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Nostalgia - Ramudu Bheemudu (1964)
Palakodety | February 14, 2006
Cast: NTR (in a double role), SV Rangarao, Rajanala, Relangi, Ramana Reddy, Jamuna, L. Vijaya Lakshmi, Girija, Santha Kumari, Surya Kantham, Rshyendramani, Hemalatha, and Others.
Art: Rajendra Kumar.
Lyrics: Sri Sri, Kosaraju, C. Narayana Reddy & Arudra.
Make-up: Peetambaram, Nageswara Rao, Potharaju & Sureshbabu.
Singers: Ghantasala, Suseela, Madhavapeddi & Jamuna Rani.
Story & Dialogues: DV Narasaraju.
Associate Directors: AL Apparao & K. Bapaiah.
Associate Producer: J. Subbarao.
Producer: D. Ramanaidu.
Banner: Suresh Productions.
Release Year: 1964.
If there is one single movie that became a rage among the audience for its novel way of handling the subject, it is 'Ramudu-Bheemudu'. Produced by the Guinness Book World Record holder, Dr. D. Rama Naidu, it is a movie that deserves multiple viewings.
The Unforgettable Story Of Comedy Of Errors: Ramudu-Bheemudu is a story of two twin brothers, separated in their childhood, groomed in two different families of two different social strata and by a quirk of fate, they interchange their places. The resulting situations create so much confusion and comedy that we enjoy the film thoroughly.
The Plot: Ramudu (Ramarao) is an innocent young man in the guardianship of his uncle Panakala Rao (Rajanala), who is both crooked and wicked. The uncle is ready to usurp the property of his nephew Ramudu, and is just waiting for an appropriate opportunity. In the meanwhile, he is made to attend to all the domestic chores. Ramudu, unable to bear the torture, runs away from home.
Bheema Rao (Bheemudu) is interested in staging plays which his mother strongly disapproves. After he comes back home from a stage play, he is taken to task by his mother. In order to escape the wrath of his mother, Bheemudu flees his home and lands in the nearby city.
Both of them enter the same hotel and unexpectedly interchange their places. Thus Ramudu entering the house of Bheemudu, falls in love with Santhi and Bheemudu, who now takes the place of Ramudu falls in love with Leela. Bheemudu, who is in the place of Ramudu, now understands that he has to bring Panakala Rao to senses so that the property that really belongs to Ramudu, should be restored to him. Ramudu, now in the role of Bheemudu, starts enjoying the love and affection of the new family members. However, Panakala Rao comes to know of this change of places and attempts to take advantage of this situation. At the end Ramudu and Bheemudu turn out to be twins who got separated during the Godavari Pushkarams. All ends well in the film ending with Ramudu tying the knot with Santhi and Bheemudu with Leela.
The Highlights: This is the first-ever movie with NTR donning a dual role. Encouraged by the success of this movie, he ventured to produce 'Sree Krishna Pandaveeyam', in which he acted in two different roles, Krishna and Duryodhana. Subsequently, he took the risk of acting in three different roles of Sri Krishna, Duryodhana and Karna in 'Dana Veera Soora Karna' apart from weilding the megaphone. With this film becoming a runaway hit, NTR went a step ahead and donned five roles in 'Viraata Parvam'.
This is the first film produced independently by Sri D. Rama Naidu, who now holds two Guinness Book World Records - one for having produced more than 100 films and the second for producing films in the maximum number of languages. There are less chances of someone breaking these records in the near future.
NTR had Jamuna (Leela) and dancer L. Vijaya Lakshmi (Santhi) as his leading ladies in the film. Impressed by the way L. Vijaya Lakshmi portrayed her character of Naagini in the film 'Jagadeka Veeruni Katha' (released in 1962), it is rumoured that NTR himself has suggested her name for the role of Santhi in ths film.
As usual, Relangi-Girija-Ramana Reddy trio played their regular roles of son-in-law, daughter and father-in-law and their comedy was brilliant.
Ramudu-Bheemudu had an extensive shooting schedule near the construction site of Nagarjuna Sagar, with more than 10,000 real construction workers participating in the shooting of the film, which included the filming of the song 'Desammu Maarindile.. Kaalammu Maarindile' written by Sri Kosaraju Raghavaiah Choudary.
Ramudu-Bheemudu was a great musical hit, with songs like 'Undile Manchi Kaalam Mundu Mundunaa..' (penned by Sri Sri), 'Thelisindile.. Thelisindile..' (penned by Dr. C. Narayana Reddy), 'Ade Ade..' (penned by Dr. C. Narayana Reddy), 'Saradaa Saradaa Cigarettu..' and 'Thaguna Idi Mama..' (both penned by Kosaraju), set to enchanting music by Sri Pendyala Nageswara Rao. Ghantasala, P. Suseela, Madhavapeddi Satyam and Jamuna Rani sang the songs. Madahavapeddi Satyam rendered two poems from 'Pandavodyoga Vijayalu' of Sri Tirupathi Venkata Kavulu for the role of Bheemudu.
Ramudu-Bheemudu was remade in Hindi as 'Ram Aur Shyam' by Vijaya Pictures, with Dilip Kumar, Waheeda Rehman and Mumtaz. This picture totally changed the 'tragedy king' image of Dilip Kumar and gave him a new image. Taking a cue from this film, Ramesh Sippy made a film in Hindi 'Seetha Aur Geetha', with Hemamalini in the lead, which was again produced in Telugu as 'Ganga-Manga' by Vijaya Pictures, with Vani Sri handling both the roles.
Kaikala Satyanarayana, who was to become an actor of his own right, acted as dupe to NTR in some of the scenes.
Behind The Scenes: Ramudu-Bheemudu is the first picture produced by the ace producer Sri D. Rama Naidu under the banner 'Suresh Productions'. Hailing from a small village Karamchedu in Prakasam District of Andhra Pradesh, Rama Naidu was into the business of brick-selling. But, as is the case with any creative personality, he did not stay long there in that business. Taking with him an amount that he felt would be suffice to produce a film, he landed in Madras, now called Chennai. To learn the tricks of the trade, he joined hands with a few others and became a partner in the production of the film 'Anuraagam', that starred Bhanumathi and others. This film had a below-average run. Not satisfied with being a partner in some other film production company, Rama Naidu decided to go on his own for the next film. Establishing his own production banner with the name 'Suresh Productions', he approached Tapi Chanakya to wield the megaphone for his maiden venture. Both of them met Sri DV Narasa Raju, the famous cinewright, in Vauhini Studios.
Narasa Raju, had a script ready by then, which he had initially written for Sri Midde Jagannadha Rao, to be directed by Sri Kamalakara Kameswara Rao. This was a folklore story loosely based on the Hollywood classic 'The Prisoner of Zenda', released in 1952 and directed by Richard Thorpe. Based on the novel of the same name written by Arthur Hope, this film had two identically looking persons accidentally interchanging their places. Narasa Raju based his story on this point. He was particularly attracted by the fact that both characters had no negative qualities in them. After he had the story sitting with Midde Jagannadha Rao and Kamalakara Kameswara Rao, they had some doubts whether a film produced with this story would succeed as there was another film by name 'Naadodi Mannan' in Tamil released just then with a huge star cast that included MGR, Bhanumathi and B.Saroja Devi, which also had 'The Prisoner of Zenda' as the basic inspiration. Those were the days when any hit Tamil film would be dubbed into Telugu in a matter of few weeks. So, the idea of producing a film based on this folklore story was put off.
After some time, Narasa Raju happened to go through a novel 'Scapegoat' written by Daphne du Maurier. This is also a story of two characters with identical physical features. After reading this novel, Narasa Raju decided to change his earlier folklore story into a social one. The result is the story entitled Ramudu-Bheemudu. However this story also did not find favour with Midde Ramakrishna Rao, elder brother of Midde Jagannadha Rao. However Midde the Junior and Kamalakara Kameswara Rao liked the story and wanted to go ahead with Akkineni as the hero, portraying both the characters. ANR did listen to the story also, but as he had already committed to do a film with double role (Iddaru Mithrulu) for his own production company Annapurna Pictures, he had no other go but to refuse the offer. Ultimately, Midde dropped the idea of producing the film. Narasa Raju narrated all this to Rama Naidu and Chanakya, and asked them whether they were interested to give a hearing to this social story with a double role chance for the hero, now naturally NTR, as ANR had refused the offer.
Rama Naidu and Chanakya liked the freshness of the story as there was no other film produced till then, with dual roles for NTR. And the decision was taken to produce the film. As people say, after the film was released it created box-office sensation and the rest is history with Rama Naidu turning a star producer overnight.
Rama Naidu once said in a casual talk with this writer that there are only a very few stories he liked at the first sitting itself. One of them was 'Ramudu-Bheemudu'. Of the rest he mentioned were 'Papa Kosam', 'Drohi', 'Prem Nagar' and 'Mundadugu'.