Home > Telugu Movie Reviews > Sree Ramadasu|
Aslesha | March 30, 2006
Rating: **** (***** Very Good, **** Good, *** Fair, ** Average, * Bad)
Cast: ANR, Nagarjuna, Sneha, Suman, Archana, Nagababu, Nasser, Sujatha, Sharath Babu, AVS, Tanikella Bharani, Brahmanandam, Raghubabu, Suneel, Dharmavarapu, Ranganath, Siva Parvati, Sudha, Ananth, Chitti Babu, Duvvasi Mohan, Hema and Others.
Art: Bhaskara Raju.
Cinematography: S. Gopal Reddy.
Editing: Srikar Prasad.
Music: MM Keeravani.
Story & Dialogues: JK Bharavi.
Presenter: M. Raghavendra Rao.
Producer: Konda Krishnam Raju.
Direction: K. Raghavendra Rao.
Banner: Aditya Productions.
Release Date: 30th March, 2006.
It is indeed a fine film that stands out in the list of devotional films made by K. Raghavendra Rao so far. The entire first part is built very carefully. The earlier part of the life of this great devotee of Srirama is not much known. He built that part too very sensibly. Sneha playing Kamala, Ramadasu's wife, is neatly presented adding a bit of drama that is more in the lighter vein. The main part of Ramadasu's story appears in the second part. The strength of the film happens to be the role of a devotee of Srirama played by Sujatha. She discovers the idols of Srirama in a huge molehill. The shots are well handled and the cinematographer (S. Gopal Reddy) takes the credit. This gave opportunity for the director to enact a part of Ramayana with Suman playing Srirama. Good that he is found in blue complexion.
Ranganath plays Gopanna's father, who gave away all his property in charity and approaches Nassar (Tanisha), the ruling Sultan of Golconda for a job to his son. Suggested by his ministers Akkanna and Madanna, Tanisha's brother-in-law (Jayaprakash Reddi) is replaced by Gopanna as Tahsildar. His brother-in-law is posted as jail officer of Golconda. The removed officer nurtures grudge against Gopanna. Raghubabu, his deputy, makes a bid on Gopanna's life by throwing him into river Godavari. Gopanna is saved by the woman devotee. This role, Sujatha plays is presented as a replica of Sabari of the Ramayana. She has been till then protecting the idols under a thatched roof. She requests Gopanna the Tahsildar of the place to build a temple for the lord. From then on Gopanna is caught up with hallucinations of Lord Rama and His story comes to us as a mini Ramayana with Sita, Lakshmana and Anjaneya by His side. Some graphics are also used. The real theme picks tempo from the point of Gopanna becoming great devotee of Sri Rama and then deciding to build a temple.
Gopanna organsing funds from people is well handled. And the money he sends to the Sultan with a request letter to build the temple, is taken away by the Sultan's evil-minded brother-in-law. The evil-minded men of the Sultan complain to him that Gopanna misused the funds of the state for an unauthorized temple construction. From this point the popular songs of Ramadasu flow in one after another. Lord Rama appears in Gopanna's dream and renames him as Sri Ramadasu. But the king orders his arrest, chains him and puts him in the jail in Golconda. Pathetic scenes follow. And Raghavendra Rao treated all these tear jerking scenes extremely well.
The songs he renders in the jail, form the cream of the musical content of the film. Some become montage songs to push Ramadasu's story ahead till the birth of a son to Ramadasu and his growth. It is interesting to watch how each song of Ramadasu is connected to the jail life of the poet. One song has swara notation, just to give a touch of classicism to the songs revealing that Ramadasu became a great musician himself. The devotional appeal is so great that Akkineni Nageswara Rao's role of Kabir becomes instrumental in building up the tempo. ANR gives an impressive performance. He is presented as real Kabir's grandson to connect to the period of Ramadasu. This character is intelligently used for promotion of secularism. He gives to Ramadasu the 'Rama Manthram', which changes Ramadasu almost into a saint composer. Tanisha visualises in a dream, Rama and Lakshmana paying back the money Ramadasu owes to him.
Nagarjuna displays a restrained approach to play a difficult role of Ramadasu. We see only Ramadasu in the latter scenes, not the actor Nagarjuna. Such is his display of maturity in action, giving us a feel that he had grown as an actor. The scenes of father and son together too are well amalgamated into the subject. Nageswara Rao added his histrionic appeal, giving us once again the feel of his performance in devotional roles. The film ends with Ramadasu released from the jail with honor and then the evil men punished by the Lord himself, till they too utter Ramanaamam.
But for the artistes used for lighter vein drama, rest of all the artistes in important roles gave impressive performances. For once, in recent times, Raghavendra Rao, again revealed his great directorial skills that also could be seen in his screenplay that never allows a dull moment in the entire drama. He did justice to the subject and in scenes he took liberty of using his imagination, he elevated the important characters, doing justice to the most revered personality of Ramadasu. Sneha and Sujatha simply excel.
Coming to the musical content, Keeravani kept in mind that songs of Ramadasu are quite popular and are on the lips of the old and the young. His intelligence is seen in the take of the songs and then blending them with popular tunes of Ramadasu kirtanas. He takes credit for maintaining that element of music both in his songs and in thematic background, sticking to the classical idiom. This film can be regarded as a great work of Raghavendra Rao in recent times, that will be remembered forever.