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Annapurna (1959)

APK | July 18, 2007

Mukkamala and Jamuna

VB Rajendra Prasad
shared the same surname 'Veeramachineni' with V. Madhusudana Rao.
Jagapathi Pictures was started by VB Rajendra Prasad. He was always interested in cinema, but first dabbled in various professions. Belonging to big landlord's family, he finished his graduation and got into the cement business. This failed, so he tried farming and managing a rice mill, both of which failed too, owing to his asthma. Finally, he reached his first love-movies.

ANR, an old contact, had earlier advised him to complete his education, and only then step into movies. VB Rajendra Prasad aimed to be an actor, but ended up starting a production house and making movies instead. Money was no issue for him, so with some partners and help from the family, he started Jagapathi Pictures (his father's name).

V. Madhusudana Rao was asked to direct it while Sadasiva Brahmam was asked to pen the script. But finally, Arudra wrote the script for their debut venture, titled Annapurna, which was the name of the protagonist of the movie, played by Jamuna. ANR had a packed schedule, so the male lead role went to Kongara Jaggaiah.

The story of the film goes thus: Ramayya, Ranganatham and Venkayya are business partners. When they get huge profits, Ranganatham does not want to share it with his partners. So he gets Venkayya murdered and puts the blame on Ramayya. Ramayya goes to jail, his wife dies and his children suffer at a relations' place. Anand is their only supporter in that whole house for them.

They grow up, and Annapurna studies, earns and supports her brother's education. An accident sees her at Ranganatham's house in a village where Anand is a police inspector now. Anand and Annapurna fall in love, but Anand's parents do not accept his choice. Annapurna is asked to marry Ranganatham. In the meantime, Ramayya escapes from jail, and the same hired killer of Venkayya ends up killing Ranganatham. As he dies, he sees the error of his ways, and Anand and Annapurna have a happy ending with Ramayya reunited with his family.

Susarla Dakshina Murthy gave the music for the movie. The song 'Rathammo Rathammo' picturized on Ramana Reddy and Jyoti was liked by the audiences.

DOP Kamal Ghosh
was the nephew of Devaki Bose (of Calcutta New Theatres).
Kamal Ghosh was the director of photography (DOP). There was a problem that the unit encountered before the production even began. The south Indian movies authority decided not to sell raw film to new producers or production companies. So they had to buy it from a Tamil producer for a much higher price.

Baby EV Saroja as the younger Annapurna debuted as a lead actress in Iddaru Mithrulu, produced by Annapurna Productions. V. Madhusudana Rao had earlier made a mythology 'Sati Tulasi' which had Gummadi in the lead. In Annapurna, however, Gummadi plays the protagonist's father. PC Reddy started assisting V. Madhusudana Rao from this movie, and later went on to direct several movies of his own.

Narayya, the hired killer, was a role which was first offered to Edida Nageswara Rao, but was finally donned by Mukkamala. Edida later went on to produce movies such as Swathi Muthyam, Sankarabharanam and others under the banner 'Purnodaya Pictures'.

Annapurna did well, but the producers hardly had any profit. The production house was recognized as a force to reckon with soon after their first venture. Their next movie was Aradhana, starring ANR and Savithri. V. Madhusudana Rao and VB Rajendra Prasad, who in fact share the same surnames (Veeramachineni) had a good rapport. From Annapurna to Dasara Bullodu, V. Madhusudana Rao directed all the movies for Jagapathi Pictures. Annapurna was the foundation stone of this combination.