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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10
Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13

History Of Birth And Growth Of Telugu Cinema (Part 10)

Entry Of Stars: The Second World War, that commenced around this period, effected film production. The rise in prices of raw film, forced filmmakers to reduce the length. A law was passed restricting filmmakers to make films of eleven thousand feet. Till then they were making films of length around 20,000 feet. Quite a few production units ceased their work. Only about fourteen films were made in 1943-44 of which 'Panthulamma' and 'Chenchulakshmi' were notable.

'Panthulamma' was of Sarathi Films directed by Gudavalli Ramabramham with Lakshmi Rajyam and Umamaheswara Rao in the lead. Noted singer PG Krishnaveni, more popularly known as Jikki, began her career as a child artiste with this film. She played a young girl who learnt a song from the musician-heroine Lakshmirajyam.

Kamala Kotnis and CH Narayana Rao figured in 'Chenchulakshmi'. Because of active editing to reduce the length of the film to prescribed level, the narration speeded up and quality improved. Another significant feature of this period was the launch of Renuka Films by Chittoor V. Nagaiah.

ANR in 'Sri Sitarama Jananam' (1944).
ANR's Entry: Around this time Ghantasala Balaramaiah picked up from the Bejawada railway platform a young man in his teens, named Akkineni Nageswara Rao who was returning from a nearby town after taking part in a stage play. Balaramaiah gave him the role of Srirama in his 'Sri Sitarama Jananam'. This film was released in 1944.

It was also the 'Jananam' (birth) of ANR as hero in Telugu cinema. Earlier, as already mentioned, he played a child's role in Dharmapatni (1941). Nageswara Rao recalls that he was a fifteen-year-old boy then. He regards 'Sri Sitarama Jananam' as his first film as a hero. Since then he continues to be the leading man of Telugu cinema, even at this age of eighty four. He contributed a lot to the golden era of Telugu cinema.

'Tahshildar' was another interesting film released this year with CH Narayana Rao in the lead. MS Rama Rao, the first playback singer of Telugu cinema played a boatman's role and sang the most famous Yenki Paata of Nanduri Subba Rao - 'Yee Reyi Nannolla Nerava Raaja'. The song was the hot favourite of many music lovers those days.

'Mayalokam' and 'Swargaseema' were the best among the thirteen films made in 1945-46. 'Mayalokam' was made by Sarathi Films and was directed by Gudavalli Ramabrahmam. Kannamba, Govindarajula Subbarao and CSR Anjaneyulu played the main roles. ANR also appeared in the film in a small role of a prince. ANR later worked with the director on 'Palnati Yuddham'.

Swargaseema (Synopsis of the film): BN Reddy directed this movie under the banner of Vauhini Pictures Limited. Murthy (Chittoor V. Nagaiah), editor of Sahitya Bharathi, and Kalyani (B. Jayamma) are wife and husband. Murthy visits his father-in-law's for a festival and there he happens to see street play artiste Subbalakshmi (Bhanumati) and understands her potential talent to be a stage artiste. He tells her father to take her to a drama company in Madras. The manager of the company (Kasturi Sivarao) changes Subbalakshmi's name as Sujatha and gives her the role of the heroine in a play. Fascinated by her charm, Murthy neglects his wife and children. Murthy's wife ekes out livelihood by tailoring. After some time, Murthy realizes his mistake and is reunited with his wife and children.

To Be Continued...