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Lakshadhikari (1963)

APK | July 13, 2007

Krishna Kumari and NTR

V. Madhusudana Rao
worked as an assistant to Aadurthi Subba Rao in Thodi Kodallu before making his debut in Lakshadhikari
Tammareddy Krishna Murhty has an interesting profile-he was an avid lover of arts, at the same time a supporter of communist ideology and an active member in the Telangana agitation. An arrest warrant caused him to move to Madras where he tutored children of film personalities and thus gained loads of contacts. Along with some friends, 'People's Art Productions' was started and Palletooru starring NTR-Savithri was made. The movie was a disappointment. He shifted to Sarathi Studios and worked as a production manager for movies such as Antha Manavalle, Rojulu Marayi, Kalasi Unte Kaladu Sukham and others.

He started 'Ravindra Art Pictures', since Rabindranath Tagore was his idol. Their first venture was Lakshadhikari, co-produced by D. Venkatapathi Reddy. ANR, their first choice, had no dates to spare, so NTR was roped in. Tammareddy had worked with NTR before, so their rapport was good. V. Madhusudana Rao was given his first role as a farmer in Palletooru; he was then a drill master in Vijayawada. Now he was roped in as the director for Lakshadhikari.

His directorial team had PC Reddy, who gave some inputs for the story. The first draft was a routine Telugu script which did not excite anyone. Then they decided to put an element of suspense into the story. Narla Chiranjeevi penned the story, who was a communist and a social worker.

The story goes like this: Sowkar Rangayya's (Chittoor V.Nagayya) right hand man is Sitayya (Gummadi). The Sowkar dotes on his motherless son, and his brother-in-law pesters him for money. Rangayya is accused of murdering a diamond merchant and is sent to jail while his son is taken away. Lost and found by a childless couple, this boy is named as Varaprasad. The couple, Picchayya and Achamma (Ramana Reddy-Suryakantham) has a daughter after that, and name her Leela.

Varaprasad (NTR) becomes a doctor, starts a pharmacy with the help of Sitayya, falls in love with Sitayya's daughter Padma (Krishna Kumari) and leads a happy life. Then he finds out that he is not the couple's own son, so he sets out to find his biological parents. In a surprising twist, the now released Rangayya is found to be innocent while the real murderer turns out to be Sitayya.

Gummadi Venkateswara Rao
impressed the audience in the role of a soft villain.
Nagabhushanam was the first choice for Sitayya, but then there would be no suspense. So Gummadi, usually a docile and innocent looking man was cast to add the surprise element to the movie. This started a trend of sorts for suspense storylines with drama, romance and music embedded in it. The climax was inspired by a Hollywood movie, and had robots in it to add to the effect. In spite of all these expenses, the movie was budgeted quite efficiently by Tammareddy owing to his erstwhile experience as a production manager.

NTR and Krishna Kumari was a much liked combination those days. After TL Kantha Rao, Krishna Kumari was cast alongside NTR in the maximum number of movies. She had quite a few experiences in this movie, including one near-fatal adventure. A shoot on the beach needed the lead pair to walk near the sea, when a huge wave came and took them in. NTR held the lady's hand and got her to the shore, as she couldn't swim. This song was 'Mabbulo Emundi', a Q&A song written by C. Narayana Reddy.

Another misadventure was that a song with her dressed in a swimsuit caused trouble with the censor board who snipped it from the movie.

T. Chalapathi Rao, fresh from the success of 'Niluvave Valu Kanula Dana..' (originally from the film Illarikam and remixed recently in the movie Lakshyam) gave hit tunes yet again for Lakshadhikari. A humorous number 'Achammaku Nityamu Srimantamu' has Ramana Reddy and Suryakantham dressed as Krishna and Satyabhama respectively.

This was NTR's first suspense-filled movie. It started the trend in a big way. Lakshadhikari made more money in its second release than it's first. V. Madhusudana Rao's directorial debut was marked with this flick.