art directors. Singeetam Srinivasa Rao was an assistant director. The estimated budget for both versions was ₹200,000 (valued at about US$4175 in 1957).[c]
The film was produced in Telugu and Tamil versions, with a slightly different cast for each. In place of Akkineni Nageswara Rao as Abhimanyu in the Telugu version, Gemini Ganesan appeared in the Tamil version. Savitri was the female lead in both versions; her character was named Sasirekha in the Telugu version and Vatsala in the Tamil version. N. T. Rama Rao, hesitant to play Krishna after a negative response to his cameo appearance in Sontha Ooru (1956), agreed at Venkata Reddy's insistence and special care was taken with his costume and body language; Mayabazar was the first of Rama Rao's many appearances as Krishna.
S. V. Ranga Rao played Ghatotkacha, and Nageswara Rao described him as the film's male lead in a number of interviews. Gummadi Venkateswara Rao and Mikkilineni Radhakrishna Murthy were cast as Balarama and Karna, respectively, in the Telugu version and Sita had a supporting role as Sasirekha's maid. Relangi Venkata Ramaiah played Lakshmana Kumara, Duryodhana's son; his popularity inspired a song with him and Savitri. Allu Rama Lingaiah and Vangara Venkata Subbaiah played Shakuni's lackeys, Sarma and Sastry. Kanchi Narasimha Rao played Krishna, disguised as an old man who stops Ghatotkacha when he enters Dwaraka.
Playback singer Madhavapeddi Satyam made a cameo appearance as Daaruka, singing "Bhali Bhali Bhali Deva". Ramana Reddy played Chinnamayya, a tantrik who teaches witchcraft at Ghatotkacha's ashram, with Chadalavada and Nalla Ramamurthy playing his apprentices Lambu and Jambu.
During rehearsals Venkata Reddy timed his actors with a stopwatch, calculating the length of each scene (including songs) to determine the required length of film. D. S. Ambu Rao, Bartley's assistant, said that Mayabazar was shot according to the screenplay and Bartley's lighting. The song "Lahiri Lahiri" was shot in Ennore, a suburb of Chennai. Its outdoor filming lasted for 10 to 15 seconds, and Bartley then created a moonlit illusion—according to Ambu Rao, the first in an Indian film.
In addition to the principal technicians and actors, a crew of 400 (including light men, carpenters and painters) worked on Mayabazar during production. For the Dvārakā set, 300 miniature, unique houses were created in an approximately 50-by-60-foot (15 m × 18 m) electrified space under the supervision of Kaladhar and art director Madhavpetti Gokhale. The desired effect in the "laddoo gobbling" shots of Ghatotkacha in the song "Vivaha Bhojanambu" took four days to film. In the scene where Ghatotkacha (disguised as Sasirekha) stamps Lakshmana Kumara's foot with his own, the expression is Savitri’s; the stamping foot belongs to choreographer Pasumarthi Krishnamurthy, who pasted false hair on his foot to make it appear demonic.
Themes and influences
Mayabazar is a mythological film, adapted from a folktale based on the Mahabharata. According to acting coach and director L. Satyanand, the film is a science fiction satire touching on the genres of action, drama, comedy and science fiction. Its plot revolves around the love story of Balarama's daughter, Sasirekha (Vatsala in Tamil), and Arjuna's son Abhimanyu.
Krishna, Balarama and their wives disagree about the couple's romance. To introduce themes in Mayabazar, Venkata Reddy uses a magical box (similar to a television screen) which shows whatever is dear to the viewer's heart. In the box, Sasirekha's character sees her lover Abhimanyu and Balarama sees his favourite disciple Duryodhana; Balarama's wife sees a collection of jewellery, indicating her materialism.
Mayabazar is a tribute to Telugu culture, language and customs, particularly in the scene in which Balarama rudely asks Subhadra to leave when she is displeased with his decision to separate Sasirekha and Abhimanyu. The film is a story of Pandavas and Kauravas (with the Yadavas helping), but the Pandavas are heard and not seen.
Album cover of the Telugu version
|Soundtrack album To Mayabazar by Ghantasala|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
After writing the music for four songs ("Srikarulu Devathalu", "Lahiri Lahiri", "Choopulu Kalisina Shubhavela" and "Neekosame"), S. Rajeswara Rao left the project;[d] Ghantasala orchestrated and recorded Rajeswara Rao's compositions with N. C. Sen Gupta and A. Krishnamurthy, and composed the rest of the film's score.
The soundtrack album has 12 songs with lyrics by Pingali Nagendrarao and Thanjai N. Ramaiah Dass for the Telugu and Tamil versions, respectively, and was mixed by A. Krishnan and Siva Ram. The album was engineered by N. C. Sen Gupta and orchestrated by A. Krishnamurthy. P. Leela said in an interview that one of her songs took 28 takes to record, and her fifth song was finished by Ghantasala. "Lahiri Lahiri" ("Aaga Inba Nilavinile" in Tamil) was based on the Mohanam raga. "Vivaha Bhojanambu" ("Kalyana Samayal Saadham" in Tamil) was heavily based on lyrics from Surabhi Nataka Samajam's 1950s plays, which were influenced by 1940s Janaki Sapadham harikatha records by B. Nagarajakumari.
Nagarajakumari was inspired by a song written by Gali Penchala Narasimha Rao for Sasirekha Parinayam (1936), directed by P. V. Das. That song's melody was inspired by Charles Penrose's 1922 "The Laughing Policeman", written by Penrose under the pseudonym of Charles Jolly. Distributed by HMV, the album's cover depicts 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"||G. Kasthoori, Ghantasala||02:39|
|6.||"Kannudan Kalandhidum Subadhiname"||Ghantasala, P. Leela||03:13|
|7.||"Kalyana Samayal Saadham"||Thiruchi Loganathan||02:26|
|8.||"Unakkagave Naan Uyir Vaazhvene"||Ghantasala, P. Leela||03:25|
|9.||"Dhayai Seiveerey"||S. C. Krishnan, Seerkazhi Govindarajan, P. Susheela||06:18|
|10.||"Pambaramaiaadalaam"||Jikki, P. Susheela||03:21|
|11.||"Bale Bale"||Seerkazhi Govindarajan||02:55|
|12.||"Vinnava Yashodamma"||P. Leela||03:37|
The Telugu version of Mayabazar was released on 27 March 1957 and the Tamil version about two weeks later, on 12 April. Both versions have a film-reel length of 5,888 metres (19,318 ft), and received a "U" (universal) certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification. A commercial success, Mayabazar had a theatrical run of 100 days in 24 theatres and went on to become a silver-jubilee film.[e] After the film's release, 40,000 colour calendars of Rama Rao as Krishna were distributed to the public. Mayabazar received the Filmfare Award for Best Film in Telugu. It was dubbed into Kannada, and was featured at the 1957 International Film Festival of India and the Indonesian Film Festival.
Mayabazar was shown at the Public Gardens in Hyderabad on 7 April 2007 for the film's 50th anniversary, at a celebration organised by the Andhra Pradesh Department of Culture, the Film, TV and Theatre Development Corporation and Kinnera Art Theatres. Nageswara Rao and C. Narayana Reddy, who were associated with the film, were honoured on the occasion.
The film received positive reviews from critics, particularly for the work of its technical crew. In 2006, 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.
Vijaysree Venkatraman wrote for The Hindu in 2008 that the "special effects in this summer's Hollywood superhero movies were spectacular, but, for me, the mythological Maya Bazaar [sic] hasn't lost any of its magic", adding, "If watching the genial half-demon polish off a wedding feast single-handedly remains a treat, seeing the greedy duo from the groom's side get whacked alternately by the furniture and the wilful carpet has me in splits". For The Hindu, film critic M. L. Narasimham wrote: "Though there were several movie versions in various Indian languages, the 1957 Vijaya Productions, Mayabazar is still considered the best for its all round excellence".
In his 2011 book, The Best of Tamil Cinema, 1931 to 2010, G. Dhananjayan praised Mayabazar 's script and music. Dhananjayan called Savitri's performance the film's highlight, especially in the scenes where Ghatotkacha assumes her form. According to The Times of India, "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 was the first colourised Telugu film, with its audio remastered from monaural to a DTS 5.1-channel system. In late November 2007 a Hyderabad company, Goldstone Technologies, acquired world negative rights to 14 Telugu films produced by Vijaya Vauhini Studios (including Mayabazar) to digitally remaster them in colour. C. Jagan Mohan of Goldstone Technologies' experience at All India Radio gave him the idea of converting the film's audio to DTS. A team of 165 people worked for eight months; Mohan used 180,000 shades of colour to create a tone similar to human skin, and employed 16.7-million-shade colour technology. The audio was restored, sound effects remastered, distortion eliminated, the volume of the vocals increased and musicians re-recorded the film's background music on seven tracks instead of one.
Apart from colouring clothing and jewellery, Mohan said that the song "Vivaha Bhojanambu" and the wedding scene in the climax were the most challenging sequences; food should look more realistic after colourisation. In the wedding scene, 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") and many poems were cut from the remastered colour version to maintain print quality.
With an estimated digitalisation budget of ₹75 million (valued at about US$1663000 in 2010),[f] Mayabazar was released in colour on 30 January 2010 in 45 Andhra Pradesh theatres. Nageswara Rao, Gummadi Venkateswara Rao, Mikkilineni Radhakrishna Murthy and Sita were the only cast members still alive for the release of the digitally-remastered version. The colour version received positive reviews and was commercially successful. M. L. Narasimham of The Hindu called the new version "laudable, but the soul was missing", adding, "Get a DVD of the original (Black & White) movie, watch it and you will agree with ANR who while talking about Mayabazar once exclaimed, 'What a picture it was!'".
According to a 29 January 2010 government order the remastered version was exempt from entertainment tax, but theatre owners charged full price because they and other film producers were uncertain of the order's validity. Despite Mayabazar 's success, Mohan decided not to remaster the remaining 14 films; according to him, most producers who sold negative rights to TV channels lost control of them and he cited legal and copyright issues.
Mayabazar is considered a classic of Telugu cinema, particularly in its use of technology. The film is memorable for Nagendra Rao's dialogue: "Evaru puttinchakunte maatalela pudathayi" ("How would words emerge if no one invents them?") and "Subhadra, aagadalu, aghaaityalu naaku paniki raavu" ("Subhadra, these atrocities mean nothing to me"). Words and phrases, such as "antha alamalame kada" ("Is everything fine?"), "Asamadiyulu" ("Friends"), "Tasamadiyulu" ("Enemies"), "Gilpam" and "Gimbali" ("bed-" and "room-mat"), later became part of Telugu vernacular. Mayabazar is the name of a supplement of the Tamil edition of The Hindu.
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" from the film; both were successful. Jandhyala Subramanya Sastry named his 1988 Telugu films after the songs "Vivaha Bhojanambu" and "Choopulu Kalisina Shubhavela". Telugu director Mohan Krishna Indraganti named his second film Mayabazar (2006, also a fantasy film). Regarding his title, Indraganti said he was a fan of Mayabazar and named his film (produced by B. Satyanarayana) at the insistence of writer D. V. Narasaraju.
In January 2007, M. L. Narasimham of The Hindu listed Mayabazaar with Mala Pilla (1938), Raithu Bidda (1939), Vara Vikrayam (1939), Bhakta Potana (1942), Shavukaru (1950), Malliswari (1951) Peddamanushulu (1954) and Lava Kusa (1963) as films impacting society and Telugu cinema. Rama Rao reprised the role of Krishna in a number of films over a two-decade career.[g]
Singeetham Srinivasa Rao used Mayabazar 's storyline in his 2008 multilingual animation film, Ghatothkach. Director Krishna Vamsi called Mayabazaar more an "epic, than a mere classic" and said that the film's tagline, "Sasirekha Parinayam", inspired the title of his 2009 Telugu film. In February 2010 acting coach and director L. Satyanand compared Mayabazar to films such as The Ten Commandments (1956), Ben-Hur (1959), Sholay (1975) and Avatar (2009), saying that they "are evergreen and never fade away from the mind" with continued appeal. Satyanand praised Bartley's cinematography, saying that 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.
In the period drama Rajanna (2011), the central character Mallamma (played by Baby Annie) listens to Mayabazar 's songs. Although this was criticised as anachronistic, director K. V. Vijayendra Prasad said that Rajanna was set in 1958 (a year after Mayabazar 's release). The Andhra Pradesh state government planned to introduce the film as part of the tenth standard English syllabus in 2014. The fourth unit of the English textbook, "Films and Theaters", mentions Mayabazar and its actors and has two pictures from the film. For the April 2013 centennial of Indian cinema CNN-IBN included Mayabazar in its list of the 100 greatest Indian films of all time, and a May 2013 CNN-IBN poll ranked it the greatest Indian film of all time. Nageswara Rao's son, actor Akkineni Nagarjuna, said in August 2013 that he hoped the film would be remade for a modern audience. CNN-IBN included Mayabazar on its February 2014 list of "12 Indian films that would make great books", and in May 2014 Rediff included the film on its list of "The Best Mythological Films of Tamil Cinema".
The Tamil film Kalyana Samayal Saadham (2013) was named after the song of the same name. The scene in which Krishna reveals his identity to Ghatotkacha at Dwaraka was used in Gopala Gopala (2015), with Pawan Kalyan as Krishna. A Tamil song written by Thamarai and Harris Jayaraj for the film Yennai Arindhaal (2015) was named after Mayabazar.
- The Pandava is a group of five brothers named Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. They are the protagonists in the epic Mahabharata.
- Other alternative titles for the film included Surekhaapaharan, Veera Ghatotkacha and Vastala Kalyanam.
- The exchange rate in 1957 was 4.79 Indian rupees (₹) per 1 US dollar (US$).
- M. L. Narasimham does not mention why S. Rajeswara Rao opted out of the project.
- A Silver Jubilee film is one that completes a theatrical run of 175 days (25 weeks).
- The exchange rate in 2010 was 45.09 Indian rupees (₹) per 1 US dollar (US$).
- Rama Rao reprised the role of Krishna in the Tamil film Karnan (1964), and various unrelated Telugu films such as 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) and Daana Veera Soora Karna (1972).
- Dhananjayan 2011, p. 162.
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